Adding outlets to a switched circuit in garage

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  #1  
Old 02-19-12, 07:23 AM
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Adding outlets to a switched circuit in garage

I ran 14 gauge off a 15 amp breaker to security lights outside my detached garage. Right now the lights are the only thing on that breaker and they run through a switch which I leave on all the time. The security light has 2X250 watt halogen bulbs. I would like to tap into the circuit to run a wire down the inside of my garage to add outlets. If I understand calculating watts to amps correctly the security lights pull about 5 amps. Does that leave enough amps to also have outlets on that circuit?

In hindsight I wish I would have run 12 gauge wire so I could have had a 20 amp breaker but live and learn.

Thanks!
Chuck
Hampton VA
 
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  #2  
Old 02-19-12, 07:56 AM
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You keep saying wire but you mean you ran cable correct? What kind of cable, UF or NM-b (Romex). If you did run wires they were in conduit correct?
 
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Old 02-19-12, 08:00 AM
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Sorry, it was romex 14-2 NM-B.
 
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Old 02-19-12, 08:10 AM
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I ran 14 gauge off a 15 amp breaker to security lights outside my detached garage. ....it was romex 14-2 NM-B.
Kind of get to be a detective here. Because of your terminology I was afraid that is what you did. You can not use Romex outside. You need to rerun the cable to your garage. It needs to be UF cable buried at least 18" unless protected by a GFCI breaker (then 12" will do). Since you need to replace the cable go ahead and use #12 UF on a 20 amp breaker.

Note assumes a distance of less then 100 feet.
 
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Old 02-19-12, 08:13 AM
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The romex runs inside the garage from the breaker to the eve where the security light is attached. From there I was going to tap into the romex (inside) and run it down the inside of the wall to about 4 feet off the floor of the garage.
 
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Old 02-19-12, 08:27 AM
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The romex runs inside the garage from the breaker to the eve where the security light is
So you have a subpanel in your garage, correct? In that case your plan is okay.
 
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Old 02-19-12, 08:45 AM
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Thanks for all the info. With the lights on the circuit is there enough room for outlets or will the outlets easily overload the circuit? I know it depends on what I plug in. It won't be a heater. Probably just a fan, power drill, dremel and stuff like that. I planned on hanging a retractable extension cord above the outlet. The main thing I was worried about is that I would put outlets on the circuit and everytime I had a radio plugged in and tried to turn on a fan the breaker would flip.

As an aside, I have 1/2" non-metallic conduit to run the romex down. I think I could get by with staples to the stud but I have the conduit so I figured why not use it. Is this good bad or indifferent?

Thanks again for all the help.
 
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Old 02-19-12, 09:47 AM
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The 15 amp should be enough but you might want to put a 20 amp breaker in the subpanel for the lights and receptacle. Receptacles must be GFCI protected.

Using the conduit to protect the NM-b below 6' would be best practice.
 
  #9  
Old 02-19-12, 09:59 AM
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Isn't a 15 amp breaker the biggest I can put in using 14/2?
 
  #10  
Old 02-19-12, 10:23 AM
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You'd need to use 12 AWG. IMO, it's well worth the little extra cost.
 
  #11  
Old 02-19-12, 10:37 AM
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I wish I had run 12AWG but I already have 14AWG going to the light. I'd rather not have to take out whats already there to replace if there is no real added benefit. I have 12 foot ceilings so the constant moving of a 10 foot ladder to run 12 AWG would be a PIA.

Thanks for the reply!
 
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Old 02-19-12, 10:47 AM
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You do have a subpanel in the garage, correct? Just run a new circuit from it. If you don't have a subpanel in the garage I don't understand what you have written so far. Were you in error when you said it was a detached garage?
 
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Old 02-19-12, 11:18 AM
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Yes, I have a 50 amp sub panel in the garage. I ran the 14 AWG about a year ago for the security light. The 14 AWG runs up the stud from the panel, around the perimeter of the garage (12 feet up) to where the light is which is positioned under an eve between two garage doors. The outlet I want to add is inside the garage between the garage doors directly below where the light is. It's only about 6 feet from where the existing 14 AWG is already. Dropping 6 feet of 14 AWG is a lot easier than running 50 feet of 12 AWG 12 feet in the air. I guess I'm trying to figure out if there is a real benefit to doing so.
 
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Old 02-19-12, 01:00 PM
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If only light loads are anticipated on the circuit it should be fine.
 
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Old 02-20-12, 06:13 PM
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Thanks for the great replies. I bought and ran 12/2 today off a 20 amp breaker. I used two heavy duty 20 amp outlets in a two gang metal box. I ran the 12/2 into the box and attached the black and white to the correct sides in the top of the first outlet. Then I ran the black and white from the bottom of the first outlet to the second outlet. I think this is right. I left the ground long and connected it first to the first outlet and then to the second outlet. So the ground was continuous. Is that corrected or should I have used a wire nut to attach the two grounds? Thanks again for the great feedback. I really appreciate it. I have not flipped the breaker on yet pending confirmation that I haven't screwed anything up.
 
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Old 02-20-12, 07:41 PM
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The ground should also be connected to the box. For me the easiest would be three pigtails to the ground but your way is good also so long as the box is also connected.
 
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