additional electrical questions


Old 08-10-06, 08:16 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 32
additional electrical questions

I've asked other questions on here, and first let me say this site is great, and you all provide great help.

I guess I really don't have questions about how to accomplish the following, just looking for verification that what I am doing is correct (of course, there may be the occasional question along the way).

I'm re-wiring a house that I bought that had old (non-grounded) wiring. Much of the wiring was exposed from its sleeve (probably from pulling through holes in studs, etc.). Anyway it didn't look safe, and rather than replace just what was bad, or try to figure out what breakers controlled exactly what, I removed all wiring from the breakers and started fresh. Well, except for any 220 wiring, there were two and I left them alone. I'm assuming that would be the dryer and outside A/C unit.

I currently have (7) 20amp breakers and (4) 15amp breakers (and one open slot) - not counting what the 220's are running off of. I am wiring the following off of the 20amp breakers - 1) outlet for furnace, 2) outlet for entertainment center, 3) part of Kitchen, 4) other part of Kitchen 2 & utility room, 5) two upstairs bathrooms, 6) Living Room, 7) Dining Room & sitting area. I am wiring the following off of the 15amp breakers - 1) 2 upstairs guest bedrooms, 2) office, 3) master bedroom, 4) one full and one half downstairs bathrooms.

From the 20amp breakers, I am running 12/2 w/ ground and from the 15amp breakers, I am running 14/2 w/ ground. One question I do have is can I run 12/2 from the breaker then convert to 14/2 for individual outlets? For example, in my living room I want to run 12/2 from the breaker to a junction box, then run 14/2 to the outlets, lighting, etc. Actually, I've already done this, so I hope it is okay. Another question I have is does it make any difference rather I run a "big line" of outlets - connecting to one, then connecting from it to the next, etc. - or create a "spider type" connection - run one wire from the breaker to a junction box and then run an individual wire from the junction box to each outlet? Because of my set-up, it would be much easier to do the "spider type" connection, but I just wanted to see if there are any drawbacks to that.

Thanks in advance for any replies
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Old 08-10-06, 08:52 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
While you can put both 12 gage and 14 gage wire on the same circuit, the breaker MUST be a 15 amp breaker. If you placed any 14 gage wire on those 20 amp circuits you goofed, possibly big time. If any of these are on 20 amp breakers, you have a fire hazard.

While replacing the wire was a good idea, doing so requires that you bring the circuits up to date. If you simply followed the original wiring then you ,likely goofed, possibly big time.

There are specific requirements for bathrooms, kitchens and bedrooms that you must follow. Bathrooms, for example, must be 20 amp circuits. You have already indicated that you did not do this, so we already know you have work to do.

What you should have done was to plan everything ahead of time and then when you were certain it was correct, proceeded to do this.

Some specifics:

Kitchen counter top and dining room receptacles require at least two 20 amp "small appliance" circuits. No lighting on these circuits at all, and no dishwasher or disposal either.

The refrigerator, dishwasher and disposal should have their own circuits. combining the dishwasher and disposal is okay, but not preferred.

Bedrooms require arc fault circuit breakers.

You should have added a circuit for interconnected smoke alarms, one per bedroom, one per floor. This circuit should (unless contradicted by local code) include a hallway light or something that you will know quickly is out if the breaker trips.

The laundry area requires a dedicated 20 amp circuit.

Bathrooms require either a dedicated 20 amp circuit per bathroom, or one 20 amp circuit serving only bathroom receptacles, with the lights on some other circuit.

There are other codes but these are some of the important ones.
Old 08-10-06, 10:33 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: New Bern, NC
Posts: 1,623
I noticed that you say you put the kitchen on with the utility room and the dining room on with a sitting area.

The two or more small appliance circuits that feed the kitchen and dining room may not feed other rooms in the house.

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