basement electrical code questions

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Old 07-25-20, 07:19 PM
J
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basement electrical code questions

Hello all, I just recently finished my basement with my dad (no permit - I have learned my lesson!) and had a few questions about possibly having it retroactively permitted. I have a concern I am afraid they could possibly think is an issue and want me to rip out.

my dad did the wiring. He is one of those old guys who has been a contractor all his life doing exterior house work but is extremely handy. He has finished basements for several family members over the past 30 years and messed with plenty of electrical boxes.

The basement is about 1500’sq ft and has a bathroom and several different bedrooms/random usage rooms and a common area. We used GFCI/AFCI for all the breakers and the appropriate tamper resistant plugs with ground.

my concern is that he loaded up 2 different 15 amp breakers. One has 20 dual receptacles and 3 led canned lights (wet bar area that we added last minute) and the other has 20 dual receptacles and a small ceiling fan in the bedroom. The bathroom is on its own 20 amp and the main ceiling lights (24 total) are split on two different 15 amps.

according to the NEC, this does not violate code to my understanding as they say their is no limit on the amount of plugs run to each breaker. However I know that many people say you should only use 8-10 max for 15 amp.

assuming all else is correct, do you think an inspector would fail this?

 
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Old 07-25-20, 07:44 PM
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Did you take any pictures showing wiring during the remodel?
If so, you will have better chance of passing inspection.

If your work is clean and done to the code, the inspector probably won't make you tear up to the wall, but that is up to the inspector.
 
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Old 07-25-20, 08:06 PM
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You have 40 receptacles in your basement ?
 
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Old 07-25-20, 09:11 PM
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Thanks for the responses. I did not take any pictures however I have an unfinished portion for storage that has the back side of the bedroom wall, tv room wall and a wall that is in the open common area. So they can see the wiring on the backside of those walls.

yes I have 40 plugs. It is a lot of real estate. Bedroom, bathroom, workout room, tv toom, storage/work room and a large common area. My tv room also has a plug in the ceiling for the projector and I put two plugs up high on the wall over where I was going to put in a wet bar and a couple TVs.

i just wanted to make sure it’s ok to have those 20 receptacles on 1 15 amp breaker 😬
 
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Old 07-25-20, 09:43 PM
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i just wanted to make sure it’s ok to have those 20 receptacles on 1 15 amp breaker
There is no maximum stated in the code.
Personal rule of thumb is 10 receptacles on 15A and 12-15 on a 20A circuit.

Circuits are supposed to be run based on anticipated loads. Since you only have 15A per circuit.... that is your maximum. You'll need to be careful not to overload it as you'll be constantly resetting the breaker.

Having a wall with one side open where the wiring can be seen is a good thing. Make sure the wiring is properly fastened. Inspectors follow the NEC code but many have particular quirks. Based on what I've seen with home owner wiring..... the inspector likes to see the ground connections. It is possible that the inspector will require you to power down the circuits and allow all the devices to hang outside the box so he can see the connections. I would doubt he would require any wiring to be re-run or walls to be opened.
 
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Old 07-25-20, 10:02 PM
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Did he run a separate 20 amp circuit for the bathroom only. That is a code requirement.
 
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Old 07-25-20, 10:06 PM
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Yes.... he said bathroom on it's own 20A and the ceiling lights on two additional 15A circuits.
 
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Old 07-26-20, 05:47 AM
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Thank you all. Looks like I should be good to go then. When I brought up the concern with my dad he kept saying “you are crazy no one ever uses all the plugs and specifically at the same time.” But I just shake my head because like I said I have a nice home theater system set up with a sub that’s rated to reach 500w on its own. Plus most of it is carpet so people will be using vacuum sweepers.

honestly we are thinking of selling in the near future because we don’t like the area and when/if I do next basement it will be done by exact code.

i have this irrational (?) fear that if I don’t get it permitted and down the line someone overloads the breaker and it catches fire and someone is injured that I will liable because even though done to code, it was not permitted.
 
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Old 07-26-20, 03:39 PM
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Even if the basement catches fire due to poor wiring you are still liable. Just because you pulled a permit and it was inspected does not get you off the hook entirely, even if the inspector missed something.

Just for fun, post a picture or two of the exposed wiring so we can see it. I have seen many wiring jobs done by guys in the construction trade who think they know what they are doing because "it works" but it is not to code.


Other note: All receptacles in basements, finished or not, are required to be GFCI protected and well as AFCI protected per 2020 NEC. Be sure to check what code your state is on.
 
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