Installing new circuits with receptacles

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  #1  
Old 01-25-15, 01:15 PM
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Installing new circuits with receptacles

Hi All. I plan on DIY installing a new meter/main in the coming months (separate thread here) and I also would like to run some new circuits with 2-3 new outlets on each one. I plan on getting the new circuits done first while I continue to plan and prepare for the larger project, so I have started this new thread to reduce clutter in my other one. FYI, I am far from an electrician but have a general understanding of the concepts (and a copy of Wiring Simplified), and I also have some electrician friends and acquaintances that could help me if I get in over my head.

My first question about my new circuits pertains to ABCD vs Star wiring (thanks pcboss). The wiring for the new receptacles will be run through the attic, and the ABCD wiring method will be impractical or impossible for the most part... so I am wondering if I can run 2-3 branches off of a single wire coming into a junction box? I am no MS Paint artist, but I think the image below conveys my meaning. Could I get away with this, by basically just pigtailing together all like colored wires at the junction? The new circuits will all be general purpose home use, 15A or 20A.

Thanks as always!

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  #2  
Old 01-25-15, 01:45 PM
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Yes that is acceptable so long the box fill of the junction box isn't exceeded. A 4x4 box would be a good choice so you have plenty of room. The box needs to be fastened in place. Best practice is to fasten it above the insulation so it is obvious to anyone doing electrical troubleshooting. Many 4x4 boxes don't have built in Romex connectors so you need to add them if the box doesn't have them.
 
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Old 01-25-15, 01:48 PM
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Also be sure to ground the box by using a 10-32 screw and connecting all the grounds.
 
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Old 01-25-15, 02:05 PM
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run some new circuits with 2-3 new outlets on each one
Don't be afraid to add a few more receptacles on the circuits you plan to run. This is assuming you already understand Kitchen, Bath, Laundry, etc.
Your technique is fine, but at 3 points you need to get a cable down from attic. Remember if you can get a cable down you can also get one up at the same time. There are tricks to pulling cable in finished walls and we can help you there.
 
  #5  
Old 01-25-15, 04:08 PM
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Thanks all!

Handyone, I plan to run a new 30A circuit for the clothes dryer as well here (which I did not mention) but other than that and adding the new outlets I think everything is good as-is in my small home. Currently the clothes dryer is sharing a 30A circuit with a 240V (~13A) window AC unit, and I don't like that. I will remove/cap the branch of that circuit that is feeding the dryer, put the AC unit by itself on a 15A or 20A breaker on the new panel, and run the new 30A circuit to the dryer. (Side question: is a 15A breaker enough for a window AC unit that says AMPS: 13.7 / 12.7, or should I go with a 20A?)

However, some of the new outlets I plan to install are going to be located in wall spaces that are not conveniently accessible from within the attic, so I could certainly use some pointers on other options/tricks for getting my wires to those locations. I can get more specific / provide images on those as I get further into the planning and mapping out of my new circuits...
 
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Old 01-25-15, 06:14 PM
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Oh and another quick question. I need 12/2 with ground Romex for these simple circuits, right? I am guessing 2x250' rolls will be about right for my needs. And what kind of cable do I need for the new 30A clothes dryer circuit?
 
  #7  
Old 01-25-15, 06:21 PM
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You need 10-3 plus ground for the dryer.
 
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Old 01-25-15, 07:36 PM
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Usually general purpose receptacles only need 14-2 on a 15 amp breaker but 12-2 on a 20a breaker is okay. Just costs more and a little bit harder to work with.
 
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Old 01-25-15, 07:54 PM
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But you do get 1/3 more capacity for only the extra cost of the heavier wire.
 
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Old 01-26-15, 02:36 PM
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Hooray for small steps. Doubt I will need all the wire nuts, but meh.

Does the clamp part of the romex connector go on the outside or inside, or does it not matter?

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  #11  
Old 01-26-15, 03:59 PM
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The locknut goes inside the box.
 
  #12  
Old 02-16-15, 01:06 PM
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I hope to get cracking on running the new circuits in the next 2-3 weeks. Work is sucking it out of me right now, but we just had a vacation and I just got a decent raise so that's ok. I have a few more questions below if you guys could help me work those out, but otherwise I am done with planning this project. Thanks for all the help, All!

* I have a 240V window AC unit that says AMPS: 13.7 on it. I plan to run 10/3 wire and put this on its own 20A circuit... sound about right? (Edit: wait, should this be 10/2? Hm..)

* What about the standard clothes washer circuit that I would now also like to replace... should that be 12/2 wire and a 20A breaker? It is rated at 10A and has a standard prong plug, so can't I just make this another 15A circuit? (The washer will be by itself on this circuit.)

* I plan to cap all circuits using old wiring at 15A. Some of them are currently on 20A, but just to be safe... does this make sense or am I being an idiot? Those circuits don't need to be 20A anyway, from what I can tell.
 
  #13  
Old 02-16-15, 05:43 PM
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By the way, I would have made more progress here (i.e. actually having run some wiring) but I am having some extreme difficulty getting a hole from the attic into the wall space where the panel will be. I did not expect this particular step to give me so much damn trouble, but I am now equipped with a better drill and a 16" spade bit. I swear, there are like 3-4 layers of 2x4 where I am trying to drill... seems weird. I can see the rest of the wiring for the house terminating at this point, and it is right where I need to be by my judgement... just seems thicker than it should be.
 
  #14  
Old 02-16-15, 06:04 PM
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You can also buy an extension for spade bit. I always carried a 12" extension. Also speed bits can help. Example: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...ZEJ8RBZGQ8CNV0

Don't know if you were trying to use a battery drill but I'd never try to use a a battery drill for that. They look cool but just can't really hack it for serious drilling. My go to drill for everything was a " corded drill.
 

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  #15  
Old 02-16-15, 06:13 PM
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Thanks Ray. Between now and my last post, my new 16" spade bit has granted me access to the wall space... I just came down out of the attic Yea, I was trying to use a battery-powered DeWalt and a 6" spade bit at first... I gave it my all a few times, but this wasn't cutting it. I now have two 1" holes that will get my new wires to where they need to be!

Still need some assistance with the questions below, but other than that it is time to run some wires (over the course of the next few weeks)


* I have a 240V window AC unit that says AMPS: 13.7 on it. I plan to run 10/3 wire and put this on its own 20A circuit... sound about right? (Edit: wait, should this be 10/2? Hm..)

* What about the standard clothes washer circuit that I would now also like to replace... should that be 12/2 wire and a 20A breaker? It is rated at 10A and has a standard prong plug, so can't I just make this another 15A circuit? (The washer will be by itself on this circuit.)

* I plan to cap all circuits using old wiring at 15A. Some of them are currently on 20A, but just to be safe... does this make sense or am I being an idiot? Those circuits don't need to be 20A anyway, from what I can tell.

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...#ixzz3RxquBJHv
 
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Old 02-16-15, 09:07 PM
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I have a 240V window AC unit that says AMPS: 13.7 on it. I plan to run 10/3 wire and put this on its own 20A circuit... sound about right? (Edit: wait, should this be 10/2? Hm..)
12-2 on a 20 amp 2-pole breaker. White wire is remarked black or red (or any color but gray or green) using bands of tape or a felt tip marker.
What about the standard clothes washer circuit that I would now also like to replace... should that be 12/2 wire and a 20A breaker? It is rated at 10A and has a standard prong plug, so can't I just make this another 15A circuit? (The washer will be by itself on this circuit.)
20 amp is best. So long as you use a duplex receptacle it can be a 15 amp receptacle.
I plan to cap all circuits using old wiring at 15A. Some of them are currently on 20A, but just to be safe... does this make sense or am I being an idiot?
If you can disconnect them at both ends, cut as short as possible, and shove out of the box into the wall. Any remaining #14 that is in use must be on a 15 amp breaker. If mixed #12 and #14 it must be on a 15 amp breaker.
 
  #17  
Old 02-19-15, 03:26 PM
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Quick question guys. I am currently running some wiring for a new receptacle that is going to feed off of an existing circuit (tapping into a wire in the attic). I ran two lengths of 12/2 down from the attic to where the receptacle will go, but then a question hit me -- this new outlet only has one ground terminal, but obviously I have two ground wires here? Total newb question I am sure, but how to I properly ground this new receptacle? (Edit: the receptacle is one that is made entirely of plastic, by the way.)

Thanks!
 
  #18  
Old 02-19-15, 03:43 PM
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The two grounds will splice together and a short pigtail to the ground screw on the device.
 
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Old 02-19-15, 04:10 PM
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Duh... I swear I knew that. Thanks!
 
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Old 02-20-15, 08:33 PM
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I plan to cap all circuits using old wiring at 15A. Some of them are currently on 20A, but just to be safe... does this make sense or am I being an idiot?
If you can disconnect them at both ends, cut as short as possible, and shove out of the box into the wall. Any remaining #14 that is in use must be on a 15 amp breaker. If mixed #12 and #14 it must be on a 15 amp breaker.
I meant that I plan to put all existing circuits (those that will remain on old wiring) on 15A breakers when I transfer them to the new panel, regardless of whether or not they are currently on 15A or 20A breaker. There are some circuits in this house that are currently on 20A breakers on the Zinsco panel -- but I think that those circuits would be just fine on a 15A breaker. So that is what I plan to do... does that make sense?

In other news, finally got my first circuit run. It was the easy one, but I need to ease into things sometimes

Thanks!
 
  #21  
Old 03-06-15, 06:04 AM
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All my circuits are done for the most part. My end result was not as ambitious as my original plan, and I probably only ran about half the circuits I originally intended to. The others, I decided I just did not need or I just could not do.

There is one last circuit that I would really like to run, as I need to split a room AC unit off of that room's circuit (not enough capacity). The problem is, every possible location for this last new receptacle is on an outside wall, and I cannot get over there from the attic because the roof slopes downward to meet the wall on that side. I have tried crawling in the attic, and it is just too damn tight. Darn.

I am finishing things up with the circuits this weekend hopefully, and then will be able to focus on the meter/main project. If I see anything photo-worthy I will show you guys some of the finished work!

Thanks all.
 
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Old 03-06-15, 07:18 AM
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Good job. Let us know if you have any more questions.
 
  #23  
Old 03-06-15, 07:34 AM
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You might want to try drilling upward with a long flex bit and pull your cable downward. It can be a challenge but it can be done. Be sure not to drill through the roof sheathing.
 
  #24  
Old 03-06-15, 02:13 PM
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I felt like not taking some pictures was doing you guys a disservice, so here ya go. Thanks for all the help along the way! (Not completely done here, but just about.)


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Sorry Mr. AC, you cannot borrow my dryers circuit any longer. I have a new one for you
(I decided that the dryer circuit was fine with the AC disconnected... and that would've been a lot of 10/3 to rerun!)

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Two new receptacles on a new circuit. This is a shared wall between two rooms, so I ran a drop to one receptacle and spliced the other one over with a small piece of 12/2. (All new circuits/receptacles are 20A.)

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Getting ready to bring all those new circuits down in one fell swoop!

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Just a shot of part of the attic... talk about a tight crawl space! (That pipe is 1 to 1.5", for reference.)
 
  #25  
Old 03-07-15, 07:07 AM
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(All new circuits/receptacles are 20A.)
It's always nice when a project comes together. I have only one question. Why did you use 20 amp duplex receptacles?
 
  #26  
Old 03-07-15, 07:52 AM
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Hey CasualJoe. My rationale on the 20As was to put 1-2 in reach from all points in the house, to be designated as the 'heavy load' outlets. My girlfriend and I often throw breakers here because the old circuits were designed by monkeys, apparently (the front bedroom shares a circuit with half of the living room and half of the garage, for example). Instead of overhauling the circuits, I figured adding some designated 'heavy loaders' would A) take the strain off of other (15A) circuits and prevent breakers from tripping, and B) offer us some scattered 20A capacity, should we need that for heating or cooling (no central HVAC here).

It was also a matter of keeping it simple: Besides the dedicated Washer circuit, the dedicated Dryer circuit, and the dedicated AC circuit, all I had to do was run a final 20A circuit with a few scattered 20A receptacles -- now all of my appliances are going to be on approved circuits, and (hopefully) we won't be tripping breakers as much either.

This was just my thought process, but I realize that it might have a hole or two in it. Feel free to point those out guys, so I will learn / not kill myself!

Also, one more question. All but one of my new 20A receptacles is 'end of line' because I used mostly star-pattern wiring, and I wired them using the method on the right below. Is this ok, or did I need to pigtail these as well (like they did on the left) ?

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Old 03-07-15, 08:05 AM
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On end of the run the ground can be terminated at the receptacle unless it is a metal box. If metal box the ground needs to be pigtailed to the receptacle and the box. So long as you use a duplex receptacle there is no need to use a a 20 amp receptacle on a 20 amp circuit (in the U.S.).
 
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Old 03-07-15, 08:14 AM
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All but one of my new 20A receptacles is 'end of line' because I used mostly star-pattern wiring, and I wired them using the method on the right below. Is this ok, or did I need to pigtail these as well (like they did on the left) ?
That's fine as long as any metal boxes are also grounded. No ground to box required if you have plastic boxes.

I only asked about the receptacles because 20A duplex receptacles are not required on a 20A circuit, just 15A. I have nothing in my home or garage that requires a 20A receptacle and cannot even think of any appliances or anything else that might require them except possibly for some power tools or larger air compressors that might have a 20A plug on them. Many commercial high speed copy machines require a 20A receptacle in a lot of offices. Other than copy machines, I can't think of a need for a 20A device in an office either although I do like to use them in commercial offices.
 
  #29  
Old 03-07-15, 08:31 AM
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Yea, I may not ever need to plug a 20A appliance into these. We only have one 20A appliance in this whole house, the main window AC unit, but that is 220V so does not really apply. Hey... they are there if I ever need them though. Oh and all new outlet boxes are plastic, so grounding is sufficient!

In other news, I have just appended some new tasks to this project. The kitchen and bathroom each have a regular outlet that I think needs to be GFCI. This is pretty straightforward for the kitchen, but the bathroom... well, see images below.

Honestly I think I can figure this out myself, but I might need to check with you guys on the bathroom as that wiring is a bit complicated from what I recall being behind that face plate.

EDIT: I guess I should start a new thread?

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  #30  
Old 03-07-15, 12:41 PM
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Any kitchen receptacles that serve the countertop require gfi protection.

Any receptacles in the bathroom require gfi protection. The receptacle should be within 3' of the edge of the sink.
 
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Old 03-14-15, 06:15 PM
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The kitchen outlet is now GFCI protected, and that was pretty easy. The bathroom is a bit more complicated, because I don't fully understand how they have everything connected behind there. There are lots if wires spliced together that make no sense being that way (to my untrained eye).

I am wondering now about simply using GFCI breakers to protect the whole circuit. I am in the process of upgrading the breaker panel, and if it is just as easy then I will simply protect the entire circuit at the breaker and keep the regular receptacles.

I am wondering though, is there anything special about GFCI or AFCI circuits themselves (e.g. wiring) or the way they connect at the panel? I would like to use both GFCI and AFCI breakers in my new setup, but I am not sure if it is just as simple as a fancier breaker by itself.
 
  #32  
Old 03-14-15, 06:39 PM
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An AFCI or GFI breaker has a neutral pigtail that goes to the bus. The circuit neutral connects to the breaker,
 
  #33  
Old 03-14-15, 06:47 PM
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So the little pigtail below just needs to be connected to the bus, and everything else is basically the same? If so, that sounds simple enough.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]47988[/ATTACH]
 
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  #34  
Old 03-14-15, 06:51 PM
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Note: The new panel you are installing has a neutral bar the breakers snap too so the AFCI and GFCI will not have pigtails. You need to be sure to get the correct one for your panel. (Unless you change your mind about the panel.)
Panel: http://www.homedepot.com/p/Square-D-...RBVP/204836368

What I like about the panel since we are talking about AFCI is:
Includes a fully distributed neutral bar, allowing for the installation of Homeline Plug-on Neutral combination arc fault breakers on any space
That makes installation easier and a bit more foolproof then traditional panels.
See: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...ml#post2397391
 
  #35  
Old 03-14-15, 07:48 PM
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Ray is right, the plug-on neutral AFCI and GFCI breakers don't have the white pigtails, they don't need them. The last time I was in a Lowes store near here I noticed they are stocking the Square D plug-on neutral panels and breakers in both QO and Homeline and the dual function AFCI/GFCI breakers too (with the purple test buttons). Cutler-Hammer was the first to come out with a plug-on neutral panel, but they aren't stocked in that store as far as I know. I guess Square D has a better salesman.
 
  #36  
Old 03-15-15, 08:16 AM
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Perfect, thanks for the clarification guys. So it sounds like I should be able to pretty easily protect any circuits with AFCI or GFCI using breakers instead of receptacles (once I get the new panel project wrapped up).

I guess that totally wraps up this thread -- thanks for getting me there, everyone! With your help, I ran four new 12-2 / 20A circuits with new receptacles; spliced a new receptacle onto an existing circuit; put in a GFCI outlet (easy peasy); and figured out how I am going to (eventually) protect my entire home with AFCI or GFCI!

...Not much, but for someone like me who has never done anything like this we have come a long way

Thanks again, and I will see you on my other thread!
 
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