Short Circuit

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  #1  
Old 08-25-13, 11:57 AM
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Short Circuit

DIY electrical newb

Ok... so I have been wiring my own basement finish. It has been very educational... but I seem to have done something wrong on this one circuit. Ok, well I know it is abnormal and steps out of the bounds of the electrical handbook, but I was sure it would work. But id does not. So maybe you can help me figure out the easiest way to fix it.Name:  Circuit Shorts.jpg
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So I start with a home run on a GFI 15 amp circuit to wire my bathroom and small wet bar. I have hoped for a number of switched outlets to later install low voltage accent lighting in that will switch on together. My genius idea was to use 3-wire NM-B so I could carry through the stitched hot to these switched outlets. Also the circuit is lit with the home run out of the center... The electrician I consulted verbally said this wasn't really usually a problem, then cited a bunch of crap I didn't understand I don't think he did either.

So here is where the problem starts. The circuit works fine. Lights and fans come on. Until I plug a plug tester into the switched outlet on Box "B". It then trips the breaker.

Can anyone explain why? (yes I have checked the connections, and they are all pig-tailed).

Should I move the home run to box "C"?

Or I could wire Box "B" from Box "C" instead of Box "A", would this help?

Thanks!
 

Last edited by G-Mon; 08-25-13 at 12:13 PM.
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  #2  
Old 08-25-13, 12:40 PM
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So I start with a home run on a GFI 15 amp circuit to wire my bathroom and small wet bar.
Code requires a 20 amp dedicated circuit for the bathroom. Your wet bar can not be on that circuit. So first the circuit is going to have to be redone with the bathroom removed and put on a dedicated circuit. Assumes the receptacle for the bathroom is on this circuit. If not disregard above.

The circuit works fine. Lights and fans come on.
So you do not have a short.

Until I plug a plug tester into the switched outlet on Box "B". It then trips the breaker.
A correctly operating tester will not create r a short. Do you really mean short or are using the GFCI test feature trips the breaker? If so it should trip a GFCI breaker. That is not a short. It is the correct function of the tester. Does the breaker trip if you plug in a lamp?
 
  #3  
Old 08-25-13, 01:29 PM
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Until I plug a plug tester into the switched outlet on Box "B". It then trips the breaker.

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ne...#ixzz2d0tWJ5i9
A correctly operating tester will not create r a short. Do you really mean short or are using the GFCI test feature trips the breaker? If so it should trip a GFCI breaker. That is not a short. It is the correct function of the tester. Does the breaker trip if you plug in a lamp?

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ne...#ixzz2d0tTseBf
OK: I wasn't pressing the GFCI test button.... but I forgot that this tester all ways triggers GFCI's (only one I have ever owned). So I tested with a fan and it works fine. Does that mean the tester is defective? I have wondered why it does this whenever I am testing a GFI outlet.

Code requires a 20 amp dedicated circuit for the bathroom. Your wet bar can not be on that circuit. So first the circuit is going to have to be redone with the bathroom removed and put on a dedicated circuit. Assumes the receptacle for the bathroom is on this circuit. If not disregard above.
Actually I have no receptacle in the "bathroom". Let me explain and you can tell me it you think I have a problem here, Okay? The "bathroom" is just a toilet and shower, this is where the fan light is in the diagram. The fan light is over the shower (rated for this location with GFI circuit). Since the "bathroom" has no sink I did not put in an outlets. I split the sink out so I could use it in the wet bar where it will get more use than if I had a larger bathroom with a vanity (this also made the "bathroom" smaller so I would have room for a wet bar to begin withl. Since there is no vanity in the bathroom I don't have any outlets in there. One outlet (left of box "a") is next to the "bar sink" above the counter and just outside the "bathroom". This is mostly for Grandma's hair dryer when she visits once a year. Maybe a blender for the occasional margarita. Outlet box B is above the counter opposite the the sink (No sink in it's counter, but with drinks being in the area I wanted it protected anyhow).

Thanks for your help !!
 

Last edited by G-Mon; 08-25-13 at 01:44 PM.
  #4  
Old 08-25-13, 01:43 PM
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but I forgot that this tester all ways triggers GFCI's (only one I have ever owned). So I tested with a fan and it works fine. Does that mean the tester is defective? I have wondered why it does this whenever I am testing a GFI outlet.
There should be a button you push. Can you give us a make and model number for the tester? Not you were not creating a short. You were tripping the GFCI in the breaker.

The "bathroom" is just a toilet and shower, this is where the fan light is in the diagram.
Code aplies also to half baths.

I split the sink out so I could use it in the wet bar where it will get more use than if I had a larger bathroom
If the wet bar is not in the bathroom it has to be on a separate circuit.
 
  #5  
Old 08-25-13, 04:11 PM
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The "bathroom" is just a toilet and shower, this is where the fan light is in the diagram.
Code applies also to half baths.

2009 IRC: E3703.4 Bathroom branch circuits. A minimum of one
20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to supply bathroom
receptacle outlet(s). Such circuits shall have no other outlets.
Exception: Where the 20-ampere circuit supplies a single
bathroom, outlets for other equipment within the same bathroom
shall be permitted to be supplied in accordance with
Section E3702.
I think the wording is the same in the 2011 NEC.

I read that as meaning that bathroom outlets must be provided with at least one 20-amp circuit. Not that at least one 20-amp circuit must be provided with at least one outlet in any bathroom. I do not believe it was the intent nor is it in the wording, that any room with a toilet, a bathtub, or a shower, needs to have a receptacle.
You would disagree?

There should be a button you push. Can you give us a make and model number for the tester? Not you were not creating a short. You were tripping the GFCI in the breaker.
There is a button you can push. I was not pushing it. It is a basic receptacle tester: IDEAL Analog Voltage Detector Low's Item #: 292761 | Model #: 61-501 . It must be broken because like I said, it trips all my GFI outlets without pushing the button. I think I remember a time when I had to push the button to trip GFI's. But if so, that is no longer the case. So it either broke or was always broken.
 
  #6  
Old 08-25-13, 04:55 PM
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NEC 2008
210.11 Branch Circuits Required.

(3) Bathroom Branch Circuits. In addition to the number
of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at
least one 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to
supply bathroom receptacle outlet(s). Such circuits shall
have no other outlets.
As I read it the 20 amp branch circuit is required. It wouldn't make sense to run it and put nothing on it.

There is no 2009 edition of the NEC. Were you quoting from the 2008.
 
  #7  
Old 08-25-13, 05:48 PM
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2009 IRC: International Residential Code.

Academically speaking: Remember all these codes refer to new construction only. This is a remodel job. (Point being that a house built under current codes would have that one 20 amp branch even if a basement bathroom had no outlets on it)

The receptacle in a bathroom is required by: 210.52(D) Bathrooms. In dwelling units, at least one wall receptacle outlet shall be installed in bathrooms within 900 mm (3 ft) of the outside edge of each basin. The receptacle outlet shall be located on a wall or partition that is adjacent to the basin or basin counter top.

I still think that no basin = no outlet = no need for a dedicated 20 amp circuit. The code says that at least one circuit will be provided to service bathroom receptacles. Not that you will provide at least one no matter what. Would you make someone put in the circuit if they are building a cabin with an un-powered out house?

But that's my opinion. Your helping me prepare my argument so I can convince the code official. I'll try and come back and let you know what the inspector thinks. And if he agrees with you I will also let your know if my administrative modification request goes through. (PS: I'm no newbie on code analysis)

Thanks for your help though! I really thought I had a problem till you pointed out that the receptacle tester could be the issue.
 

Last edited by G-Mon; 08-25-13 at 06:05 PM.
  #8  
Old 08-25-13, 06:27 PM
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Academically speaking: Remember all these codes refer to new construction only. This is a remodel job.
A remodel that includes running a new circuit is the same thing as new construction as far as the code is concerned.
 
  #9  
Old 08-25-13, 07:35 PM
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International Residential Code
In the US the applicable code is based on the NEC as modified by local authority. You did pull permits didn't you.
 
  #10  
Old 08-25-13, 08:05 PM
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Nashkat1, I am really glad you are here to help share your expertise.

But let me pose this:
210.11 Branch Circuits Required.
(3) Bathroom Branch Circuits. In addition to the number
of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at
least one 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to
supply bathroom receptacle outlet(s). Such circuits shall
have no other outlets.
Is this per bathroom, or per building?

It does not say per bathroom.

And If the code is to be applied to remodeling in the same way as in a new building, why did they write the International Existing Building Code? Was it not specifically to provide guidelines for how to interpret codes written for new construction to existing buildings renovations?

Like I said though, this is really just academic, especially in respect to the narrow confines of electrical code. The distinction becomes more pronounced when you start planning entire construction projects.

Thanks again for your help!
 
  #11  
Old 08-25-13, 08:09 PM
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International Residential Code
In the US the applicable code is based on the NEC as modified by local authority. You did pull permits didn't you.
Sorry ray2047 but In the US local jurisdictions (counties and cities) adopt codes. There is not any nation wide code adoption in the US.

edit: and in some cases states (not mine)
 
  #12  
Old 08-25-13, 09:05 PM
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And those codes are based on the NEC not the IRC. Just ask any pro.
 
  #13  
Old 08-25-13, 10:08 PM
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But let me pose this:
210.11 Branch Circuits Required.
(3) Bathroom Branch Circuits. In addition to the number
of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at
least one 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to
supply bathroom receptacle outlet(s). Such circuits shall
have no other outlets.
Is this per bathroom, or per building?
Why do you ask when the answer is contained in the language you quoted?

But, to answer your question more fully, you need to read the entire section. In fact, you need to consider every applicable section. But, just staying with this section for now:
210.11 Branch Circuits Required.

(C) Dwelling Units.

(3) Bathroom Branch Circuits.
In addition to the number
of branch circuits required by other parts of this section, at
least one 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to
supply bathroom receptacle outlet(s). Such circuits shall
have no other outlets.
Exception: Where the 20-ampere circuit supplies a single
bathroom, outlets for other equipment within the same
bathroom shall be permitted to be supplied in accordance
with 210.23(A)(1) and (A)(2).
The exception clarifies that the allowance for one 20A circuit to serve no more than two bathrooms is limited, in that case, to the receptacles.

And If the code is to be applied to remodeling in the same way as in a new building, why did they write the International Existing Building Code?
For local jurisdictions to consider as a model when adopting their regulations.
Originally Posted by ray2047
In the US the applicable [electric] code is based on the NEC as modified by local authority.
All codes is local, as you noted, and
Originally Posted by ray2047
those codes are based on the NEC not the IRC.
What is the local code governing electrical work where you are? Also, just out of curiosity, how many years experience doing electrical work, and interpreting the code, do you have?

Also please answer Ray's question:
Originally Posted by ray2047
You did pull permits didn't you.
 
  #14  
Old 08-25-13, 10:58 PM
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Why do you ask when the answer is contained in the language you quoted?
Yes it is. That is what I am trying to guide you too....

...at least one 20-ampere branch circuit shall be provided to
supply bathroom receptacle outlet(s).
No outlets = no branch circuit. Seems really obvious to me.

Also, just out of curiosity, how many years experience doing electrical work, and interpreting the code, do you have?
Not that it really matters: but I am an architect. I interpret codes for a living. Thus the reference to administrative modification. That is where a design professional states in a letter to the building department their official professional interpretation of a code for entrance in the projects records.

Also please answer Ray's question:You did pull permits didn't you.
See above and below reference to inspectors and admin. mods.

Should I be sorry that I came here for some technical assistance, and even used you to feel out potential code interpretation issues. I do still appreciate your earnest help and even for raising the red flag for me. I would rather be prepared than blindsided. For what has been earnest, thank you.

But I will try and not return.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 08-25-13 at 11:21 PM. Reason: Remove non-beneficial comments
  #15  
Old 08-26-13, 06:47 AM
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It does not sound like the OP's layout meets the NEC definition of a bathroom.

An area including a basin with one or more of the following: a toilet, a urinal, a tub, a shower, a bidet, or similar plumbing fixtures.

If the OP wants to follow 2009 IRC then he needs to actually read it. That being said his locality might not be following it. He should be asking his AHJ.

R101.2 Scope. The provisions of the International Residential Code for One- and Two-family Dwellings shall apply to the construction, alteration, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, use and occupancy, location, removal and demolition of detached one- and two-family dwellings and townhouses not more than three stories above grade plane in height with a separate means of egress and their accessory structures.
 
  #16  
Old 08-27-13, 10:59 AM
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Thread resolved!! Thanks!!

Just thought I would let you all in on the verdict from the inspector. (Even though this is totally WAY off topic of why I started the thread in the first place)

The inspector said my interpretation was right on. The code calls for a minimum 20-amp service to serve outlets. Outlets are required at sink basins but the code dose not require you add outlets to any room that is defined as a bathroom. He pointed out that you do not put outlets in the little rooms with just a toilet, and why should you have to have an outlet by a shower. hmmm.. makes sense.

Thank you all for your concern.
 
  #17  
Old 08-27-13, 11:48 AM
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Glad you got it resolved, and thanks for updating us.

The interpretation you and your inspector arrived at makes sense. I would caution other readers to check with their inspector, since other jurisdictions might not see it that way. Also, it's better to ask ahead of time. In general, inspectors prefer being consulted on an interpretation of the code to being confronted with one they might not have encountered before.

It sounds like that's the approach you took which, given your experience, you would be familiar with. So congratulations on getting the protocol right, as well as the interpretation.
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 08-27-13 at 12:11 PM.
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