Is this a code valid circuit?

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Old 02-25-10, 12:13 PM
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Is this a code valid circuit?

I just bought a home that is electrically screwed up. Circuits seem to have no plan. Turning off one breaker will shut off stuff in 4 different rooms, etc.

I would like to add garage lights/ switches, garage receptacles, an attic fan and outdoor lamp posts to a completely empty 20 amp circuit (12 gauge BX wire is already installed at the box). The garage is attached to the house. Everything will be GFCI protected.

Computed load aside, does this sound like something that an electrical inspector would give me a permit for and/ or allow? Is having this type of setup against code?

And is he going to give me a hard time about the rest of the wiring in the house which I had no prior knowledge of?

I know every municipality is different but it just seems so risky to pull a permit for this stuff. It seems like they have the potential to really bust my chops if they wanted to.
 
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Old 02-25-10, 12:35 PM
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The inspector will probably only be concerned with the circuit for which you apply for your permit. You may be able to get by on a single 20 amp circuit, but in all fairness your inspector may want to see a subpanel installed and a larger amperage cable run to accommodate your present load and possible increase in load for power tools, vacuums, compressor, etc. Do you have the ability to run a new cable to the garage from the main panel?
 
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Old 02-25-10, 12:41 PM
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I bought an old house with all sorts of code violations. When inspectors come to look at new work I have done, I say "Don't look at this, don't look at that, etc." And smile.

They smile too and say they are only there to look at the new work. That they would never have all the time it would take to look at old stuff.

They understand I am slowly fixing things. That I am making things right... (Which is good!)
 
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Old 02-25-10, 12:49 PM
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Originally Posted by ii_diesel_ii View Post
Computed load aside, does this sound like something that an electrical inspector would give me a permit for and/ or allow?
Yes it sounds fine to me.

And is he going to give me a hard time about the rest of the wiring in the house which I had no prior knowledge of?
Generally the existing stuff is not a problem as long as you leave it as-is. The inspector would probably only flag it if he saw something that was an imminent fire or electrocution hazard. The only retroactive stuff that I'm aware of is some jurisdictions require modernization of the smoke and CO detectors when any electrical or building permit is pulled.

When you send in the paperwork, they should be able to give you a rundown of the requirements, but it usually isn't too burdensome for a simple branch circuit.
 
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Old 02-25-10, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by chandler View Post
The inspector will probably only be concerned with the circuit for which you apply for your permit. You may be able to get by on a single 20 amp circuit, but in all fairness your inspector may want to see a subpanel installed and a larger amperage cable run to accommodate your present load and possible increase in load for power tools, vacuums, compressor, etc. Do you have the ability to run a new cable to the garage from the main panel?
Yes, I do. The wire that I plan on using comes straight from the box and it currently doesn't power anything. It was literally sitting exposed in the attic. The previous owner must have disconnected it from something and left it there.

Specifically, the entire circuit would power:
  • Attic light
  • Attic fan
  • 2 Outdoor lights
  • Garage door opener
  • 2 extra receptacles by the garage door itself

Does this sound like something that would require a sub panel or something that a 20 amp circuit couldn't handle?
 
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Old 02-25-10, 08:04 PM
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The inspector may allow the circuit like you are planning, but I would recommend a subpanel and splitting up the items you wish to power. It looks to me like your plan will be more of the same as you have now and won't appear that there was a plan to it at all. I think I'd make room in the panel for a subfeed breaker to a subpanel and use the circuit you found for the attic light and attic fan. Then, run a new circuit for the garage door opener and a new circuit for the garage receptacles. The outdoor lights could be taken from an existing lighting circuit or one of these circuits depending on the proximity of the new lights to the garage. In my experience, the inspector cannot hold your new work permit over your head as leverage to have you fix or change other defficiencies he may see in the electrical system, but some inspectors will try to.
 
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