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ELECTRICAL (How much is too much)

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Jan 16, 2014, 12:59 PM
ELECTRICAL (How much is too much)
I am in the wiring phase of my garage one bedroom apartment. The majority of four rooms will just have a ceiling light or a ceiling light/fan combo. Just enough recepticles to run basic table lamps, radio, television. The exception will be the kitchen which I will run a seperate circuit for fridge, microwave, range and possible counter recepticles for other appliances. The bathroom will have a exhaust fan/light and additional vanity light.

My question is this. What is the exceptable way to wire. Rooms on one circuit? All lights on seperate circuit, recepticles seperate, lights and recepticles on one circuit? I had always heard that it is best to run recepticles seperate from lights so if you have a problem with lightsthat you still have the other recepticles to run lights to make the necessary repairs. Just looking for a little guidance. Smile

This message has been edited. Last edited by: redoverfarm,
Jan 16, 2014, 01:16 PM
I am not a licensed electrician, but I read code twice.

you are supposed to have a separate circuit for the fridge, and a separate circuit for an electric range. a dishwasher and a in-sink disposer are two other "separate circuit" requirements.

not likely you would ever have a party with a buffet spread of crock pots and microwave going, but that would be a really good reason to have kitchen outlets wired with multiple circuits, perhaps alternating red/black phase between outlets so the chances of plugging an overload in on one nearby circuit are reduced.

I forget the number of devices that can be put on a single circuit, but it's at or near 15. don't forget that arc-fault is required in bedrooms, and I just learned on a home inspector blog that the code now states basically all replacement outlets not requiring GFCI protection must be arc-fault protected. might as well get on the bandwagon now.

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Jan 16, 2014, 02:19 PM
Answered your post at HGTV. I believe SWS is correct on two circuits for the counters vs the one I listed over there. Good point on the arc-faults.

General Disclaimer

Any advice given here is general in nature and is not necessarily valid for your given area. If in doubt check with your local codes enforcement department for what is required when doing electrical, plumbing or structural work on your house. Permits may or may not be required in your area and home owners may not be able to DIY some tasks. I have no way of knowing if you have the skills needed to complete the tasks you are asking about, when in doubt seek professional assistance.

My advice may be worth exactly what you pay me for it. :-) For the record I did not stay in a Holiday Inn Express last night.
Jan 16, 2014, 05:11 PM
this, by the way, was the blog post that first told me about the new arc-fault protection requirements...

sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Jan 16, 2014, 09:26 PM
Those kitchen counter outlets {2 circuits minimum, GFCI protected} must be rated for a 20 amp circuit, by the way. {Even if it is a small counter area requiring only 2 outlets, per code}. And a general purpose outlet circuit as well in the kitchen, if needed by the size of the room. ALL outlets tamper proof as well. As well as what you have listed in your OP.
The lighting issue must be tackled by running the numbers on all the fixtures to be installed. Say that circuit is a 20 amp sized, 12/2 Romex. Taking the wattage of each fixture, dividing by 120 {volts} will provide the amperage draw of each device. Tally those numbers up till you hit the magic #16 {amps}. That satisfies the NEC 80% rule. That would be the allowable amount of fixtures allowed on one lighting circuit. Should not be a problem on a small apartment. But if you trip the breaker {you should not using the 80%} you lose all lighting. So if it is close you may want 2 lighting circuits. Just a heads up though. Lighting circuits must be AFCI protected.
NEC covering the USA does not limit receptacles per circuit to a certain number. {Canada does though}. Having said that 15 receptacles per circuit is not a number I have ever neared. I limit my receptacle to a maximum of 8. But that is just me. Those outlets, bedrooms living space, dining rooms must be tamper proof, AFCI protected as well.
The bathroom need a GFCI, per NEC standards {tamper proof, again} but you can run one fixture, the vanity light is that allowable fixture. Makes sense when you think about it. The fan/light/night light{?} might be the fixture with the largest current draw so be careful if placed on the general lighting circuit. {80% rule again}.
Room receptacles can total more than one room per circuit. Say the bedroom and TV room can be placed on one circuit, saving Romex on one run, not two runs. The limiting factor would be how many receptacles you place on one circuit.
You may want to consider hard wired/ battery back up smoke alarms where needed, that are interconnected to each other as well. Not a NEC concern as they are prudent enough to stay away from those instillation guidelines. That is a local building code concern though. The NEC does dictate wiring methods for smoke alarms and rightly so.
Those guidelines stand out in my brainbox right now. And remember to apply for all permits needed. As these suggestions are per the NEC, local code officials can and will have the final say. Other suggestions will come to me, for sure. As well to you, so fire away and all on board will chip in. Good luck. Sounds like a great project on the real dog days of the calendar, January/February. Big Grin

This message has been edited. Last edited by: CommonwealthSparky,

Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...
Jan 21, 2014, 12:06 PM
Thanks everyone for your replies and input. Yes Commonwealth Sparky it is ideal project for the winter time. Here is a PB site that shows the progression to date.
Jan 21, 2014, 02:15 PM
Congrats on the progress made. Top notch. Great idea to attach the link showing work. Think this would help many a poster to include more than one photo when posting a query.

Popeye only reached for the Spinach can as a last resort...