Residential Wiring Questions

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Old 12-29-13, 12:00 PM
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Residential Wiring Questions

A friend/neighbor of mine is finishing his basement and I volunteered to do the wiring. I remember a lot from my days as an electrician but there are a couple things I am uncertain of:

1) Maximum amount of receptacles on a 15A circuit?
2) Does a sump pump need to be on it's own dedicated 20A circuit?
3) Is the rule of thumb for light circuits still no more than 80% of the breaker rating? I will be putting 18 recess lights in, which works out to 65% of 15A assuming a max bulb wattage of 65W (he'll actually be using LED bulbs, but I realize I need to calculate based on an incandescent).
4) What is the rule for combining lights and plugs on the same circuit? For example, if I have 6 recess lights, how man plugs can I have on the same circuit?

State/County is Virginia and Prince William.
 
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  #2  
Old 12-29-13, 12:08 PM
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The NEC has not limits on receptacles in a residential usage.

The sump pump may not need a dedicated circuit but I would install one.

Lights and receptacles can be mixed on a circuit.
 
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Old 12-29-13, 12:43 PM
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The NEC has not limits on receptacles in a residential usage.
So I can put all the basement receptacles on one breaker along with all of the lights as long as the lights don't exceed 80% of 15A? I don't plan on doing so, but it sounds like this is what you are implying. I'm planning on putting the theater room receptacles and lights on one circuit and the remainder of the basement receptacles and lights on another.
 

Last edited by mossman; 12-29-13 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 12-29-13, 02:12 PM
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...it sounds like this is what you are implying.
Not only is PC implying this but in fact that IS what the NEC has to say on the subject. Early on, maybe in the preface or perhaps the first chapter the NEC states that it is NOT a design manual but a safety code.

Here is an example. My house was built in 1987 and had very few branch circuits. The two smaller bedrooms had all their lights and receptacles on a single circuit that also supplied the lighting in the back bathroom, the lighting and some of the receptacles in the master bedroom. The lights and receptacles in the front room along with the front bathroom lighting and exhaust fan was a second branch circuit. A third circuit was another two receptacles in the master bedroom, the lights and receptacles in the family room, the outside porch lighting and the kitchen lighting. Fourth branch circuit was lighting in the dining area, pantry, over the fireplace and the range hood. All this was code-approved at the time and the original inspection sticker was still on the Service panel when I bought it. It was a state-inspected job so not much reason to believe that local graft was behind the dearth of branch circuits. Even the home inspector commented on the lack of branch circuits. Needless to say I have made LOTS of additions to the original very limited electrical system.
 
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Old 12-29-13, 02:14 PM
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Another question is what to do with the wiring to all of the existing pull-chain lights in the basement. They are all wired to circuits on the floor above. I can either try to find where they all lead to and disconnect the wires in the receptacles on the first floor, or leave them wired and blank them off, which would be much easier. Problem with disconnecting them is that it seems like it would be against code to disconnect the wire at the plug that is feeding the light and then leave the wire in the ceiling (because it is stapled inside the wall and I can't remove it).
 
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Old 12-29-13, 02:24 PM
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Problem with disconnecting them is that it seems like it would be against code to disconnect the wire at the plug that is feeding the light and then leave the wire in the ceiling (because it is stapled inside the wall and I can't remove it)
You cut the cable on both ends too short to be used again and push it out of the box (if possible) in to the ceiling/wall void. Not unsafe at all and usually easy to do.

****removed mis information******
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 12-29-13 at 05:33 PM. Reason: Removed mis information....
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Old 12-29-13, 02:51 PM
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2) Does a sump pump need to be on it's own dedicated 20A circuit?
I agree with Pcboss and would use a deciated circuit for the sump pump. The NEC also say this should be a GFCI protected item.
 
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Old 12-29-13, 05:05 PM
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You cut the cable on both ends too short to be used again and push it out of the box (if possible) in to the ceiling/wall void. Not unsafe at all and usually easy to do.
That should be doable.

Plugs are female. Receptacles are male.
Hmmm. That sounds backwards, but I haven't really researched the subject so I'll believe you.

A wire is a single conductor. If it is two or more conductors in a metallic or non metallic sheath it is a cable not a wire.
I'm sure everyone knows what I'm talking about when I say wire. Of course I'm not running a single wire. Saying I am "cabling" my friend's house doesn't sound right, and if I say running "cable", most people would think I'm talking about coax for cable TV.

I agree with Pcboss and would use a deciated circuit for the sump pump. The NEC also say this should be a GFCI protected item.
That's the plan.
 
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Old 12-29-13, 05:31 PM
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Hmmm. That sounds backwards, but I haven't really researched the subject so I'll believe you.
It is but this forum limits the ability to edit.
 
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Old 12-29-13, 05:34 PM
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Post #6 was edit.................
 
  #11  
Old 12-30-13, 05:53 AM
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Originally Posted by mossman
I'm planning on putting the theater room receptacles and lights on one circuit and the remainder of the basement receptacles and lights on another.
I would add another 20A for the home theater system.
 
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Old 12-30-13, 07:22 AM
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I would add another 20A for the home theater system.
Sounds like a good idea. However, we're only talking about six recess lights and he will be using 12W LED bulbs, so all six are about equivalent to one incandescent.

Two additional questions:

1) When wiring (cabling ) a dead-end 3-way, what is the standard as far as which conductor to use as the point? White?

2) Is one smoke detector for the entire basement sufficient? It is one continuous U-shaped basement with no bedrooms, approximately 900 sq ft.
 

Last edited by mossman; 12-30-13 at 07:57 AM.
  #13  
Old 12-30-13, 09:59 AM
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2) Is one smoke detector for the entire basement sufficient? It is one continuous U-shaped basement with no bedrooms, approximately 900 sq ft.
I believe one smoke is all that would be required by most building codes, but I think I'd use two. It never hurts to check with the local AHJ.
 
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Old 12-30-13, 10:31 AM
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That would be one less junction box blanked off in the ceiling if I put another smoke detector. I swear there is going to be about 8 blanked off junction boxes in the ceiling.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 06:40 AM
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And what about the alarm system panel and Verizon Fios box? They are co-located--should I run a dedicated circuit for these two devices or just include them on the plug/light circuit?
 
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Old 01-12-14, 06:58 AM
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Is this going to be a permitted job?
May want to check first to see if there going to require 20 amp. outlets and Arc fault breakers.
That's two things my local inspector ask for.
Having the lights and outlets on the same circuit would be a mistake in my option. code or not.
One tripped breaker from something plugged in and there's no lights to go find the breaker.
Does the main house have hard wired smoke detectors? If so the ones in the basement need to be tied into them.
Info coming from a non electrician that's had to deal with all these items in the past with the inspectors and had to do some do overs.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 08:53 AM
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Yes, it is a permitted job. 15A outlets are fine and no special requirements for breakers as far as I know. I understand what you're saying about the lights and plugs on the same circuit. I'll definitely take that into consideration. Yes, the house has hard-wired smoke detectors, and there is already one in the basement, which we'll be retaining. So I don't think we'll need to do anything there.

Main question is should the alarm panel and Verizon Fios be on a dedicated circuit together or just wire them with the circuit feeding that room?
 
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Old 01-12-14, 02:57 PM
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I think you could do either for the alarm panel.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 03:16 PM
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(1) A house is computed by the watts per square foot method . Having satisfied that , you also have the dedicated circuits , ( such as laundry ) , kitchen circuits , etc . After that , there is no ruling on the number of plugs on a circuit , in a house , per NEC . Local codes may modify this .

(2) A sump pump is a fixed appliance / piece of equipment . Yes , must be on a dedicated circuit . ( Do you really want it on a circuit with other plugs & some one trip the breaker with a vacuum cleaner , and not tell you ?)

(3) For continuous loads ( 3 hours or more ) 80% is the permitted load . I shoot for less than 80% , period .

(4) Again , a house is computed by watts per square foot , there is no rule . However , I personally do not do it . On commercial work , it is often not even an issue . 277 volt lighting & 120 volt plugs ?
 
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Old 01-12-14, 03:54 PM
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I understand now that there is no "requirement". I'm more or less asking what makes sense now from a logical perspective. I'll just do what's easiest and uses the least amount of wire (cable) within code. Again, sump pump on 15A or 20A?
 
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Old 01-12-14, 07:12 PM
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Again, sump pump on 15A or 20A?
Either is fine if it's dedicated. Don't forget to use a GFCI receptacle.

I'm more or less asking what makes sense now from a logical perspective.
What makes sense to me is to use the existing basement lighting circuit for the lights and a new circuit for the receptacles. I'd put the receptacles on a 20 amp circuit if this was my project.
 
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Old 01-12-14, 08:11 PM
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I have my Internet services (FiOS ONT, router, Ethernet switch and VoIP telephone adapter) on a dedicated circuit from an auxiliary panel that can connect to my generator. I also have battery back-up on these services so I can "ride through" any power bumps along with using my generator for power during an extended outage. Alarm systems have their own battery back-ups that should last for 24 hours minimum but adding the AC power from a source that can be coupled to a generator is not a bad idea.
 
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Old 01-13-14, 07:26 AM
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What makes sense to me is to use the existing basement lighting circuit for the lights and a new circuit for the receptacles. I'd put the receptacles on a 20 amp circuit if this was my project.
There are no existing basement circuits. Everything is wired to upstairs circuits, so there will be several blanked off junction boxes where the existing keyless fixtures are. 20 amp sounds overkill for everything. Maybe just the media room.
 
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Old 01-13-14, 06:51 PM
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There are no existing basement circuits. Everything is wired to upstairs circu
OK, add a 15 amp lighting circuit too then.
 
  #25  
Old 01-14-14, 08:11 AM
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OK, add a 15 amp lighting circuit too then.
Only problem with doing that is I have a 2-gang box with one switch for the recessed lights and one switch for a plug, so if I would have two circuits in the same box. Doesn't that mean I would have to put a clip across the two breakers feeding this box, so both breakers turn off together? If so, this defeats the purpose of having the lights and plugs on different circuits. If a tie bar is only needed for a MWBC (box fed with 14-3, shared neutral) then I could just run two 14-2's to that box if needed.

Another question: is there any problem with running a home run to a recessed can first, wiring all the lights together, then feeding the switch box, or is it generally better to feed the switch box first? One negative off the top of my head is that since the lights will be on a 3-way switch, I would have to use 14-3 if I fed the lights first, whereas if I fed the switch box first I could use 14-2.
 
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Old 01-14-14, 08:25 AM
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Only problem with doing that is I have a 2-gang box with one switch for the recessed lights and one switch for a plug, so if I would have two circuits in the same box. Doesn't that mean I would have to put a clip across the two breakers feeding this box, so both breakers turn off together?
Short answer is No. You would only have to handle tie the two breakers if both circuits terminated on the same yoke, but it's a 2-gang box with 2 separate devices so it isn't a problem. Just don't combine the neutrals from both circuits. All ground wires would be connected.
 
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Old 01-14-14, 08:59 AM
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Short answer is No. You would only have to handle tie the two breakers if both circuits terminated on the same yoke, but it's a 2-gang box with 2 separate devices so it isn't a problem. Just don't combine the neutrals from both circuits. All ground wires would be connected.
Okay, great. Not an issue then. Thanks.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 04:05 AM
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If you run a Romex with two hots and one neutral and one earth ground , you have to use a two pole Circuit Breaker or use a tie handle on two single pole CB's .

Or run two separate Romex cables .

God bless
Wyr
 
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Old 01-16-14, 10:45 AM
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If you run a Romex with two hots and one neutral and one earth ground , you have to use a two pole Circuit Breaker or use a tie handle on two single pole CB's .
Right. That's the very reason I posed the question to begin with. I'll be feeding the box from two separate cables so I'll be good.
 
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Old 01-19-14, 04:03 PM
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Next question--is it necessary to have more than one plug in a hallway? There's a 6ft x 6ft area at the bottom of the stairs to the left with a door to the utility room and another door to the bathroom, and I was wondering if the standard rules apply to this area (> 2ft. needs plug, plug within 6 ft. of corner, plug within every 12 ft.)
 
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Old 01-19-14, 06:35 PM
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Hallways do not follow the 6/12 rule but do require a receptacle if the centerline measurement is 10 foot or more IIRCIIRC. You can install more if you wish.
 
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