Wiring for utility rooms

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  #1  
Old 01-06-14, 08:01 PM
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Wiring for utility rooms

Hi,

If this is in the wrong spot, please let me know (:
Question pertains to a job in Pittsburgh, PA.

One general observation factored into my plan is, given that the price difference between a 20A circuit and a 15A circuit is very small, that I dunno why anyone would bother with 15A. Am I missing something?

I have plenty of room in my 200A breaker box for more breakers.

I have two utility rooms in the basement (below grade). These are going to be special purpose rooms, sort of a combination of utility/storage/tool/shop types of rooms. They're small, about 9x8' each. Here is my plan:

circuit 1: 240v, 20A breaker. Wire this to a heater in both room #1 and room #2. The heater is Cadet Com-Pak Plus 9 in. x 12 in. 2,000-Watt 240-Volt (unit includes thermostat). By my math, I need a circuit good for 4000 watts, which at 240v comes out to 16.7A.

circuit 2: 120v, 20A breaker. Wire this to recessed ceiling lights in both room #1 and room #2, each room with a motion sensor for its lights (so when I open door and walk in, lights come on). These lights are rated at 50 watts each and I want 7 in each room, for a total of 14 lights. I get 14*50, or 700 watts. At 120v, I need 5.8A, so there is plenty of capacity on this circuit, but I don't want to put anything else on it unless I have to. The lights I plan to install are:
Cooper 4 inch Recessed Housing H99ICAT

circuit 3: 120v, 20A breaker. Wire this to a 20A switch and a 2-outlet GFCI receptacle. Dedicated for a large amount of electronics type stuff.

circuit 4: 120v, 20A breaker. Wire this to a 20A switch and a 2-outlet GFCI receptacle. Dedicated for hooking up tools (standard home power tool type stuff).

circuit 5: 120v, 20A breaker. Wire this to a 20A switch and a 2-outlet GFCI receptacle. General purpose dedicated 20A outlets. Might run extension cords for tools to yard and whatever.

circuit 6: 120v, 20A breaker. Wire this to a 20A switch and a 2-outlet GFCI receptacle. General purpose dedicated 20A outlets. Might run extension cords for tools to yard and whatever.

circuit 7: 120v, 20A breaker. Wire this to all the other outlets in room #1. I'm figuring on a receptacle-type 4-port USB unit, 7 dual-outlet receptacles (standard) and one receptacle-type LED night light. I know it depends on what you have hooked up - but I dunno what I will hook up here. Standard stuff I guess. Anything real heavy duty will get plugged into one of the dedicated 20A circuits.

circuit 8: 120v, 20A breaker. Wire this to all the other outlets in room #2. I'm figuring on 7 dual-outlet receptacles (standard) and one receptacle-type LED night light. I know it depends on what you have hooked up - but I dunno what I will hook up here. Standard stuff I guess. Anything real heavy duty will get plugged into one of the dedicated 20A circuits.

I guess that's about it. The floor is open for critique and advice.

Thanks in advance (:
 
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  #2  
Old 01-06-14, 10:10 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

You seem to know what you want.
Just an observation but it looks like an awful lot of power to two small rooms.

The one burning question I do have is how come so many switches controlling the receptacles ?

With circuit one you're slightly over the max allowed current. With continuous duty items, like resistive heaters, you can only load the circuit to 80% which is 16amps.

Circuit eight needs to be GFI protected as it's an unfinished basement area.
 
  #3  
Old 01-07-14, 07:50 AM
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A few comments:

A lot of people here recommend using 20A for receptacle circuits. 14ga wire is much easier to pull and use, so 15A circuits are often used for lighting. I would personally always wire recessed lights with 14ga wire (on a 15A breaker) since the boxes are a little tight to begin with. Cramming 12ga wire I think would be more difficult than required.

It does sound like you have a lot of lighting for a small space. A 9x8 room I would probably put 4 recessed lights into. But that's certainly personal preference - no code issue either way.

I would also agree with PJMax, it does sound like a LOT of power (120A of receptacle power). The 'standard' kitchen requires only 2 20A circuits and that has a fridge, microwave, toaster, coffee pot, etc etc.
If you really have that much equipment, you need to think a lot about cooling and ventilation. Electronics convert practically all of the power used into heat.

Good luck with your project!
 
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Old 01-07-14, 08:11 AM
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With all that, I would pull a 60 or 100amp subpanel down there and work from there. Much less wiring to do an much less copper.
 
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Old 01-07-14, 11:26 AM
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My Replies

All:

Thanks for the replies. Addressing your comments, in no particular order:

1). Well, the main panel is sitting just outside one of the rooms. In fact, it's on one side of the wall and room #1 is on the inside of the wall. I'm not sure I would get much benefit from putting a sub panel on the inside of the wall with just a short run through the wall to the main panel. What do you think? Frankly, if I could snap my fingers and make it happen, I would put the main panel inside room #1, since it will be a secure room and that would keep someone from flipping a breaker and shutting off my electronics in there. But I don't want to go through the effort and expense of moving it. That would be rather substantial.

2). On the lights - I will have a look at the units I bought and see if I come to some determination about 12ga vs 14ga wire there. One downside of this is that I already have more 12ga wire than I need. If I go with 14ga wire, I'll have to go buy it at more expense. But I'm also sensitive to irritation factor, so I'll check it out (:

3). It is a lot of lighting. One thing I can't stand is not being able to see what I am doing. Given that room #1 is a project room of sorts, I want a lot of light in there. 4 of those lights will be directly above a work bench. The other three are in front of other areas where I need to see. For room #2 - there is a good chance I will cut back on lights - but I'm balancing that with the idea of "I only want to do this once, and I don't want to be disappointed with the results because I tried to save a few bucks or a little effort."

4). On the receptacles - it's not so much as needing that much power, as much as having a receptacle right where I want/need it, without having to run a cord around. As noted, this is a small space and I want it to be as neat and tidy as possible. That's really what I am going for here.

5). That's a good point on cooling and venting. As noted, this room is below grade, and it's already pretty damned cold in there. However, I will be putting insulation in - hopefully resulting in it being warmed up. I suppose if heat gets to be an issue, I can just turn the heater down/off. I'll ponder this some more.

6). Yeah, it's a lot of power. As noted above, it's more about placement and convenience than running a whole bunch of things at the same time. Even so, yeah, it's probably a bit much, but the increased cost isn't much and I'd like these rooms to be as useful as possible - kind of futureproofing a bit, since I'm not entirely sure what all will actually be in here.

7). On switches - no reason, other than a switch is like $5, so I figure why not have it there and give myself the option of turning it off? I only have switches for the dedicated 20A outlets, not everything.

8). On circuit one, I'm pegging a max load of 83% of the rated amps. Is that really going to be an issue, rather than 80%?

9). I'll add GCI to circuit 8. Thanks.

So, no issues with running circuit 1 through both rooms, for a heater in each room? No issue with circuit 2, with the lights being in two rooms?

Anything else?

Thanks for your help (:
ag
 
  #6  
Old 01-07-14, 12:00 PM
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3). It is a lot of lighting. One thing I can't stand is not being able to see what I am doing. Given that room #1 is a project room of sorts, I want a lot of light in there. 4 of those lights will be directly above a work bench. The other three are in front of other areas where I need to see. For room #2 - there is a good chance I will cut back on lights - but I'm balancing that with the idea of "I only want to do this once, and I don't want to be disappointed with the results because I tried to save a few bucks or a little effort."
Since recessed fixtures are downlights that light up a cone-shaped area, it's often more effective to install two - one on each side of center - when you want to light up an area you'll be standing in front of. Few things are more annoying than trying to work in your own shadow.

4). On the receptacles - it's not so much as needing that much power, as much as having a receptacle right where I want/need it, without having to run a cord around. As noted, this is a small space and I want it to be as neat and tidy as possible. That's really what I am going for here.

6). Yeah, it's a lot of power. As noted above, it's more about placement and convenience than running a whole bunch of things at the same time. Even so, yeah, it's probably a bit much, but the increased cost isn't much and I'd like these rooms to be as useful as possible - kind of futureproofing a bit, since I'm not entirely sure what all will actually be in here.
120A total still seems like overkill. I would consider installing one circuit for tools and one for general power in each room. 40A/room and 80A total seems like enough.

8)On circuit one, I'm pegging a max load of 83% of the rated amps. Is that really going to be an issue, rather than 80%?
Yes. Two dedicated 15A circuits would do the trick. You can pull 12AWG for these since you have it on hand - no issue.

9). I'll add GCI to circuit 8. Thanks.
And to circuit #7. "All receptacles in unfinished basement areas...etc."
 

Last edited by Nashkat1; 01-07-14 at 02:35 PM.
  #7  
Old 01-07-14, 01:30 PM
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with a motion sensor for its lights (so when I open door and walk in, lights come on
When you get still they will go off. I would forego the drama and install a wall switch.

It is good you have the power close. I didn't know.

Good bit of overkill, but workable
 
  #8  
Old 01-26-14, 06:50 PM
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Progress Report

Thanks for the note on the switch for the lights. The one I have is pretty fancy. It has an option for locking the lights in the "on" position, so I don't have to worry about them going off when I am in there (:

I made some progress. I'm very slow, I'd never make a living as an electrician (:

I figure I'm about a 3rd of the way done with the electric. I have half the sockets done, and about 1/3rd of the lights. I've also roughed-in a place for the wall heater. I have plenty more to do.

I've attached some photos. They demonstrate that I will need a lot of lights in this room to make it usable. The problem with recessed lights is they're so directional - you need a lot of them. But with the ceiling in this room barely taller than me, I don't have a whole lot of choice.

Well - nevermind on the pictures. The site's restrictions on them are too tight, I don't want to take the time required to make them allowable. Maybe I will do it when I get everything done (:
 
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