Splitting a crazy circuit in my home

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Old 11-17-10, 09:37 AM
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Splitting a crazy circuit in my home

I have a circuit in my house that’s all over the place. It’s 15a and powers 6 light fixtures, a door bell and 3 receptacles in two different rooms. The circuit is used on all levels of my home (basement, first floor, second floor), powers outside lights and spans across approximately 6 different rooms.

My intentions are to split this one circuit into two circuits by installing a new breaker. That being said, I have the following questions:
  1. Do outside porch lights, fixed to the house, need to be GFCI protected?
  2. I am unable to make a clean separation between the lights and receptacles, is it in anyway against code to mix lights and receptacles on the same circuit? Keep in mind, some lights are outside lights. (if not, is there any reason why I wouldn’t want to?)
  3. I might make the split at an electrical box that houses two different switches. Is it against code to put two different circuits into one box? If OK, what’s a reasonable way to indicate this for future safety?
  4. The wiring on this circuit is 50 years old. A receptacle will NOT be the first point on either circuit. Do they make AFCI/GFCI combo breakers? If not, in everyone’s opinion, given the age of the wiring, is it better to use a GFCI breaker or an AFCI breaker? I can NOT replace all the wiring in the circuit. The house did have a mice infestation a few years back.

Thanks for any help provided.
 
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Old 11-17-10, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by HansGruber View Post
Do outside porch lights, fixed to the house, need to be GFCI protected?
No, they do not.

Originally Posted by HansGruber View Post
I am unable to make a clean separation between the lights and receptacles, is it in anyway against code to mix lights and receptacles on the same circuit? Keep in mind, some lights are outside lights. (if not, is there any reason why I wouldn’t want to?)
No, you may mix lights and receptacles on the same circuit. Only reason not to is if that circuit gets overloaded you might be left in the dark. This should be a rare though.

Originally Posted by HansGruber View Post
I might make the split at an electrical box that houses two different switches. Is it against code to put two different circuits into one box? If OK, what’s a reasonable way to indicate this for future safety?
No, it is fine to have more then one circuit in a box. If you want you could write it on the back of the plate but IMO I wouldn't bother. It is done all the time.

Originally Posted by HansGruber View Post
The wiring on this circuit is 50 years old. A receptacle will NOT be the first point on either circuit. Do they make AFCI/GFCI combo breakers? If not, in everyone’s opinion, given the age of the wiring, is it better to use a GFCI breaker or an AFCI breaker? I can NOT replace all the wiring in the circuit. The house did have a mice infestation a few years back.
I don't see any reason for a GFCI. Any ground fault protection can be done using a device (Receptacle) If required just install an AFCI breaker.
 
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Old 11-17-10, 10:03 AM
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Originally Posted by HansGruber View Post
is it in anyway against code to mix lights and receptacles on the same circuit?
Lights and receptacles cannot be mixed in a kitchen, dining room, similar food prep/serving area, some bathrooms* or a laundry room. Any other rooms it is okay.

* a circuit that serves one bathroom and no other rooms may mix lights and receptacles.
 
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Old 11-17-10, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
Lights and receptacles cannot be mixed in a kitchen, dining room, similar food prep/serving area, some bathrooms* or a laundry room. Any other rooms it is okay.

* a circuit that serves one bathroom and no other rooms may mix lights and receptacles.
This is actually the dining area of the kitchen and the circuit powers only the light in this room. The receptacles are in different rooms. No receptacles in this room are powered by this circuit. Is it OK for this circuit to power receptacles in OTHER rooms?

(as a side note, what's the reasoning behind this rule?)
 
  #5  
Old 11-17-10, 11:32 AM
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Yes that situation is okay. The reasoning is that the food prep and serving areas are likely to use high-current appliances like toasters, hot plates and cookers so the code requires they be served only by "small-appliance branch circuits". Hair dryers, hair irons and cloths irons are frequently used in the other areas so a similar rule applies. Old circuits generally do not follow this rule, but when doing new work it needs to be considered.
 
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