How to split 2 20A circuits for 2 basement rooms

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  #1  
Old 12-24-13, 10:54 PM
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How to split 2 20A circuits for 2 basement rooms

Hi all and Merry Christmas
I am finishing off 2 rooms in my basement under local permit, wiring myself.
1 room a bit large, about 25x13 w/ a fireplace, other is 14x13.
I will have 2 20A lines run to the area. 1 will (could) be completely dedicated, the other will have only 1 other basement duplex outlet on it.

I am debating how best to utilize the 2 lines across the 2 rooms. I anticipate 14 outlets (6 and 8). Lights will probably be a series of recessed cans, 4 and 8.

On one hand I like the idea of overhead and outlets being separate, since it is below grade that leaves the lights on if somebody pops a breaker from the outlets, and I figure the load from lights is minimal (for 20A) and predictable.

However 14 outlets seems like an awful lot for a single branch. I cannot find anything in the residential NEC setting an actual max. Is there one, or perhaps an accepted standard?
I don't anticipate any serious loads, only appliances would be TVs, stereos etc. *maybe* a dehumidifier although that's not expected, or maybe a small fridge if we add in a bar or something later.

Of course I could just do 1 branch per room too...
 
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  #2  
Old 12-25-13, 05:34 AM
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I would put some receptacles and some lights on each circuit. I would also consider having one of the circuits serve receptacles on both sides of a common wall between rooms.

I would add receptacles on the sides of new walls facing unfinished parts of the basement also.
 
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Old 12-25-13, 07:03 AM
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I second Allan's comments. Is there anyway you could squeeze out a 15 amp circuit for all your lighting? Makes for good separation as you mentioned in your OP. There is no restriction on the number of receptacles per circuit, but you have to consider the loads. I think splitting the loads among two circuits will be very adequate.
 
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Old 12-30-13, 11:27 PM
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Thanks for the advice.
The lights I'm planning are groups of cans, essentially 1 per room plus an extra set around 1/2 the rim of the bigger room (accent lights in soffits). E.g. a set of 4 (or maybe 6) in 1 room, a set of 8-10 in the other, and a strip of small ones.
So, splitting up the lights onto different circuits isn't so easy, only a few ways to cut it.
The # of outlets I'm putting in is well above code, which is only 9 using the "no more than 6' reach" spacing rule. I'd just rather have them convenient when possibly needed. Oh and already have some planned for
facing the basement

So what is wrong with just doing 1 for lights, 1 for sockets?
 
  #5  
Old 12-31-13, 06:02 AM
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If the lights are not going to use up more than 3/4'th the capacity (amps) of one circuit then it would be better to put some receptacles on that circuit also. (Allow for all lights on simultaneously and lamps at the full socket ratings of the fixtures.)

You are more likely to put more load on all the receptacles combined compared with all the lights combined. With all of the receptacles on one circuit you have more limitations. With some receptacles on each circuit you can at least plug something such as a vacuum cleaner into a different receptacle, on the other circuit, if one circuit is quite loaded at that moment.
 
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Old 12-31-13, 07:06 AM
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Thats a good point about the vacuum! Thanks! We use a Dyson, which according to what I read online is a 12 amp motor . If thats true, I'm amazed we haven't popped any circuits using it before, although I'd bet that rating is only when its really struggling.
Aside from that, the biggest things I'd expect are 2 big TVs, a stereo, mini fridge, and *maybe* the dehumidifier. Which aside from the last aren't really that much load.
But... just running an additional 15A circuit isn't a big deal, the extra cost in cable/breaker is minimal (already have it on hand). So I think I'll just do that, maybe use the 15A for lights and each room a 20A, except both sides of the shared wall on the smaller room circuit so it's fairly balanced.

Thinking through the lights, I plan to use LEDs but if I plan for the worst and some fool puts 75w in the big cans that's potentially 1350w right there, plus the smaller accent lights. Yikes pushing that 15A rating.

Thanks
 
  #7  
Old 12-31-13, 08:18 AM
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The other benefit of using a 15A circuit for the lighting is that you can use 14ga wire. It's much easier to run and terminate in the small recessed light boxes.
 
  #8  
Old 12-31-13, 08:44 AM
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You never mentioned the existing basement lighting and the circuit feeding it. Assuming it is dedicated to basement lighting, I'd just use it for your lighting and split the receptacles among the two new 20 amp circuits.
 
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