Advice on light/switch wiring

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  #1  
Old 03-21-06, 11:29 AM
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Advice on light/switch wiring

Hi all, a little about my project first. I am finishing my 600sq. ft basement, and planned to have one bedroom, one open area family room, a utility room, and a storage room. Very simple.

When it came to wiring, I decided I was going to have two 15 amp breakers. One was to supply power to the lights and receptacles in the bedroom, and the other to supply power to the rest of the lights and receptacles throughout the rest of the basement(was going to be under 12 devices). I wired the bedroom lights first with a mix of 14/2 and 14/3 NMD90 loomex as it appeared to allow me the best way to run continous power throughout the circuit, having receptacles and lights anywhere. This all changed when I overread the ARC fault breaker section of the code book for bedrooms.

I have since wired in a seperate 15 amp ARC fault breaker, with only bedroom receptacles and no lights. Now my dilemma is, and my question for you guys is, what should I do with my lights? I've now got a seperate circuit of lights with a mix of 14/3 and 14/2. I know I can either keep going like this and wire the rest of the basement in the same manor, and have a couple of extra receptacles in my storage room for my computer equipment as this circuit will not see any unexpected heavy loads and may provide the cleanest power as opposed to the other circuits where someone could plug in a blow dryer, 1500w heater, who knows. The only variable to worry about in this circuit is someone putting a higher wattage bulb in a fixture.

My other choice is, well, put that $80 14/3 spindle aside, tear out the 3 light runs, and start over with the traditional 14/2 and wire from switch to light instead of light to switch. The 14/3 14/2 mix I chose is actually a verified diagram from our local electrical code, so I'm not worried about it passing inspection, I just feel that since I will not be running receptacles on the same circuit as the lights anymore its overkill. What would you guys do, start over with 14/2, or keep going with the 14/3 14/2 mix and drop in a couple of extra receptacles in the utility room?

Thanks for any input guys/gals, muchly appreciated. I'm a new member and this is my first post, I look forward to contributing to your questions where I can as well.
 
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  #2  
Old 03-21-06, 11:36 AM
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In the US, per the NEC, everything in the bedroom must be arc fault protected, lights and receptacles. Don't forget hardwired and inter-connected smoke detectors.

I would put the bedroom on a single circuit, 20 amp AFCI, using 12 gage wire.

If you are not willing to do this, since you already have it wired with 14 gage wire, I would then run two 15 amp AFCI protected circuits.

Remember that a bedroom in a basement must have two means of egress, one to the outside.

For the rest of the basement, I would use a 15 or 20 amp circuit for the lights and then probably two 20 amp circuits for the receptacles. I say two because of the possibility of either a home entertainment center or a computer in the family room.

In general, I would avoid 15 amp circuits, except perhaps for lights.
 
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Old 03-21-06, 11:44 AM
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A handful of people advised me against using an arc fault breaker with lights/switches as the switches can create false positive arches and flip the breaker . Whats your take on that? And I would be using CEC not NEC as I'm in Canada, but for what I'm doing I'm sure the same basic rules apply.
 
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Old 03-21-06, 12:12 PM
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I'm not sure what CAnadian code specifies in terms of AFCI protection. So check that. I have no real experience with AFCIs, so I cannot comment.
 
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Old 03-21-06, 12:15 PM
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n0c7, I strongly encourage you to add your location to your profile to ensure that you get the most correct advice. Use "Quick Links" above, and choose "Edit Profile".
 
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Old 03-21-06, 04:25 PM
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When you say you used 14/3 did that mean you are using a multiwire circuit with two breakers? I think from what I read you not doing this but using 14/3 from lights to switch to get unswitched power for other parts of the circuit after the switch. This will work just fine on an AFCI.

ONLY if you are using a multiwire circuit is there a problem with the AFCI or GFCI circuit.
 
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Old 03-23-06, 07:37 AM
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Originally Posted by joed
When you say you used 14/3 did that mean you are using a multiwire circuit with two breakers? I think from what I read you not doing this but using 14/3 from lights to switch to get unswitched power for other parts of the circuit after the switch. This will work just fine on an AFCI.

ONLY if you are using a multiwire circuit is there a problem with the AFCI or GFCI circuit.
Just a single pole single breaker. I've since detached the receptacles, I'm just wondering if I should stick with the 14/3 from lights to switch to get unswitched power, or if I should move back to the traditional way of 14/2 from switch to lights. Not sure about all the possible benefits of the 14/3 setup except that it allows me to add on devices in between very easily.
 
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Old 03-23-06, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by n0c7
the switches can create false positive arcs and flip the breaker. What's your take on that?
Replace the switch. A good snap switch does not have the arc signature that trips an AFCI.
 
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Old 03-23-06, 03:45 PM
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Originally Posted by bolide
Replace the switch. A good snap switch does not have the arc signature that trips an AFCI.
I've since moved the switches/lights off of the AFCI breaker just to avoid any hassle and to allow more devices. I'm just wondering if I should stick with the 14/3 from lights to switch to get steady unswitched power on both hot and netural without any interruption, or if I should move back to the traditional way of 14/2 from switch to lights. Not sure about all the possible benefits of the 14/3 setup except that it allows me to add on devices in between very easily.
 
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Old 03-23-06, 03:49 PM
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Always a good idea to run 14/3 from switch to light. It gives option for second switch to control fan if desired later.
 
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Old 03-23-06, 07:21 PM
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Originally Posted by joed
Always a good idea to run 14/3 from switch to light. It gives option for second switch to control fan if desired later.
Good to know, I knew there was some sort of benefit to it. In your opinion, what do you think is better - a) running power to light fixture first, then to the switch b) running power to the switch first, then to the light fixture
 
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Old 03-23-06, 07:51 PM
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Read this thread.
 
  #13  
Old 03-23-06, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson
Thanks!
 
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