DIYer with wiring question

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  #1  
Old 08-23-07, 10:06 AM
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DIYer with wiring question

I am in the process of converting my garage into a bedroom and am about to start running wire for my outlets and a possible ceiling light/fan. I would like to have a switch on the wall for the light, but am worried that if by doing so I will join an outlet to the switch. My question is, should I split the feed in a junction box and run 2 lines, one to the wall switch and one to run along the walls for the outlets? Another question, what would be an adequate braker for 5 or 6 outlets and 1 light? 20 or 15 amp? I know not to use every plug in the room, and it is a bedroom so the most that ever would be running at once is a baby monitor, ceiling fan, light, a clock and maybe a radio. I want to make sure there are enough outlets to give us options when setting up the room, and for the next owner if that day comes. I was also thinking of making one of those outlets an exterior outlet at the end of the series. I want to do this right the first time before the inspector comes out. Thanks for your time, I'm sure I'll more questions later.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-23-07, 10:39 AM
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I'm *not* an expert, but one thing that wasn't mentioned here was the size of wire you were using... In terms of the actual load that you're expecting from those outlets (don't forget the vacuum cleaner and maybe a mini fridge) that would be applied to the circuit, it sounds like you'd be okay with 15 amps, but remember that if you're using #14 sized wire or if #14 exists upstream in the circuit you're using, then you shouldn't be using a 20A breaker.

The question isn't so much what the appropriate amp rating is, as it is how many circuits should it be on, one or two.

There's nothing wrong with having the light fixture on the same circuit as a few receptacles, but use a junction box or use a receptacle as the source point for the light and switch so you don't wind up with any receptacles downstream of the switch. If your main feed comes into the fan/light switch box first, expect things to get pretty crowded in that box...
 
  #3  
Old 08-23-07, 10:42 AM
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There are a million ways to route the cable. As long as you supply unswitched power to each switch and receptacle box, you can route the cable in an almost infinite number of ways. It is usually not a good idea to have extra junction boxes. You can almost always make all the connections you need in receptacle and switch boxes.

How large of a circuit you need for 5 or 6 receptacles depends entirely on what you plan to plug in. A receptacle uses nothing by itself. If you plan to plug in a radio, anything will do. If you plan to plug in space heaters, hair dryers, freezers, vacuum cleaners and other high-power devices, even 20-amps might not be enough. In general, I prefer to put all receptacles on 20-amp circuits with 12-gauge wire.

I agree to put in extra receptacles for convenience of access. When in doubt, put in more. There's nothing stopping you from putting in a hundred if you want. They are very cheap at installation time.
 
  #4  
Old 08-23-07, 11:34 AM
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Since this is a bedroom you will be required to make the circuit AFCI.
 
  #5  
Old 08-24-07, 01:06 AM
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[QUOTE=John Nelson;1221024]There are a million ways to route the cable. As long as you supply unswitched power to each switch and receptacle box, you can route the cable in an almost infinite number of ways. It is usually not a good idea to have extra junction boxes. You can almost always make all the connections you need in receptacle and switch boxes.QUOTE]


This is where I confuse myself, so I take the main feed into a receptacle first then the light switch and the rest of the series; or the light switch first then the receptacles and light? Would I still need a junction box or power the light switch last? And what is AFCI? Are those the receptacles with the reset and test in the middle? I thought those were for rooms with water nearby.

Although it is not next to me, I think I have 12 gauge wire purchased for the project.
 
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Old 08-24-07, 05:23 AM
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AFCI stands for arc fault circuit interrupter. While the test that these devices make is different than GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter), the underlying behavior is the same. When a problem is detected, power is disrupted and the device must be reset. AFCI protection is provided through circuit breakers.

As John stated, how you route the wire is up to you. You should not need any additional junction boxes. If you go to the receptacles first and then to a light switch and then to the lights you can get away with only two conductor (plus ground) cable. However this may waste cable.

A better solution might involve using three conductor (plus ground) cable, so that you can run both a switched and an unswitched hot in the cable. Or the best solution might involve running two 'output' cables from a receptacle or switch box. Or the solution might involve a switch loop.

The bottom line is that none of us can tell you (without a good 'picture' of your layout) what way is best to run the cables.

I strongly suggest that before you do any work that you pick up and read several good books on home wiring. Start with "Wiring Simplified." The books will explain all of this in complete detail and will answer the questions you don't even realize you need to ask.

Unless you read up on this you will make mistakes. The mistakes may or may not be serious enough to cause a fire.
 
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Old 08-24-07, 05:27 PM
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I agree with racraft - the questions you asked make me uncomfortable with you doing this yourself. Wiring isn't difficult to learn, please spend some time doing so immediately.
 
  #8  
Old 08-27-07, 08:38 AM
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Thank you for your concern, but I plan on having assistance from someone that is more knowledgable on wiring. I like to have an understanding of a project before I jump into it and justifiy my suggestions when it is time to do the project.

Because of the set up of the room and the location of the walls, I really only have one option when it comes to running the wire. The room is 10x20 and the back wall is butt against the existing shared wall between the rooms. The wire will come through the attic crawl space and enter the room to the right above the room entrance (to the left is the back wall). The light switch needs to be to the right of the door as well. That is why I was thinking junction box to power the light switch and the recepticles. If I could go left from the starting point I would have made the switch the last connection.

Concerning AFCI, what do I need to purchase or what should be done to make it AFCI? The discussions with the town inspector didn't mention AFCI and I did express the conversion was for a bedroom. I had to make sure my windows were approved for EGRESS.

Thanks for the replies.
 
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Old 08-27-07, 08:44 AM
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As I stated before, AFCI protection is provided through circuit breakers. You need an AFCI circuit breaker designed and made for your circuit breaker panel. If an AFCI circuit breaker is not available for your panel, then you need to either replace the panel or add a sub panel that can accept AFCI circuit breakers.

You have an infinite number of options for running the wires. Anything can be done. Some options are better than others and one option may more sense than another. Again, we can't comment too much because we can't see the setup.
 
  #10  
Old 08-27-07, 08:53 AM
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Racraft, thanks for your reply. That is the info I needed on AFCI. I understand you can't see the set up, but would it pass inspection and be correct to run a line for the recepticles and a line for the light switch from a junction box. Thanks again.
 
  #11  
Old 08-27-07, 09:02 AM
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As long as you do not exceed box fill requirements and as long as every junction box is permanently accessible , it is valid to have as many junction boxes as you want. However, every junction box is a potential failure point, which is why they are frowned upon by many.
 
  #12  
Old 08-27-07, 09:57 AM
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Thanks for the help. Accessibility won't be a complete issue, I can create a permanent access panel on the wall and fill won't be an issue because it will only be the 2 splits. I appreciate the help, I'll let you know how it turns out!
 
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