Finishing Basement - How Many Circuits Are Adequate?

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Old 09-29-14, 04:02 PM
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Finishing Basement - How Many Circuits Are Adequate?

I realize this may be an open ended question, but I am planning on finishing my basement and it looks like I have 5 circuits available in my existing panel utilizing tandem breakers. This would fill it up. I am trying to avoid adding a subpanel, so I am wondering if 5 circuits would be adequate for wiring up my basement (with a bathroom). Assuming that the bathroom is on one circuit, is 4 circuits for the remaining basement enough?

I am also noticing that some circuits are taking up 2 slots, are there breakers available that can trim this down to 1 slot freeing one up?

Let me know if there are additional questions.
 
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Old 09-29-14, 04:52 PM
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Circuits that are taking two spaces are two pole breakers for 240 volt loads. Depending on your panel brand you may be able to find a double two pole breaker.

For determining your circuits needed you need to figure out what your load will be. Add up the total watts and divide that by 1800 for 15 amp circuits or 2400 for 20 amp circuits. Another good rule of thumb is figure about 10 receptacle outlets per 15 amp circuit or about 12 per 20 amp circuit.

One thing to mention: AFCI breakers take up a whole space, there are no tandem AFCI breakers. If you are on 2011 code or later you will need to protect most of the circuits with an AFCI device (Breaker or receptacle)
 
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Old 09-29-14, 06:38 PM
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Thanks for the reply. If it helps, my current panel is a Cutler Hammer.

I went to our city website and pulled this information:
Arc fault circuit interrupter(s) is required to protect all outlets in sleeping rooms. 
Receptacles shall be spaced within 6 feet of door openings then every 12 feet measured horizontally along the wall edge of the floor.

I gather from this information that I do not need AFCI since I am not adding any bedrooms.

It's looking like I will not need a subpanel installed.

Still looking to see if I can free up the 2 pole breakers just in case.
 
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Old 09-30-14, 07:46 AM
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it looks like I have 5 circuits available in my existing panel utilizing tandem breakers.
That would be IF your panel will accept tandem breakers. Can you provide the panel manufacturer's name and catalog numer of your panel? What version of the NEC are you working under?
 
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Old 09-30-14, 01:27 PM
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Before an answer could be given more information about your basement plans are needed. How large and what loads are you expecting to use in the basement? Are you adding heating or cooling? What about lighting?
 
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