Wiring new lights, switches and outlets for beginner

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Old 07-12-12, 12:31 PM
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Wiring new lights, switches and outlets for beginner

I am new to the forum. I am not an electrician but have done some electrical. i.e. I've added an outlet, replaced a broken switch, changed out a light fixture. Just basic things. I just bought [6 months ago] a new, to me, 1955 house. Financially, I am the electrician, plumber, dry wall hanger, painter etc. I apologize that this is long but I want to make sure I give all necessary information for the help I need.

The whole house is wired with 12/2 wiring, metal boxes and with a thin copper wire attached from box to box for grounding. There is a 15amp breaker that had only a light on it out in a trashed laundry room. I removed the light which was a plastic thing screwed into the ceiling drywall that had a hole in it for the 12/2 wire to come through. I am working with a drop light on an extension cord from the kitchen. So, I now have a free 15amp circuit with nothing on it. I want to put in two outlets and two lights. The outlets are for the Washer and Dryer. The Washer pulls 10amps, the dryer is natural gas with electronic ignition and I couldn't find the amp draw for that kind of thing. All the directions to find that talk about taking apart the machine. The lights would be pulling about 2.5amps. The exterior is a 100watt bulb regular outdoor 'porch light' The interior light is a 3 light adjustable direction ceiling light that takes regular 75watt bulbs, not halogen or anything like that, just the bulbs that seem to have been outlawed. {I couldn't find a two light one which is all I need}

Below is a kind of diagram of the laundry room showing where each box is. What I need, since I've never wired a new light and switch is the directions, in our everyday terms rather than electrical terms on how to connect the wires. I know how to connect the outlets, it's the switches for the two lights and the lights I don't get and can't seem to figure out from my research. I am using a combination single pole switches.

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I thank you guys for any help you can provide.

Ruth
 
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Old 07-12-12, 12:46 PM
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Best practice you need a dedicated 20 amp circuit for a washer and gas drier. Your lights can go on the existing 15a circuit. The wiring you describe with the under size ground was usually #14 (#16 ground) not #12 and the breaker size seems to confirm that.
with a thin copper wire attached from box to box for grounding.
 
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Old 07-12-12, 01:12 PM
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Thank you. It looks like I can't have a laundry room since there is NO 20amp circuit available and no way I can afford to actually replace the panel to upgrade everything in order to get that. The wiring is the original wiring to the house from when it was built. It is 12/2 throughout and the ground as I described.

Thanks for your quick reply, at least I won't be messing with this anymore. Laundromat here I come
 
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Old 07-12-12, 01:25 PM
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12/2 copper wiring will support 20 amp circuits if the entire run is 12 gauge wire. Are you sure you have 12/2 and not 14/2?
 
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Old 07-12-12, 02:00 PM
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Hi,

Yes, I am positive it is 12/2, you can actually read it on the sheathing on the wire and it is much thicker than 14/2 which is what I am used to seeing on things. It's also very hard to wrap on the danged screws

I'm not sure I can change out the breaker to a 20amp, don't you have consider the total amps of the electric panel? There seem to be two empty breakers, the 15amp one I mentioned and a 20amp one for which I can't find any wiring any place.
 
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Old 07-12-12, 02:20 PM
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I'm not sure I can change out the breaker to a 20amp, don't you have consider the total amps of the electric panel?
Simple answer is no. In a modern home the total if you add up the breaker is double or more the panel size. That is because actually amperage is usually a lot less. Many circuits often only have a few amps on them at a time.
no way I can afford to actually replace the panel to upgrade everything in order to get that.
You may be able to use tandem breakers or add a subpanel. What is the make and model number of your breaker box?

This ground wire you mention is contained in the cable sheath isn't it?
 
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Old 07-12-12, 02:57 PM
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This ground wire you mention is contained in the cable sheath isn't it?
To answer the last question first, no. It is a plain wire. Long, very long, since I haven't found any break in it anywhere I've checked. I did have the kitchen totally open to the studs, and bathroom and laundry room, and you can see that wire running through the wall and being attached to each metal box.

As to the panel, it is obsolete and no longer made nor are breakers made for it. Square D. I can't even find any info on the box as to make and model, though there seems to be something but it is not readable. I did have to replace a breaker, getting a used one, and the breaker type is Square D type XO.

As I was checking things, I found what seems to be an empty 20amp breaker. That is, I can't find a single thing attached to it. There is power to that breaker, but if I shut it off I can't find a single thing in the house that gets shut off. I don't know how to find out where the wire from that is. I have an attic crawl, but I still wouldn't know how I'd find out which wire up there went to which breaker.
 
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Old 07-12-12, 04:32 PM
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If the ground wire is not part of the cable then technically you have another problem code wise. The cable is ungrounded and ungrounded cable can not be extended. It is grandfathered for it's current use but you can't add cable to it for another purpose.

I asked:
This ground wire you mention is contained in the cable sheath isn't it?
You replied:
To answer the last question first, no. It is a plain wire. Long, very long, since I haven't found any break in it anywhere I've checked.
 
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Old 07-12-12, 05:11 PM
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Thanks for the information, that solves one issue as to the house fixing. I can move on to finishing the kitchen and bath and forget anything with the electric. Just to be clear though, there is ground wire coming into the boxes inside the sheath [black, white, bare copper] which is attached to the inside of the boxes by a screw. I thought you were talking about the wire I mentioned that is going from box to box. I truly have no idea what all that is. But, since all these issues are coming up, I think it is better I just don't do anything on electrical until I can afford to upgrade.

Ruth
 
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Old 07-12-12, 06:17 PM
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there is ground wire coming into the boxes inside the sheath [black, white, bare copper] which is attached to the inside of the boxes by a screw.
Then you do have grounded cable and you can extend it. I'd say do as you originally planed but switch the breaker to 20 amps if the cable is #12 all the way. At worst the lights may dim for a few seconds when either appliance starts.
 
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Old 07-13-12, 10:37 AM
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Hi,

I have switched the empty 20amp breaker and 15amp breakers so now I have a 20amp for the laundry room. I also spent the rest of yesterday opening the 3 overhead lights and all outlets in the bedrooms and living room checking that all the cable has ground in all the boxes. They all do. So, now I need my original question help on how to wire the these things. It's not the outlets but the lights I don't get. The image is still correct except where it says 15amp breaker, it is now 20amp. Thanks so much.

Ruth
 
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Old 07-13-12, 10:50 AM
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May I suggest you pick up a copy of Wiring Simplified to give you a better understand of concepts and terminolgy. This will help you be able to ask the questions you need help with and also to understand the answers given.
 
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Old 07-13-12, 11:28 AM
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Thanks, good suggestion. When I have the money I will do that.
 
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Old 07-13-12, 11:33 AM
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This is a basic switch loop assuming you or on 2008 or earlier code. The "other blacks" are power to your receptacles. The neutrals for your receptacles would connect to the "power in" neutral along with the light. For simplicity no grounds are shown but they would be connected together and pigtailed to the box if it is metal.


Note you only need to connect one receptacle at the light the others can be daisy chained off that. The laundry receptacle should be GFCI.
 
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Old 07-13-12, 11:36 AM
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The interior light is a 3 light adjustable direction ceiling light that takes regular 75watt bulbs, not halogen or anything like that, just the bulbs that seem to have been outlawed.
Do you want the two new lights to be controlled by the existing switch or by a new switch? And BTW, no light bulbs have been "outlawed" - not even in California!
 
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Old 07-13-12, 11:41 AM
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When I have the money I will do that.
It costs less than $10, you can find it in the electrical aisle at most home supply stores, and it's better to read it first, rather than later: Wiring Simplified: Based on the 2011 National Electrical Code
 
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Old 07-13-12, 12:32 PM
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Do you want the two new lights to be controlled by the existing switch or by a new switch?
There is no existing switch nor outlets nor lights, just the boxes for them. The switch I bought is called a combination single pole, i.e. two single pole switches in combination, the washer outlet is GFCI, the dryer outlet which is across the room is not.

And, thank you for all the help. You have no idea how appreciated it is not spending the day

Ruth
 
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Old 07-13-12, 01:07 PM
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The switch I bought is called a combination single pole, i.e. two single pole switches in combination, the washer outlet is GFCI,
That would be used to control each light separately. So run power from the first light to the receptacles as stated earlier. Then run power from the nearest receptacle to the light to the light and a second switch loop to the the switch box from the second light. Break the tab on the switch to give you two independent switches.

<opinion> Using a single switch to control both lights would be simpler . If you want each on separate switches using a double gang box and to separate switches would be easier.

the washer outlet is GFCI, the dryer outlet which is across the room is not.
I'd run power from the existing box to the washer then daisy chain to everything else. Probably only the washer receptacle needs to be GFCI so the cable to the next device can come off the line side.

Definition: Daisy chain means power comes into the device then out to the next device and into that device and out to the next device and so on.
 
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Old 07-13-12, 03:52 PM
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The laundry receptacle circuit should not also power the lighting.
 
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Old 07-13-12, 04:10 PM
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PCBoss has just raised the same issue that I raised in my first post. The lighting should really be on a separate circuit. Is there a lighting circuit near by that could be used for lighting in that room? If not you cold use the breaker you said powers nothing if you are sure it powers nothing.
 
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Old 07-13-12, 04:45 PM
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I wasn't sure that had been covered already and wanted to make sure. Thanks Ray.
 
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