Adding Circuits to Older Home

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Old 09-17-11, 05:08 AM
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Adding Circuits to Older Home

So yesterday, I closed on a new house, built in 1977, it has a 200 amp service. The house is just shy of 1,100 sq ft on the main floor, was extensively remodeled and although an additional circuit was added to the kitchen, everything else is original.

The problem: I haven't researched it extensively, but it appears all of the lighting in the house plus the receptacles in all 3 bedrooms and the bathroom are all on the same 15 amp circuit.

Have not even been in the house 24 hours and have blown the circuit 2 times...what would you do?

At the minimum my plan would be to add a dedicated GFCI 20A circuit to the bathroom (hair dryers, curling irons, etc). and probably one to the office as well, as I have a pretty substantial pc/home studio setup. My thought is that this alone will probably alleviate the majority of the problem, or would you do more?

The basement is unfinished, so access from below is very ample and with plumbing and ductwork to use as a reference, it would probably be pretty easy to drill through the joists in multiple areas.

Any advice is appreciated.
 
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Old 09-17-11, 05:39 AM
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I think your plan is reasonable. I would probably leave the lighting as is and look for a way to re-feed the receptacle circuits. You could also just add new circuits for the computer area. Your area will most likely require AFCI protection on the new circuits.
 
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Old 09-17-11, 05:46 AM
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Update: went down to the load center after posting and pulled the front cover off...the 15A circuit that appears to feed everything has 2 wires attached to it. Upon disconnecting one, I found that the second wire feeds the bathroom receptacle and fan.

Perhaps this will solve the problem without going further? I will head to home depot this morning and pick up a new 15A breaker and see...

The only issue I run into is the wire not being quite long enough, though I think there may be enough slack outside of the box, so I can pull it in a little further, but if not, is it acceptable to wire nut NM wire to NM wire to extend it in the box?

Also, this panel is a Square D Series L7, from the 70's (house built in 1977). Are the square D breakers I will find in the store compatible?
 
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Old 09-17-11, 06:42 AM
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The only issue I run into is the wire not being quite long enough, though I think there may be enough slack outside of the box, so I can pull it in a little further, but if not, is it acceptable to wire nut NM wire to NM wire to extend it in the box?
Yes, you can splice in the box as long as you have sufficient space. It sounds as if one of the circuits was added since the home was built and just added to an existing breaker.

Also, this panel is a Square D Series L7, from the 70's (house built in 1977). Are the square D breakers I will find in the store compatible?
Today there are two types of Square D plug-in breakers, you want a QO115 breaker for your QO series Square D panel. The Square D Homeline series of panels and breakers didn't come along till the early 1990s and are not compatible with your panel.
 
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Old 09-17-11, 08:27 AM
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Although it appears that you have a good handle on this issue, I should ask, what are you doing that will blow the breaker?
 
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Old 09-17-11, 08:29 AM
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That should help at least in the short term since you have effectively sub-divided the load into two circuits.
 
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