Need an outlet... Debating on approach

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Old 07-21-15, 12:16 PM
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Need an outlet... Debating on approach

So I just bought this freezer : GE 7 cu ft chest freezer

I put it in the basement of my expanded cape home. Previous owner had a circuit labeld basement refrigerator' and I confirmed that he DID have a fridge near where I put my new freezer.

Here is the catch. I see the outlet for that circuit. Its mounted on a cleat on the foundation wall, and the (gas) dryer is connected to it (late 90s Maytag dryter). Also, I see a wire leaving the wiring box going to point unknown (I havent been able to track what else could be connected. I think something upstairs--likely in the kitchen).

So, I know (just based on cord length) I need to put an outlet near the new freezer location. The question is: do I just piggy back off the existing outlet (labeled 'basement refrigerator') or do I need to run a new circuit?

While I'm comfortable pulling cable and wiring outlets, I am not as comfortable working in the electric panel itself. I'd need some serious guidance if I go that route.

Worth noting:
GE states the following under the Q&A on that site:
"GE freezers (excluding international units) function at 115 VAC, 60 Hz and have approximately a 5 amp draw. Freezers typically draw extra current during start up (approximately 2 to 3 times). The freezer should be on a dedicated circuit. This is recommended for best performance and to prevent overloading house wiring circuits. The exact amps that an individual freezer draws is on the rating plate and should be checked if placing the freezer on a generator or other auxiliary power source"

I'm also wondering how this will affect my load calculation on my portable generator...
 
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Old 07-21-15, 12:32 PM
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Storage freezers don't use a lot of power but I've always kept them on their own circuit.
A 15A circuit is all that's needed.


I'm also wondering how this will affect my load calculation on my portable generator...
If you plan to run it on the generator then you will have to add it's requirements to the load calcs.
 
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Old 07-21-15, 08:34 PM
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even 'easy' isnt always...

So, I decided to add off the existing outlet. So, I knew there was a wire coming out of the existing box, but could not track down what it went to. I searched all over the house.

So, I trudged ahead. Pulling the outlet that I want to tap into proved more challenging than anticipated... I started but turning off the 20amp breaker at the panel. I confirmed the outlet was dead. I opened the outlet, and quickly learned that there was still power in there!

The only thing I can think of is that the BX cable coming in to the box is actually 240V, and it must be attached to two breakers at the panel, not ganged together? My theory is the previous owner did this to have dedicated 20amp 110V for dryer/fridge in basement, then using the other conductor off an additional 20amp breaker (yet to be confirmed) controls another dedicated 20amp outlet powering a thru-wall AC directly above this outlet (I can see the wire going to that general area).



Is this possible to do? Basically share the white neutral, use red for one outlet and black for a separate outlet--each on their own breaker? This make sense?

My question would be how to add an outlet to the one in the basement-- do I:
  1. disconnect the outlet
  2. add jumpers to connect red/white to the outlet
  3. splice in black/white of my new wire to the red/white existing splices?


OR do I just connect to the screws on the top of the outlet (assume its load side)?



Appreciate any and all advice! Thanks!
K

splice in to the white/black going to this
 
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Old 07-21-15, 09:34 PM
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Is this possible to do? Basically share the white neutral, use red for one outlet and black for a separate outlet--each on their own breaker?
It is called a multiwire circuit. Code requires the neutrals to be pigtailed. A new receptacle can be on either black or red plus the neutral. GFCIs are required in the basement if it is unfinished. GFCIs must be after the circuit is split into two circuits.
 
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Old 07-22-15, 07:47 AM
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OK. So this is a safe way of doing things. Existing outlet is not GFCI. Maybe I should replace that and then I would only need one GFCI (if I add the new wire to the load of the new GFCI?)

Unless that doesnt work because everything has to be pigtailed? Does the unfinished part of a 3/4 finished basement count as 'unfinished basement'? I assume it does...

Thanks for the reply!!!!
 
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Old 07-22-15, 08:56 PM
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Good news/bad news situation.

Good news: I was able to get this thing wired up! I connected red to new GFI, white pigtailed to white to the other circuit and the white on the line in from breaker panel.

I connected my NEW outlet to the LOAD screws on the GFI. Ground was bonded together with a pigtail and a green grounding cap.

Everythings happy now--though I did make a big error. I (in an effort to maintain basement aesthetics, lined up the new outlet at the same chest-height as the one I tapped off of. The problem? My freezer's cord is JUUUUUST a little too short. I know. Newbie error. So mad at myself.

Now I am wondering if I can plug the freezer into a power strip/surge protector? Any recommendations? I know there are 'appliance' extension cords, but I am loath to use one long term. At least with a power strip, if there is a surge protector, I feel like there is some benefit...
 
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Old 07-22-15, 10:14 PM
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I would curse the thing and then lower the receptacle. According to Westom (a member that only posts about surge arrestors) the surge arresting plug strips are useless. I don't agree with him and neither do any other members that I have read.
 
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Old 07-23-15, 07:11 AM
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Furd... Thats what I *should* do, for sure. But the box the original receptacle was in was sooooo tight with the new GFCI--It was a nightmare to tuck the wires... REEEEEEEEEAAAAAALLLLYYYYY dont want to open it up again. I might just add another box, lower down and leave the too-high box as a junction and run a short wire down to the new one instead.

Is there any value in putting the freezer on a surge protector at all? You mentioned that one poster says no--but you disagree?

Are there specific specs I should look for in terms of an 'appliance' surge protector vs home theatre one?

And/or are the heavy duty appliance extension cords OK for permanent use? I think not--am I mistaken? Something like this: Appliance Extension Cord
 
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Old 07-23-15, 07:37 AM
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As to the surge protector, low price and UL listing. In that class of protectors there is little difference between the basic ones and the fancy brand names as long as they meet the basic UL listing standard. They do provide some protection, but think of it more as a last resort than front line protection. Same story for the home theater ones vs. appliance ones -- they're all the same sacrificial MOVs on the inside. One feature that is useful is the "protection active" LED as this type of protector is essentially single use. You need to know when to replace it.

Heavier cords are better than thinner cords, but none are intended for permanent use.
 
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Old 07-23-15, 08:12 AM
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My understanding is that surge protectors ARE inteded for permanent use (see where I am going here?) So, if I bought a surge protector/power strip on a 1 ft cord, I win!

I would have some slack in my freezer power cable... AND a bit of protection in case there is a power spike (admittedly, this is more of a value-add as opposed to a requirement. I spent $150 for the freezer, so I wont cry too long if it did get fried someday)


I just want to buy something that wont catch fire on me

So, I just look for a regular old power strip and plug the freezer in it, so long as its UL listed? Something like this? Tripp-Lite Power Strip

Or is something like this more appropriate? Metal Power Strip

Thanks for all the replies! I love this site!
 
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Old 07-27-15, 12:32 PM
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not sure if I should start a new thread about the surge protector / power strip question...

Any advice would be appreciated
 
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Old 07-27-15, 01:48 PM
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Yes start a new thread. Less confusion.
 
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