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nyrrule27

join:2007-12-06
Howell, NJ

House rewire - How many circuits

I bought the house about 2 years ago> Basement is unfinished. There is some old aluminum wiring and some odd circuits. I'm gonna rewire everything since the basement is open but im getting and reading conflicting info about how to rewire. Should each rooms outlets be on their own circuit, can i put multiple rooms on 1 circuit. and then what about the lights. I know the bathroom should be on its own circuit (and i also know mine isn't). And then what about appliances. Should each be on its own breaker. Its only 3 bedrooms and 1 bath.

If anyone can help with advice it would appreciated.



cdru
Go Colts
Premium,MVM
join:2003-05-14
Fort Wayne, IN
kudos:7

1 recommendation

If anyone can help with advice it would appreciated.

You're going to have to pull permit(s), and you're going to have it get it inspected. You need to get a copy of the code that is applicable in your area. The answers to all your questions will be in there.

The answers to almost all your questions are maybe, possibly, it depends, it could, probably not, yes, and no, but not necessarily in that order.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to nyrrule27

That's quite a thread for Nunya and Whizkid.

But first of all: No, each outlet doesn't need to be on its own circuit. That would be insane, especially when you need to have 1 outlet every 6 feet of wall. My basement renovation project required 17 outlets (1 every 6 feet) That would be insane to have 17 circuits.

I can't imagine too many rooms in a basement, meaning 1 circuit per room shouldn't overcrowd your electrical box and cost much in breakers. It's a matter of convenience I guess.

My basement reno has 17 receptacles, as I mentionned already. However, it's all ONE room, so I split it in 5 circuits, so that no matter where my theater system is located, it won't share the same circuit from an outlet on the other side, where someone might plug in a portable humidifier, or a power tool.

As for the appliances, again, it depends which.
Sump pump - Dedicated
Fridge/freezer - You SHOULD (but in the basement I can imagine they don't necessarely remain at the same locations forever).
Central vacuum - Dedicated
Furnace - Dedicated
Humidifier - If large and fixed, dedicated
I can't think of other appliances in the basement


nyrrule27

join:2007-12-06
Howell, NJ

i meant each rooms outlets (4 outlets in each room on its own breaker or the 3 bedrooms outlets on 1 breaker)

and im not talking about the outlets for the basement at this oint..im talking about the regular part of the house. my coments about the basement being unfinhsied was to advise the basement was open to make it easier to wire the first floor



alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

Oh then in that case, unless you're tripping breakers (overloading circuits) I wouldn't touch anything.

With the aluminum wiring, you need to take so many precautions when splicing it that you're more likely to cause fire hazards than likely to reduce fire hazards.

My house was built in 1964. There are odd circuits as well, such as the kitchen lights being part of the living room circuit, or bedrooms with half the receptacles being on one circuit, and the other half on another circuit.

To rewire it requires more than just access to underneath. You probably have wires going in the ceiling of the floor above, and in the walls which you can't just "replace" (Hence why you'd have to keep some of the aluminum wiring and splicing it with copper).

I'm lucky though, my house is all copper.



cowboyro
Premium
join:2000-10-11
Shelton, CT
reply to nyrrule27

Not all appliances should be on their own circuit. A notable example are refrigerators and wired fire alarms.
You want those on a circuit with frequently used lights, so that if the breaker trips you will know immediately.



davidg
Good Bye My Friend
Premium,MVM
join:2002-06-15
none
reply to cdru

said by cdru:

If anyone can help with advice it would appreciated.

You're going to have to pull permit(s), and you're going to have it get it inspected. You need to get a copy of the code that is applicable in your area. The answers to all your questions will be in there.

The answers to almost all your questions are maybe, possibly, it depends, it could, probably not, yes, and no, but not necessarily in that order.

THIS is the best advice you can get here at this stage fo the game.
--
Lack of Preparation on YOUR Part does NOT Constitute an Emergency on Mine!

Mr Matt

join:2008-01-29
Eustis, FL
kudos:1
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reply to nyrrule27

Check with the building department to determine which version of the NEC that they are enforcing related to Arc Fault Interrupters. The code originally required that AFCI's were required for all circuits serving outlets in bedrooms but that was recently expanded to require AFCI's on other outlets in other locations. Some electricians criticize that requirement because they have to install larger panels since there are no double AFCI's that will fit into double breaker slots.

Edit: By the way instead of paying $3.50 for a 15 Amp circuit breaker plan on paying about $35.00 for a 15 Amp AFCI.



nunya
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join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
kudos:12
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reply to nyrrule27

I get bashed for saying this, but I'll say it anyway:
Based on the questions you are asking, this project is probably outside of your scope.
Re-wiring a house is not a light task. If you are not familiar with code requirements for wiring a house, you need to be. Or, you need to hire someone willing to guide you through the process.
Code requirements have changed drastically in the last 15 years. Keep in mind that "meeting code" just means you are doing the minimum to get by.
There are way too many unknown variables for you to get reasonable answers on an internet forum.
Your first stop should be with the city or county (or even state) to advise you on the permitting and code requirements for your area.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.


nyrrule27

join:2007-12-06
Howell, NJ

My wife's step father is an electrician as I have a friend who is familiar with the codes that will be helping me. So I'm not doing it myself. I just keep getting different info. Ie 2 circuit for each room. 1 for lights and 1 for outlet. Or putting the bedroom outlets on its own circuit and the bedroom lights on another circuit.


JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5

FWIW this is my take on the 1 circuit and 2 circuit per room suggestion. The suggestion of 1 circuit per room means all lights and outlets in the room are on one circuit breaker. You can turn off that one breaker and KNOW that all power to that room is (should be) off. Doing two circuits means the outlets on one circuit and the lights on another.

Each room doesn't have to have a dedicated lighting circuit, you could have a single lighting circuit for all 3 bedrooms (assuming code allows this, don't know if it matters). This has the advantage of not leaving you in the dark if you need to kill power to work on the outlet circuit (or vice versa with the use of a lamp if working on the lighting circuit).

How many circuits you need for lighting, if not specified by code, will depend on how much lighting you plan to run. With three bedrooms, if you had just a basic fixture up there with a 100W incandescent in each, you could get by with a single circuit potentially. This will greatly depend on just what you plan to put up there (and any fans too).



nunya
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join:2000-12-23
O Fallon, MO
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reply to nyrrule27

If they can't give you the answers you need, you need to call on someone else to help you. Probably someone who is currently licensed in your location.
I know a lot of electricians. Believe it or not, many of my customers are retired electricians. They worked in a factory somewhere their entire career and just did whatever their boss told them. They have no clue when it comes to residential requirements.
There's a big difference between an electrician, and a "licensed" electrician. By licensed, I don't mean a union card or trade school certification. I mean licensed, bonded, and insured to operate in your municipality (state, county, city). This person will be proficient with the code requirements in your particular nook.

Your questions are too vague to answer with certainty. The only thing I can tell you is that almost Everywhere, USA, all bedroom "outlets" are required to be AFCI protected. Outlet = receptacles, lights, smoke detectors, etc... - everything.
--
If someone refers to herself / himself as a "guru", they probably aren't.



LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
reply to nyrrule27

As usual, Nunya's right on...

Being an Internet forum, people from all over read and post here... I can tell you about the Ontario code requirements; Alkizmo is in Quebec, and I'm sure most states are represented in one way or another... None of that does you a lick of good, unless someone from your county or state is among us...

There can be unique variations - some of the things that are common in the US NEC are violations under Canadian code, and I'm sure vice versa, as well...

That said, good practice is to separate lighting and receptacles when possible... High draw items (fridge, microwave, washer, deep freeze, etc) are good to be on separate circuits, even if it isn't a specific code requirement... Arc faults can be a pain in the ass for nuisance trips, plus they are expensive - use them only when/where code dictates.

If your expert help doesn't know the answers to your questions, you may need better experts... No offence intended to your step-FiL, or your buddy.


RayGeode

join:2004-07-21
Norwalk, CT
reply to cowboyro

said by cowboyro:

Not all appliances should be on their own circuit. A notable example are refrigerators and wired fire alarms. you want those on a circuit with frequently used lights, so that if the breaker trips you will know immediately.

So that's why. I run a microwave toaster and coffeemaker from outlets on the same circuit as the refrigerator. I have a plan to separate the 3 outlets from the ref circuit and now i know to make a provision for that. Thanks.
( Sorry to hijack, separate thread is overkill )
i have removed the dishwasher and so have an unused circuit which i can feed the aforementioned 3 devices. I can't see a problem with this. thoughts? thanks


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to LazMan

To be fair to OP, I think he's just asking suggestions as to what is more "useful" while his father in law handles following the code.

For example, you could have a licensed electrician come to your home to redo the wiring (up to code) but then from our suggestions, the OP would ask for extras, like more than one circuit per bedroom, a dedicated circuit for XYZ appliances (That don't require it).



Jack_in_VA
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join:2007-11-26
North, VA
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reply to nyrrule27

said by nyrrule27:

My wife's step father is an electrician as I have a friend who is familiar with the codes that will be helping me. So I'm not doing it myself. I just keep getting different info. Ie 2 circuit for each room. 1 for lights and 1 for outlet. Or putting the bedroom outlets on its own circuit and the bedroom lights on another circuit.

I assume he meets this criteria?

licensed, bonded, and insured to operate in your municipality (state, county, city). This person will be proficient with the code requirements in your particular nook. stolen from nunya)

If you have to ask questions as to how to do electrical wiring on an internet forum then you should not even be thinking about doing any electrical work.

garys_2k
Premium
join:2004-05-07
Farmington, MI
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reply to nyrrule27

The reason that outlets and overhead lights are on different circuits is that if you pop an outlet breaker you're not left in the dark. This is especially good if it's a bedroom on an AFCI breaker. If this sounds like a good thing to you then you should do it.


rcilink
Premium
join:2003-12-15
Manchester, NH

1 recommendation

reply to nyrrule27

Is the house a ranch-style? Can you access above the living space (attic?) as well as below?

Make sure you have enough time (and money!) to get the job done! It took me 12 days to get this 3 bedroom ranch re-wired.

When we bought our house many years ago, I did a full re-wire. The house was built in 1959. Not only new wiring, but all new switches and receptacles. I am not an electrician, but where I live, homeowners are allowed to do electrical without permit and inspection as long as it is their own home. (upgrading to 200A service needed an inspection of the meter socket + feeder to breaker box, but that's it).

My main objective was to replace all the old, ungrounded wiring with new 15A or 20A wiring. put in two ground rods, 200A service upgrade and a crapload of wire.

As for the decision on how to setup the circuits for bedrooms, etc. I did this:

Each bedroom is on a single circuit. Each bedroom wall has one plug per wall and a lightswitch to operate a ceiling light fixture.

The full bathroom has a 20A GFCI outlet near sink. (half bath has a separate 20A GFCI outlet).

The living room has one circuit for all outlets (4), one outlet (half) switched.

The dining room has two outlets. These are on one circuit.

I put the kitchen light, dining room light, both bathroom lights, hall light and fire alarm on a circuit.

Kitchen outlets: counter outlets are all on individual 20A GFCI circuits. Near 'nook' in kitchen area, I also replaced with a 20A outlet (not GFCI). I did this in case crock pot or something is in use while kitchen is in use. Kitchen stove is upgraded to 50A heavy wire. (was cheap for me, kitchen just above breaker panel).

Dishwasher is on a 20A dedicated circuit. Microwave is on a 15A dedicated circuit. (it is an over-the-range microwave).

I re-wired outside lamp-post to be on a dedicated circuit (with a timer). Also replaced outside wiring to lamp post, as it was cut into. (It is now in a conduit).

Garage and connecting "sun room" have circuits. Garage has a 20A GFCI with one extension plug (protected). Garage lighting + sunroom lighting on 15A circuit. Sunroom outlets are on 20A GFCI (one + 2 protected outlets)

Basement:
Boiler is on a dedicated 15A circuit. Washing machine is a 15A circuit. Basement outlets (currently 3 total) are on a circuit. Lights in basement are on one circuit. (this could be tied-in to another lighting circuit if I needed to free-up a breaker).

I may have missed something, but I feel it was worth the 12 days of figuring out how to snake new wire into impossible existing outlet boxes. The hardest part was getting the wire in without making a mess.

We also decided to upgrade to a larger panel, so we combined efforts and made it a 200A service upgrade with a larger panel at the same time.

Now, I am not saying this is "the answer" for you. This is just an example of how we decided to handle a similar situation. I know that I sleep better now, knowing that the crazy "zip-cord" I pulled-out of the basement is gone and all of the hacks are out. Also, having a "known good" ground (I used the 'inspector tester' to circuit-test each outlet for proper wiring) is a good thing.



alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1

said by rcilink:

I know that I sleep better now, knowing that the crazy "zip-cord" I pulled-out of the basement is gone

What?
Do you mean the romex without ground, or you actually had speaker wire/DC wire in there?


Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
reply to rcilink

NM


rcilink
Premium
join:2003-12-15
Manchester, NH

1 edit
reply to alkizmo

Click for full size
said by alkizmo:

said by rcilink:

I know that I sleep better now, knowing that the crazy "zip-cord" I pulled-out of the basement is gone

What?
Do you mean the romex without ground, or you actually had speaker wire/DC wire in there?

Yes, someone had wired-in some funky lighting in the basement using some type of old lamp cord. (this was above the drop ceiling, of course!)

I left the multi-switch plate in place (it is not hooked to anything now). Here is a pic of it (attached)
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