Basement wiring

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  #1  
Old 05-12-10, 06:00 AM
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Basement wiring

Good Morning, thanks for all the great info I've read on this forum - it's been invaluable so far. Right now I'm in the process of finishing my basement, of course since I'm posting on this thread then you guessed it, I'm doing electrical. I was wondering if I could do a rundown of what I have so far as well as a question or two.

The project consists of 2 bedrooms, a bathroom and a living room with a dry bar. I put the 2 small bedrooms on one 15 A circuit that will be arc-fault protected. The bath is going on one 20A circuit (this will be two GFI outlets, one vanity light and one fart fan with a light), the living room outlets are on it's own 15A circuit and the outlets are on another 15A circuit. Does this seem right?

Question 1 - I'm having 220 baseboard heat as a primary heat source with propane forced air as a backup, I'm wondering about the switch box for the thermostat, can I use a regular switch or outlet box for the thermostat for the baseboard heat or is there a special box for that?

Question 2 - Is there a particular order that I'm supposed to wire the bathroom, in other words do the lights and fan need to be GFI protected? It seems like it shouldn't but I figured I better ask.

Question 3 - Inside the panel, all the existing grounds and neutrals seemed to be connected to the same bar, is this normal. Seems wrong to me but I'm not an electrician.

Thanks again for the advice.

Jay
 
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  #2  
Old 05-12-10, 06:31 AM
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1. That would depend on the thermostat you're using. Some cover a switch box nicely, others do not. It's reasonably typical to not have any box for the thermostat, but there's no reason you couldn't have one.

2. The lights and fans in the bathroom do not need to be GFCI protected unless the manufacturer requires it, which is almost never but check anyway. Lights over the bath/shower have to be rated for that location, so they are typically not placed directly over the tub.

3. If that is the only panel, it is absolutely correct. If it is a sub panel fed from another main panel, it is absolutely incorrect. I'm assuming the former is true.

FYI, the 15A circuits for the living area will also need to be AFCI protected somehow.

Have fun,
Rich
 
  #3  
Old 05-12-10, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by MN_Jay View Post
Does this seem right?
Yes. If your area is on 2008 NEC the two living room circuits will need to be AFCI protected also. Whichever circuit is powering your smoke detectors also needs to be AFCI.

can I use a regular switch or outlet box for the thermostat for the baseboard heat or is there a special box for that?
Normal single gang box.

do the lights and fan need to be GFI protected?
Only if they are located directly over the tub/shower. Otherwise no GFCI is required for the light or fan.

all the existing grounds and neutrals seemed to be connected to the same bar, is this normal.
It is normal if this is the main panel (first panel after the meter).
 
  #4  
Old 05-12-10, 08:17 AM
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Thanks guys, I didn't realize the living room circuits needed to be AFCI protected so I'm glad I posted.

Thankfully I have a smoke detector at the bottom of the steps that is interconnected with all the upstairs detectors so I will tie the downstairs bedroom detectors into that one
 
  #5  
Old 05-12-10, 08:42 AM
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If you're extending an existing circuit into a new area, and that circuit isn't AFCI, the breaker will need to be ugraded to an AFCI breaker.
 
  #6  
Old 05-12-10, 10:51 AM
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Also remember that you will need AFCI protection for all your lighting except in your bathroom.

Jim
 
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Old 05-12-10, 03:06 PM
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this arc fault is really getting out of hand..
 
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Old 05-12-10, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by braether3 View Post
this arc fault is really getting out of hand..
That's one reason why many areas haven't adopted the 2008 NEC yet and may not.
 
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Old 05-13-10, 05:33 AM
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Wow, a lot of arc fault protection, those things are about $40 each for crying out loud... Well code is code I guess.

Next question is about baseboard heaters. In the living room I will have (3) 4ft heaters. Is it best to wire them in series or each one from the thermostat? If I wire in series, can I supply one side of the heater and go out the other side on to the next heater or do I go in and out on the same side of the heater? Clear as mud I know.

Thanks again.
 
  #10  
Old 05-13-10, 07:20 AM
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Yes, arc fault has gone big time, but I personally support it fully. It's proven that arc fault protection eliminates a significant percentage of electrical fires. The extra few hundred dollars is well worth the protection, IMHO, given that there are an estimated 70,000 electrical fires per year in the US.
 
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Old 05-13-10, 08:03 AM
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The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of this, even if it is a one time expense. I may put all 4 circuits on arc fault as a little added insurance since I did the work myself. Is there any code stating I can't put a bath circuit on arc fault breaker?
 
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Old 05-13-10, 11:50 AM
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The NEC is the minimum that must be done. If you wish to and your budget allows you can always exceed the code.
 
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Old 05-13-10, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by MN_Jay View Post
Next question is about baseboard heaters. In the living room I will have (3) 4ft heaters. Is it best to wire them in series or each one from the thermostat?
What is the wattage and voltage of the heaters? It is best to bring power into the thermostat box, then a cable from the thermostat to heater 1, heater 1 to heater 2, and so forth. However, the maximum number that can be chained depends on their power requirement.

If I wire in series, can I supply one side of the heater and go out the other side on to the next heater or do I go in and out on the same side of the heater?
Either method is acceptable. While it is true that the cable runs to each in a sequence this is not what would be called "series" wiring in an electrical sense; the heaters are actually a parallel circuit. "Series" and "parallel" have specific meanings electrically that has nothing to do with the path the cable runs. I think you meant the path of the cable, but I just wanted to make sure.

I may put all 4 circuits on arc fault as a little added insurance since I did the work myself.
You may if you wish, however it's questionable if you will gain any additional protection from the AFCI on the circuits where it is not required. The primary mode of protection AFCI provides deals with frayed cords and loose plugs -- the types of failures most commonly seen in living spaces where lamps, fans, heater blankets and Christmas lights are used.

Generally speaking the class A GFCI in the bathroom, kitchen, garage, basement, etc already provides better protection than the AFCI so it is somewhat redundant to install it on those circuits.

Finally, AFCI is of little benefit on fixed-in-place appliances where the wiring is not disturbed once installed. It is unlikely an arc fault will develop in a baseboard heater circuit as the wiring never moves enough to become frayed.
 
  #14  
Old 05-14-10, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
What is the wattage and voltage of the heaters?
I'm putting them on 20A circuit, it will be 3000 watts total of heat (12 ft of standard density 240V baseboards).


Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
You may if you wish, however it's questionable if you will gain any additional protection from the AFCI on the circuits where it is not required. The primary mode of protection AFCI provides deals with frayed cords and loose plugs -- the types of failures most commonly seen in living spaces where lamps, fans, heater blankets and Christmas lights are used.

Generally speaking the class A GFCI in the bathroom, kitchen, garage, basement, etc already provides better protection than the AFCI so it is somewhat redundant to install it on those circuits.

Finally, AFCI is of little benefit on fixed-in-place appliances where the wiring is not disturbed once installed. It is unlikely an arc fault will develop in a baseboard heater circuit as the wiring never moves enough to become frayed.
Thanks for the advise. The reason for it is that I'm somewhat paranoid that somehow down the road, the wire nuts coming lose. I suppose I thinking too much into it though, I take a lot of time to make sure I have a good connection - individually pulling on each wire once I made the connection. The more I type the more I'm convincing myself that the extra AFCI's isn't necessary. Thanks again for the help.
 
  #15  
Old 05-19-10, 07:06 AM
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Ok next question. I'm wiring my baseboard heaters. I'm putting 2 bedrooms on the same 20A circuit since it is only 12ft total of baseboard heat. The way I wired was from the panel to Thermostat junction box A, split there and pigtailed to the thermostat and then a 12-2 to thermostat junction box B for the other heat. Both thermostat junction boxes then had a 12-2 to their respective heaters. Sound ok??

Thanks again for the help.
 
  #16  
Old 05-19-10, 08:49 AM
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Sounds okay. Mark the white wires with black or red tape to re-identify the white wire for use in a 240V circuit.
 
  #17  
Old 12-22-10, 12:12 PM
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Sorry for reviving this old thread but I'm finally at the point in my basement where I can install the baseboard heaters. I understand how to wire these heaters for 240V but my question is alternating black and red. At the first heater I hooked my wire from the thermostat to the heater - black to black, and white (with red tape) to red. Now at the next heater on the same circuit (and in sequence with the last heater), is it necessary to keep that system going? In other words, if I accidentally hooked black to red and white (with red tape) to black, will this be a problem? I obviously won't do this but its more for understanding the process. Thanks again for all the great help.
 
  #18  
Old 12-22-10, 12:39 PM
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Black and red are fully interchangeable in a 240V circuit. I think most people would prefer to keep them consistent, but there is no code or technical reason to do so.
 
  #19  
Old 12-22-10, 12:40 PM
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It will not hurt a bit.
 
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