Adding new circuits to second floor of large house


Old 10-03-06, 06:40 PM
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Adding new circuits to second floor of large house

I have a 3-story house that I moved into about three years ago that still has knob and tube wiring in about 1/3 of the house. In the basement I had several small boxes and an old fuse panel consolidated into one 200 amp service panel. There had been some new wiring done over the years- the 3rd floor, kitchen, exterior, a bathroom and a few other new outlets. I have redone several areas by completely replacing the outlets, wires, boxes and wall switches.

The four bedrooms/office on the second floor is all old 15 amp knob and tube wiring. I am planning on bringing up all new wires when I re-do the 2nd floor bathroom. I want each bedroomn to have a wall switch with a ceilng fan/light and at least 2 wall outlets.

My questions are:
How many circuits do I need to add?
Can I put ceiling lights on the same line as the 20 amp wall outlets?
I had planned to run one 20 amp 12/2 wire to each room, but this seems like too much.
Running the lines from the basement to the second floor will be difficult, but possible when I have the bathroom gutted.

My plan is to eventually disconnect the knob and tube circuits from the panel. They have been altered several times over the 80+ years of this house.
Thanks for any info.
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Old 10-03-06, 07:11 PM
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Everything in the bedroom will need to be on AFCI, so keep bedrooms separate from halls etc.
Bathroom must be on its own separate 20 amp circuit.
You can't have too many circuits. Try and determine what might be plugged into the receptacles and pull circuits accordingly.
Old 10-04-06, 04:30 AM
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When you redo the second floor, it needs to come up to code. That means AFCI circuits for the bedrooms (as mentioned), but it also means the proper number of receptacles. The proper number of receptacles is at least the minimum as required by code. That means probably at least one per wall, but probably more. You will want more anyway.

You may want to consider a sub panel for the second floor. With a sub panel you can run one larger cable to the second floor, rather than six or whatever.

Yes, you can have the bedroom lights and bedroom receptacles on the same circuit, but decide if you really want this first. You might want one circuit for lights in all the rooms, and then individual circuits for receptacles.

Last edited by racraft; 10-04-06 at 06:05 AM.
Old 10-04-06, 05:49 AM
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If you go the subpanel route, the panel can't be in the bathroom or clothes closet.
Old 10-04-06, 06:54 AM
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With the price of wire there's yet another good reason to install a sub panel. This also makes any future needs easier to handle.
Old 10-04-06, 11:37 AM
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Taking the advice already posted so far, I'd recommend the following: Use a 60A DP breaker in your main panel to feed a subpanel in the upstairs hallway. If feasible, I'd run in conduit rather than cable - easier to change in the future if your needs change. Use 6-3G NM cable or 3 strands of #6 THHN (black, red, white) and one of #10 bare copper.

Your subpanel should also be rated for at least 60A (you'll probably end up using a 100A or 125A rated panel to get enough spaces). Unless you anticipate greater than normal loading, I'd probably go with 15A branch runs, one to each bedroom, on AFCI breakers. Toss in another 20A run on GFCI to the bathroom, and a 15A run for the hallway lights and receptacles. That's six spaces in your panel, you can find 6-space panels, but I'd recommend going for at least an 8-space one. You don't want to finish a remodel job like this with a full panel, with no room for expansion (or being forced to use slim breakers). Don't forget to isolate the ground and neutral in the subpanel.

Good luck and post back with your results!
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