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ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA

Electrical Layout in a home

Two quick questions...

First, how would you setup circuits in a home for your bedrooms? One for ceiling lights then separate for each bedroom's outlets? I am having to redo a couple of circuits in my house and currently some bedroom outlets are on circuits with other bedrooms and other rooms in the house. Trying to make things a little more logical.

Second question, is it ok by code to put a junction box above a drop ceiling? I think the answer is yes, just want to be sure.

JoelC707
Premium
join:2002-07-09
Lanett, AL
kudos:5
I've mentioned this before but my preferred method of bedroom circuits is separating the outlets and lights. Now, you don't necessarily need a dedicated lighting circuit per bedroom unless you're going to have a LOT of lights in there. Load calculations would be your friend here. I like the separation so if you need to do work on a circuit you can shut it off without leaving yourself in the dark (use lamps if you need to work on the lighting circuit).

As for the junction box, it needs to remain accessible. Given the tiles are (should be) easily movable in a drop ceiling, I don't see why you couldn't put one there. I'd let someone more knowledgeable on that chime in, but I believe it should be OK.


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
That was my theory on the bedrooms also.

Each bedroom has three outlets, each bedroom will get its own breaker for outlets then another breaker for the ceiling lights in all three rooms.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
reply to ropeguru
Depends on what you can do and what's more hassle than it is worth.

Light circuit being separate: Can you easily run the circuit to every bedroom's light switch and fixtures? If not, then maybe it's just simpler to extend the bedroom circuit to a light switch, then to the fixture.
Also the convenience of having the lights on a dedicated circuit is good if you gotta work often on the receptacles, but annoying if you gotta work on a fixture. Turning off power for changing one fixture = darkness in ALL bedrooms. Pro/cons.

1 circuit per bedroom: If you have plenty of breaker spaces free and can easily run several lines from the panel to each room, then you can consider it. However, consider also the cost of buying a AFCI breaker for each bedroom.

#receptacles per bedroom: There is a rule for the minimum number of receptacles per wall and per X feet of wall. You'll probably get more than 3 minimum.

Junction over drop ceiling: Technically, fixtures have junction boxes attached, so yeah you can. Exceptions to be mentioned by the pros if there are any.


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
Everything is already wired in a weired way. So you are saying that if I just want to rearrange, I will have to add outlets and change everything to AFCI?


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
said by ropeguru:

Everything is already wired in a weired way. So you are saying that if I just want to rearrange, I will have to add outlets and change everything to AFCI?

My bedrooms are on a shared neutral 3-wire, so i cant.
But if i could have both circuits split, i definitively go afci on those.

edit - And what do you mean "weird way"? And what do you expect to be able to do without fishing new wires?


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
Weird as in currently the outlets for one bedroom are on with the bathroom. Circuit foor bathroom come in from the attic and then the circuit drops to the basement to feed the bedroom outlets.

Plan was to pull wire from wall between bedroom outlets and bath, then bring in a new pull from breaker box and put in a junction box to tie the one bedroom's outlets to their own circuit.

This would allow new circuit for bedroom outlets and pput bath on its own. Which should be anyway.


leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
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reply to ropeguru
The idea behind separating light fixtures and general purpose outlets is that you don't end up in the dark when an overload or electrical problem trips the breaker.

While one lighting breaker may theoretically be sufficient for a small home (based on the 3 VA * square footage calculation in the NEC) this is equally problematic (a tripped breaker will turn the entire home dark). A better option is to have a minimum of two lighting breakers serving alternate rooms so that the lights in every 2nd room remain functional even if one breaker trips.
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ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
Not putting ALL ceiling lights on one breaker. Only the three bedrooms. Hall and other rooms are on different circuits.


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
reply to ropeguru
BTW... This is a home that was built in 1958 but has 12/2 with ground run through out.


LazMan
Premium
join:2003-03-26
canada
said by ropeguru:

BTW... This is a home that was built in 1958 but has 12/2 with ground run through out.

Unrelated to your lighting/layout question, but is it CU or AL? Timeframe is a little early for AL wiring, but 12/2 is normal for aluminium... If you're going to be mucking with the wiring, good to know.

I can't speak for VA codes, but in Canada, a box above a drop ceiling is considered accessible, and is code compliant.


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
Fortunately it is all copper... Only thing I do not like is it has a cloth outer cover that is starting to get a little brittle. If I get a chance, I will try and post the type that is written on it.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
It's been brittle for decades. Just don't mess with it.

My bathroom shares the same circuit as 1 and a half bedroom (you read that right). It's not an issue unless you are tripping a fuse/breaker frequently.

You seem to want to fix something that works already.

Speedy Petey

join:2008-01-19
said by alkizmo:

You seem to want to fix something that works already.

My thoughts exactly.

ropeguru, it's only weird because you think it's weird. There is nothing strange or out of the ordinary about your home.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to ropeguru
said by ropeguru:

Weird as in currently the outlets for one bedroom are on with the bathroom...Plan was to pull wire...This would allow new circuit for bedroom outlets and pput bath on its own. Which should be anyway.

I missed the part where the bath and bedroom on the same circuit were causing problems. Are you now having any problems with that circuit?


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
No problems. Would just like to have the bath own its own.


sk1939
Premium
join:2010-10-23
Mclean, VA
kudos:10
Could always run a new circuit just for the bathroom, and disconnect and abandon the old wire in place.

robbin
Premium,MVM
join:2000-09-21
Leander, TX
kudos:1
reply to ropeguru
OK -- just run a new circuit to the bath for one or two outlets. Leave everything else alone. Houses of that age didn't have much in the way of bath outlets normally anyways.


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
Will be easier to run new for bedroom.

Path of current wire is as follows:

Breaker panel up to attic, down into bathroom wall, out of bathroom wall into basement, then to bedroom outlets. Hence why I was just looking at tying in a new piece of 12/2 romex for the bedroom.

Breaker panel is in basement. Would abandon the run from the bathroom wall to the basement.


alkizmo

join:2007-06-25
Pierrefonds, QC
kudos:1
said by ropeguru:

Breaker panel is in basement. Would abandon the run from the bathroom wall to the basement.

Yeah, same idea, basically you just make sure the bathroom is on its own. Those hair dryers can pull a full 15A.


ropeguru
Premium
join:2001-01-25
Mechanicsville, VA
Yep...

At some point I will probably replace the entire run when I remodel the bath. Bring the circuit in from the basement instead of the attic as the wall design is cinder block with firing strips and plaster wall. Don't like the wire runs sitting loose between the two.