Garage remodel questions


Old 10-08-07, 11:02 AM
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Garage remodel questions

Hi there, I have some questions I would appreciate comment on.

I am finishing up a garage remodel that has primarily involved building a proper loft, paneling the walls and painting. At the outset of the project I emptied the garage and removed all outlets and conduit back to the junction boxes at the back of the garage (also the firewall of the house).

I am now getting ready to extend two circuits that I will call 7 and 12

Circuit 7 (20A) is primarily used to power the garage lighting including carriage lamps at the front exterior of the garage (it also handles a hallway light in the house). I will also be adding outlets for a garage fridge, freezer and garage door opener. I'm comfortable this circuit is not being overloaded

Circuit 12 (20A) is terminated into the garage and exclusively powers a 4 outlet box. This is used for the clothes washer, dryer (motor only...gas for heat) and sprinkler controller. I want to extend this circuit to the front of the garage where my workbench is so that I can plug in hand tools and a drillpress. Again, after looking at the devices on this circuit and how they performed in the past, I'm not concerned about this circuit being overloaded

so, here are my questions:

1) In order to conserve on the amount of conduit being run, I want to run hots from both 7 and 12 in the same this a bad practice?

2) Do I need to keep the neutral for use with circuit 7 and circuit 12 seperated. That is to say where I am running 7 and 12 hots in the same conduit can I just run one neutral wire (wire nutted to both the 7 and 12 neutrals) and use it with both circuits or should I extend both the circuit 7 and circuit 12 neutrals (not sure how load capacity compes into pla with the neutral)

3) If I am using all metal conduit and boxes, I have been told that these will provide a sufficient ground circuit (as long as it is actually grounded). If this a bad practice? Seems like it would work but I'm not sure it is the best way to go. I'm all for saving some money but if this is not a good practice I have room in the 1/2" conduit to run a 6th wire for gound.

4) I am planning to use a GFCI circuit breaker on circuit 12 but was told that this is not a good idea and that it will always be tripping off. Seems to me like if it is tripping, then there is a problem that needs to be resolved...any reason why I should not use a GFCI circuit breaker on this?

5) I am planning to NOT use a GFCI circuit breaker on circuit 7 because there will be a fridge and freezer on that circuit. I've already lost a freezer full of meat because the freezer got unplugged and we didn't know about it and didn't go into it for several days. My concern is that the GFCI trips and I don't realize it and loose all the frozen and refrigerated goods. I will have exterior carriage lamps on this circuit, althought they were not originally on a GFCI circuit and there was no problem

I know this is long and lots of quests...Thanks for your input!
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Old 10-08-07, 11:17 AM
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I do not agree with your proposal.

I do not like to see anything on the same circuit as a freezer. While you may feel comfortable that the circuit is not overloaded, you can't guarantee that it won't be.

I do not like to see anything on the same circuit as the washer and dryer. Code in the US required a dedicated laundry circuit which cannot serve any other purpose. Technically if you extend this circuit beyond the washer and dryer you are violating code.

I recommend circuits as follows:

One for the washer and dryer.
One for the freezer.
One for general purpose receptacles and possibly for your workbench.
One for the lights and garage door opener.

Now I will address your questions.

1. Code allows circuits to be run together in conduit. Do not exceed the allowed number of wires for the conduit, which is hard to do with two circuits.

2. Yes, the neutrals need to remain separated. The same amount of current flows on the neutral as flows on the hot wire.

3. Run a separate ground wire. Only one is needed. While you can get away without one in certain situations, it is better to have one.

4, 5. Do not GFCI protect the freezer. This may force you to use a simplex receptacle, but so be it. Do not GFCI protected the lights or the garage door openers. GFCI protect everything else.
Old 10-08-07, 12:26 PM
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First off, I agree with Bob's recommendations on circuits. The only one specifically code-related is the laundry, but I think it's a valid concern.

> run hots from both 7 and 12 in the same conduit
> neutral for use with circuit 7 and circuit 12 seperated.

Each circuit needs a separate neutral. All conductors may run the same conduit; a hot and neutral from any given circuit must run in the same conduit. My suggestion to avoid mistakes is to use black and white for hot and neutral of one circuit and red and gray for the hot and neutral of the other circuit. You may use wire marker stickers, but colors are harder to screw up.

> all metal conduit and boxes, I have been told that
> these will provide a sufficient ground circuit

Code allows a system of metal conduit and boxes to act as the ground. I personally prefer to install the green ground wire, but it is not required. A pigtail from the receptacle ground screw to the box ground screw is required unless you use "self-grounding" type receptacles. Still, my preference is to install the pigtail anyway.

> I am planning to use a GFCI circuit breaker

I prefer a GFCI receptacle installed as the first device simply because it's about 1/3 the cost and a shorter walk to reset if needed.

The only outlets that require GFCI protection in the garage are "general purpose" receptacles. This means GFCI is not required for the fridge or freezer if the receptacle is installed directly behind the appliance to preclude general use; nor is it required for the door opener, or any hardwired lights.
Old 10-08-07, 12:50 PM
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i agree with Bob's and Ben's suggestion with this set up

but for the Frezzer in the garage area this one of the grey area the code will have little conflet on this and IMO most modern frezzer dont affect the GFCI at all.

If you really condsering running the frezzer without the GFCI the only way you can get away with the code is run singleplex and run that circuit with the GDO because when the GDO fail to run you know you have no power to run the frezzer.

you may have to draw a sketch how you will run this lay out on the plan before you start pull the wires in romax or in conduct it will save alot of headache later so you dont blunder it later and regret it.

the other question will crop up where ya located because you mention conduct [ pipe ] so i am supecting that you are near Chicago area or otherwise your local code required it have to run in conduit.

Keep the light on seprated circuits you dont want to walk in the garage in dark when the breaker trip

but really IMO if you going do more a circuit addtion some case you can bite the bullet and add the subfeed box and from there you can branch out the circuits instead try to run bunch of wires to main breaker box.

just a thought ahead of the time as long the wall is open because you never know what you will add alot of circuits later on the time like some hevey power devices it will really save alot of time and headaches

Merci, Marc
Old 10-08-07, 02:34 PM
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Bob, Ben and Marc, thanks for the insights and comments...I guess I'll bite th bullet and pull in new circuits or set up a sub-panel.

I appreciate the quick response
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