Dedicated Circuits

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  #1  
Old 12-03-13, 06:45 AM
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Dedicated Circuits

First time posting in electrical. I've always got good info from this forum. I'm trying to help a friend, without a lot of money to throw around, rewire a basement after flood damage. I'm trying to determine what equipment needs dedicated circuits by NEC code (realizing I may have to consult local code). The lights and outlets are all on separate circuits. I basically have 2 unused wire pulls (circuits) available to be used. Originally I was planning on using one solely for the bathroom receptacle. The bathroom is very small, but I plan on having a vanity light, fan/light combo, and an outlet. The other available circuit was going to be used for the newly installed sump pump. The homeowner just recently had the furnace replaced and the tech found out that the furnace is actually connected to the upstairs bedroom and bathroom circuit. I believe this needs a dedicated circuit, but it has been this way since the house was constructed in 1965.

So basically I have 2 circuits available and three pieces of equipment I'm not clear on, sump pump, furnace and bathroom. Do any or all of these need dedicated circuits. I've tried to research this online and have seen conflicting information. The breaker panel is full. I don't really want to run new pull, but if I bought a tandem breaker, it could be done if it needs to be done.

I'm really interested in what code says and being code compliant, but would welcome preferences if it is made clear what is code and what is preference.

Thanks!
 
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Old 12-03-13, 07:53 AM
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I think I'd use the 2 available dedicated circuits for the bathroom receptacle (1 ckt) and the furnace (1 ckt). The sump pump can go on the basement receptacle circuit and the bathroom fan/lights can go on the basement lighting circuit.

I don't really want to run new pull, but if I bought a tandem breaker, it could be done if it needs to be done.
Not all panels will accept tandem breakers, will this one? If you provide the manufacturer's name and catalog number, someone on the forum can help you determine that. I don't think you'll need to add any more circuits.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 08:12 AM
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While I can't speak of specifics regarding NEC regulations --- up here the HVAC is required to be on it's own circuit.
Back in the old days it wasn't unusual to find many appliances ( like furnaces or fridges ) sharing circuits because the load demands were far less than today. In terms of code that setup would be grandfathered in if no changes to that electrical circuit are being made. However, depending on your local code , any changes to that circuit would require the furnace to be up to current code --- which may require a dedicated circuit. Also, some codes may require a dedicated circuit when the HVAC is changed --- even though the original circuit wasn't altered.

Code requirements aside, this is a logical common sense approach anyway, since you really don't want something like a vacuum cleaner tripping the breaker that also supplies your heating equipment.

The sump pump ( up here ) has to be on it's own dedicated non-GFCI circuit. Simply because you don't want that circuit tripped during the peak usuage demand. Again, that's a regional thing.

The bathroom would need a dedicated 20 amp circuit for it's receptacle --- GFI protected.

Having said all that --- I believe that one circuit is accounted for --- the bathroom . The HVAC may be the other.


2 cents worth.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 08:20 AM
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I'm not at the house at the moment, but the house has a Westinghouse panel, circa 1965. It currently has a couple tandem breakers in it already, which can be found at the link below. If required, I can get the exact model number of the panel later this afternoon.

BR2020 Circuit Breakers by Cutler Hammer
 
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Old 12-03-13, 08:52 AM
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I'm not at the house at the moment, but the house has a Westinghouse panel, circa 1965
I was just interested in the catalog number to determine if that panel allows the use of tandem breakers. Being a 1965 vintage, it may be hard to determine.

The sump pump ( up here ) has to be on it's own dedicated non-GFCI circuit.
I am not aware of any requirement here for a sump pump circuit to be dedicated. In a perfect world with plenty of available circuits, I probably would suggest installing it on a dedicated circuit, but the world is not perfect and the OP has only 2 circuits to work with. GFCI protection is required on a sump pump here, the requirement has gone back and forth, today it is required.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 12:39 PM
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but the world is not perfect and the OP has only 2 circuits to work with
I hear you -- but --- in cases where code dictates things you have no choice than to make the (code) world perfect.

As said earlier I can't comment specifically on NEC requirements --- here's another subtle difference between your's and our CEC requirement.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 05:07 PM
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I'm okay with making the world right when it is within my capabilities. I took a look at the panel today. I think I'm double screwed. I've included photos from the panel. It appears to be a Westinghouse B10 2020CT, and looking at the close up of the diagram on the right, it appears to not be rated for tandem breakers. Then looking at the panel, there are currently 3 tandem breakers installed on the panel. I would not be opposed to running dedicated circuits to all the equipment I mention in the first post...but it looks like I may have some limitations. What makes a panel suitable for tandems? It's not just a function of the total draw in the panel? Any suggestions on a course of action? Can the tandems remain? Thanks!



 
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Old 12-03-13, 05:17 PM
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You could always make a compromise to wire the current lights and receptacles off the same breaker --- that will free one circuit.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 06:14 PM
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You could run the sump off the basement circuit and leave the bathroom's alone except to install a GFI outlet in lieu of the regular outlet. One extra space can be used a dedicated circuit for the refrigerator and the other for a freezer if they have one or the clothes washer if it's not on one.

A tandem breaker should be 2 connected 110's for a 220 circuit.
 
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Old 12-03-13, 06:34 PM
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Maybe the term I should have used is "Duplex Breaker" as noted on the breaker panel. I am mainly focused on the basement utilities...but the laundry and refrigerator are on dedicated lines. Previously the basement was all run off wires dropped down from upstairs. The idea was to separate the upstairs from downstairs and determine what fixtures/utilities needed dedicated lines. I guess ideally (even if not required by code) the furnace, bathroom receptacle, and sump pump would be on their own circuits. Outlets and lights are currently separated, but now I'm worried about the panel capacity and the fact that there are 3 duplex breakers in place on a panel that seems not to allow them. I guess now I'm looking for solutions, again what's bare minimum for dedicated circuits according to NEC, should I consider a subpanel or total replacement now, are the dual breakers already in place a real hazard?

Here's an example of the dual breaker used again:
BR2020 Circuit Breakers by Cutler Hammer
 
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Old 12-03-13, 07:12 PM
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I'm trying to determine what equipment needs dedicated circuits by NEC code (realizing I may have to consult local code).
Let's start here again. There are limited funds and you have a 100 amp 20 space panel with 2 circuits available. The basement bathroom receptacle is required to be dedicated. There are other requirements, but let's not muddy the waters. The furnace should be on a dedicated circuit. That's your 2 available circuits. I prefer things like a washer, refrigerator and sump pump on a dedicated circuits, but I think you can, in this situation, put them on other circuits.

You could run the sump off the basement circuit and leave the bathroom's alone except to install a GFI outlet in lieu of the regular outlet. One extra space can be used a dedicated circuit for the refrigerator and the other for a freezer if they have one or the clothes washer if it's not on one.
Code requires the bathroom receptacle to be dedicated, but you can put the light and bathfan on the basement circuit. There was no mention by the OP of a refrigerator or freezer in the basement, this thread is just about basement wiring.

I'd leave the existing tandem, or duplex, breakers alone and see if the inspector mentions them. If they become an issue, we can come up with another solution for you.
 
  #12  
Old 12-03-13, 08:08 PM
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Whether the panel is listed for use with tandem is determined by how the manufacturer paid to have the panel listed. Your panel is only good for 20 poles worth of breakers. If the model number was something like BR2030 it could use tandems.

To solve your issue circuits could be moved out of the panel to allow a 2 pole breaker to be installed to feed a subpanel. The subpanel would give you space for more circuits.
 
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