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Old 11-28-2012, 07:13 PM   #1
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


Hi All,

I'm to the point where I can start to run wire for my outlets. I've been doing some reading and what I see is that if you want to spend the extra money, install all 20 amp recepts on a 20 amp breaker. For 98% of the time, this will be over kill, I just don't want to run into an issue later if I want to put in a electric fireplace, etc.

Do you guys recommend spending a few extra bucks and do the whole basement in 20amp?

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Old 11-28-2012, 07:16 PM   #2
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


I doubt that you will find many items that need a 20 amp receptacle.

I would definitely install a 20 amp circuit.

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Old 11-28-2012, 07:16 PM   #3
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


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Originally Posted by Trucon01 View Post
Hi All,

I'm to the point where I can start to run wire for my outlets. I've been doing some reading and what I see is that if you want to spend the extra money, install all 20 amp recepts on a 20 amp breaker. For 98% of the time, this will be over kill, I just don't want to run into an issue later if I want to put in a electric fireplace, etc.

Do you guys recommend spending a few extra bucks and do the whole basement in 20amp?
I wouldn't, but this debate is going to be a long one... Just do what you want/feel is adequate for you. Personally, you are much better off just running two 15 amp circuits than one 20 amp circuit....
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:16 PM   #4
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


Most electric fireplaces I have seen have required their own circuit, especially if they have a heater. I would much rather have 2 15A circuits than 1 20 A circuit.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:18 PM   #5
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


Most folks will not use 20 amp outlets, but my recommendation is to always use a 20 amp circuit (#12 wire) if you can swing it. Then use 15 amp receptacles (as they're cheaper) and receptacles are easy to switch out. When you run into a situation requiring a 20 amp receptacle, just switch out the receptacle in question. But if you're considering adding an electric fireplace I would wire a dedicated circuit for that (if you know where it might go.)
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:20 PM   #6
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


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Most folks will not use 20 amp outlets, but my recommendation is to always use a 20 amp circuit (#12 wire) if you can swing it. Then use 15 amp receptacles (as they're cheaper) and receptacles are easy to switch out. When you run into a situation requiring a 20 amp receptacle, just switch out the receptacle in question.
What good is swapping out the receptacle when the circuit is most likely going to be overloaded at that point?
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:24 PM   #7
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


Thanks guys!!

I like the running 12-2 and using 15a recepts until I actually need a 20a idea... However, if running 2 separate 15a amps is the absolute best way, I may just do that.

Is one preferred over the other?
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:27 PM   #8
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


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What good is swapping out the receptacle when the circuit is most likely going to be overloaded at that point?
If that likelihood exists then the OP can do as you suggested and run multiple circuits at the start (especially a dedicated receptacle where an electric fireplace might be.)
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:29 PM   #9
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


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Originally Posted by Trucon01 View Post
Thanks guys!!

I like the running 12-2 and using 15a recepts until I actually need a 20a idea... However, if running 2 separate 15a amps is the absolute best way, I may just do that.

Is one preferred over the other?
You will never need a 20 amp receptacle, I've been in the trade a long time, and have only seen a handful of 20 amp appliances, and at that point, they all required a dedicated circuit.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:37 PM   #10
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


Alrighty then...

So I'll just use 2 different circuits @ 15amps. Thanks for responding so quickly!
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:41 PM   #11
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


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Originally Posted by Trucon01 View Post
Thanks guys!!

I like the running 12-2 and using 15a recepts until I actually need a 20a idea... However, if running 2 separate 15a amps is the absolute best way, I may just do that.

Is one preferred over the other?
Can you swing 2 20A circuits? One approach is to "leapfrog" outlets; where every other outlet is on the same circuit. That coupled with a dedicated circuit for a fireplace would help prevent future issues.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:45 PM   #12
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


Here we go....

I'm not worried about the cost at this point. I want the best setup possible since everything is open. I want to do it right and have a tendency to over do things anyway. Eventually, I am going to keep this property as an investment house within the next 5 years or so, if that makes a difference.

Stickboy, you're up now!! yay or nah to this?
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:01 PM   #13
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


What is the space going to used for?


Do you know where the fireplace will sit now, or have to wait until the space is finished?

As always local code will apply.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:04 PM   #14
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


It will just be used as another family room type area. TV's, audio receiver, lamps, laptop, ipads, etc.

I don't know where the fireplace will be or if I will even put one in. It was just a possibility and wanted to cover all my bases.
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Old 11-28-2012, 08:07 PM   #15
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15 or 20amp for basement finishing


2 15 A circuits
Tamper Resistant Receptacles
AFCI breakers
Smoke/CO Detector

As for the electric fireplace, its either going to be just fine on a 15 A circuit, or its going to have a heating element and require its own circuit. If you know where the fireplace is going to sit, run a dedicated 20A circuit to that spot. If you don't know where it is going to sit, run it when you get it.

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