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Old 01-18-2010, 03:25 AM   #1
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Basement Electrical


I am finishing my basement and have two electrical issues/questions. I had the builder run a dedicated circuit to my basement when the house was built so that I would be able to run the electric down there on that circuit. He installed a 20 amp breaker and 12/2 wire. My question is do I have to install all 20amp outlets and 20 amp switches on that line or can I use standard 15 amp outlets and switches. The only thing that will be down there is a tv, some lamps, and a few recessed lights.

The second question is a code question. How many outlets/switches can I run on one 20 amp circuit?

Thanks in advance for your input.


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Old 01-18-2010, 06:07 AM   #2
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yes, 15 amp rated switches and outlets are allowed on a 20 amp circuit. But all wire needs to remain 12/2. you have 1600 watts on a 20 amp circuit available. Code requires 3 watts per square foot for this area. this is the real answer. But some areas use a 12 outlet rule per circuit. (Does not exist except by urban legend but I have seen inspectors go by this.)

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Old 01-18-2010, 06:38 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response. What do you mean when you say 3 watts per square foot for this area?
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:44 AM   #4
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say you have 900 sq ft basement. you are allowed 3 watts per foot. 900/3 = 300 So one circuit will be allowed. But the walls can be covered with plug mold. (continuous strips of outlets spaced 6" OC.) This would give you more than 12 but still be allowed for this area.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:50 AM   #5
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The approach to installing outlets is not based on what are inscribed minimums and/or maximums, but what is to be "convenient." They are called convenience outlets. Hence, consider what you need right now and anticipate what may be needed later. When I built my den office, I thought I planned all that could possibly be needed. Wrong! Over time, addition of equipment and gadgets forced me to add more "convenience outlets" along with lighting, telephone jacks, etc. The need for "Relocatable Power Taps" strewn over every household bolsters my argument.

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Old 01-18-2010, 06:56 AM   #6
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This approach is to explain maximum allowed on the available 12/2 20 amp circuit. Outlets when the walls are finished must be place by code. Basically at any point along a wall an outlet must be available within 6'
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Old 01-18-2010, 08:23 PM   #7
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210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets

(A)
General Provisions. In every kitchen, family room,

dining room, living room, parlor, library, den, sunroom,
bedroom, recreation room, or similar room or area of
dwelling units, receptacle outlets shall be installed in accordance
with the general provisions specified in 210.52(A)(1)
through (A)(3).
(1) Spacing. Receptacles shall be installed such that no

point measured horizontally along the floor line in any wall
space is more than (6 ft) from a receptacle outlet.
(2) Wall Space. As used in this section, a wall space shall

include the following:
(1) Any space
(2 ft) or more in width (including

space measured around comers) and unbroken along the
floor line by doorways, fireplaces, and similar openings
(2) The space occupied by fixed panels in exterior walls,
excluding sliding panels
(3) The space afforded by fixed room dividers such as freestanding
bar-type counters or railings
(3) Floor Receptacles.


Receptacle outlets in floors shall

not be counted as part of the required number of receptacle

outlets unless located within (18 in.) of the wall.
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Old 01-19-2010, 03:56 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Mariani View Post
say you have 900 sq ft basement. you are allowed 3 watts per foot. 900/3 = 300 So one circuit will be allowed....
Not exactly right. You have to multiply 900 times 3, which equals 2700 watts, not 300 watts. That amount exceeds the capacity of a 20 Amp circuit (2400 watts). A minimum of two circuits would be required in such a scenario.
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Old 01-19-2010, 06:26 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by codeone View Post
210.52 Dwelling Unit Receptacle Outlets

(1) Spacing. Receptacles shall be installed such that no



point measured horizontally along the floor line in any wall

space is more than (6 ft) from a receptacle outlet.





The above is one of the most ignored rules in the NEC. In my observation, my house and in most houses the outlets were provided to meet a price point -- not the NEC.

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Old 01-19-2010, 06:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oilseal View Post
The above is one of the most ignored rules in the NEC. In my observation, my house and in most houses the outlets were provided to meet a price point -- not the NEC.

[/left]
When was your house built? These rules have not always been in the NEC.
They have been developed over years. My dads house was built in the 40's and only had 2 recs per room ( a real pain today), until rewired for convience.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:09 AM   #11
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Codeone: My house was built in 1976. Seems that I remember the Six-Foot Rule from back in the 60s.

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