Basement remodel questions...

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Old 05-18-09, 08:40 PM
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Basement remodel questions...

Hi all. My husband and I are in the process of redoing our lovely 1970's basement and I have a few questions regarding the wiring.

Currently I have one 15 amp breaker that runs the lights and the outlets down here in the family room. We're taking a little space from the family room and adding it to a bedroom to create a better space for the family room.

Right now I'm planning on running a new 20 amp circuit with 12/2 for the 10 outlets (maybe 11) and keeping the existing 15 amp circuit for the lights only (11-75w cans and two 60w pendant fixtures). I'm planning on running 14/2 for the lights.

If I understand what I'm reading, right my outlets don't meet code for the distance apart. I have two walls that don't have anything on them and on another wall they are 14 feet apart. I'm going to be adding outlets to the two walls that do not have any (extending the one wall with new framing and will have a question about the other wall in a bit), but do I have to add another one into the wall that has the outlets 14 feet apart?

The walls are currently furred out with 2in furring strips and white foam insulation between the strips. If I want to add an outlet to an existing wall do I need to run it down the block on the inside or can I pop the insulation off and run it down that way? We're planning to redo the furring stips on the wall to make them a little deeper so I can fit a proper box in there if I don't have to run wire in the block.

Other info that may be of use...we live in Minnesota, have 100 AMP service on a Square D 32 slot panel. I currently have 3 slots open at the moment.

TIA

Heather
 
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Old 05-18-09, 10:58 PM
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Before you begin any remodeling though you need to thoroughly investigate your basement for any mold or musty smells as these are signs that you have water damage. You will need to take care of it before you remodel or you will end up with a finished basement you canít enjoy. It is common for rain water to seep into the walls if the house is not designed to move it away. You can easily remedy this type of situation by adding drains that take it somewhere else.

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Old 05-19-09, 07:15 AM
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Heather,

The spacing rule is essentially the 6/12 rule meaning that you must have a receptacle within 6' of an "edge" (door, fireplace, etc) and a receptacle every 12' thereafter. In addition to this, every wall space longer than 2' needs a receptacle. The distance is measured along the base of the wall, continued around corners.

2" furring should be okay for a standard box. You can use a 2-1/2" deep box (furring + drywall) or use a 4x4x1-1/2" square box with a 1/2" or 5/8" mudring and shim it off the block to get just the right depth to the face of the drywall.

The 15A circuit is okay for lights, 20A okay for receptacles; both need to be AFCI breakers. You'll also need two hardwired smoke detectors, one inside and one outside the bedroom, possibly need to be interconnected with upstairs detectors depending on your local code.
 
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Old 05-20-09, 08:20 PM
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Now I have a follow up question or two. All the gang boxes I bought are 2.75 inches deep. What I thought was a 2" fur strip is actually only 1.5" So with the boxes I have I'll be 3/4" out too far, but we ripped down a ton of of 3/4" furring off the ceiling that we could just add onto the existing strips to make them to the right depth.

Now onto the questions. The original wiring in the basement was ran through the block and I have metal boxes for outlets, lights, etc. The wiring comes out of the panel and then runs across the top of the block, goes down the inside of the block to the box, then back up...across the top of the block some more, down, up, etc for every outlet that is already ran. To get the amount of outlets up to code I need to add some outlets in and I really don't want to have to mess with trying to get wire through the block, if that's even possible to do.

If we add the 3/4" furring onto the 1.5" that's already there can I run the wire straight across the wall drilling the holes to run the wire through as close to the block as possible? If the 3/4" wouldn't be enough, what would? If I can swap the boxes for something that's 2" or less deep do we even need to fur out the walls more? My husband doesn't think the wire would be deep enough in the wall for protection with the current stips. I'm just cringing at the amount of wire the whole up down, up down method would use as well as trying to run wire through the block.

I was looking at the AFCI breaker tonight and that thing is huge! It doesn't even look like it would fit in the breaker box, but maybe I'm wrong. Does ~$35 for a 20 amp should like the right price or was I looking at that wrong thing? We made a quick run to the store so I just glanced at what was there.

Regarding the smoke detectors...I've read both ways that smoke detectors need to be on their own 20 amp circuit as well as you want to put them on a circuit with something else because if you didn't you wouldn't know the circuit tripped until the batteries in the smoke detectors were going dead. I've only got three spots left in my box, one going to the new 20 amp for the outlets so I really dont' want to use the one more just for smoke detectors. I'll put in normal battery operated ones instead of creating a brand new circuit. House was built in 1957 so none of the smoke detectors are wired.

Thanks again.

Heather
 
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Old 05-20-09, 08:47 PM
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Local codes would dictate if a circuit was needed just for the smoke alarms. Delaware is one that I know of.

Typical AFCI breaker prices run around $30-40. Yes they are longer than regular breakers, but the space taken up is in the wiring gutter.
 
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Old 05-20-09, 10:09 PM
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Originally Posted by hpeders View Post
If we add the 3/4" furring onto the 1.5" that's already there can I run the wire straight across the wall drilling the holes to run the wire through as close to the block as possible?
Yes. The wire needs to be 1-1/4" deep from the nailing face of the wood, so holes drilled close to the block should be okay. You should be fine even without adding additional furring if you install metal nailing plates where the wire goes through the wood.

swap the boxes for something that's 2" or less deep do we even need to fur out the walls more?
You can use 4" x 4" x 1-1/2" square boxes with 1/2" mud rings to fit into an inch and a half stud space plus drywall.

Does ~$35 for a 20 amp should like the right price or was I looking at that wrong thing?
That's about right.

Regarding the smoke detectors
Depends on the local code. If you area follows national code only, then the smokes are okay on a circuit shared with lights. Some areas have local amendments which require a circuit dedicated to fire/CO/etc protection systems.

I'll put in normal battery operated ones instead of creating a brand new circuit.
A new / remodeled bedroom requires a hardwired smoke in every jurisdiction that I'm aware of. Many places also now require at least one hardwired carbon monoxide detector too (or a combo smoke/CO). Sometimes smokes must be upgraded as a condition of any electrical permit -- all depends on your local code enforcement.
 
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Old 05-21-09, 12:51 PM
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Be sure to investigate the building codes too. Putting a bedroom in a 1970s basement often requires special work to meet egress codes, typically enlarging and possibly lowering the window and expanding the window well.
 
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