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Old 11-30-2007, 09:10 AM   #1
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Basic Electrical Question


Good Morning,

What is the rule of thumb for wiring a room? Meaning, say canned lights on one circuit and all outlets on another? My issue is this. I built an extra room out in our garage. I installed 4 cans and 5 outlets and 1 wall heater (1500 watts). Currently the heater and cans are on the same circuit. I havent hooked up the outlets yet. I was curious if I should run a new circuit for the heater which I think I should do, and leave the cans and outlets on another? I am worried that just the cans alone take up 400 watts, plus say a computer, TV, Tivo, Clock Radio, Desk light will come close to 1800... At any rate, I am thinking I need two seperate circuits, does this sound acurate? Or can I get away with installing a larger circuit breaker?

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Old 11-30-2007, 09:38 AM   #2
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definitaly put the heater on it's own circuit. What size wire are you using for the heater, cans and outlets?

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Old 11-30-2007, 09:43 AM   #3
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definitaly put the heater on it's own circuit. What size wire are you using for the heater, cans and outlets?
Thats what I thought I should do. I believe it is 14, but could be 12. I dont have the wire in front of me
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Old 11-30-2007, 10:33 AM   #4
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14 ga wire is only rated for 15 amps so you can't "get away with installing a larger circuit breaker". 14 ga gets a 15 amp breaker and 12 ga gets a 20 amp breaker. 1500w/120volts=12.5 amps, so the heater should be on it's own 15 amp circuit.
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Old 11-30-2007, 10:59 AM   #5
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14 ga wire is only rated for 15 amps so you can't "get away with installing a larger circuit breaker". 14 ga gets a 15 amp breaker and 12 ga gets a 20 amp breaker. 1500w/120volts=12.5 amps, so the heater should be on it's own 15 amp circuit.
I agree with this answer, except the 15 amp. breaker for the heater.
The National Electric Code only allows you to use 80% of that breaker, which is 12 amps.
You should go with a 20 amp. breaker for the heater.
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Old 11-30-2007, 11:41 AM   #6
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Welcome to the forum Dom

Fixed electric space heating and its branch circuit requirements are covered in article 424 of the Nec. First thing is to determine is the size of wire required for your branch circuit.
The fixed in the wall heater is considered a continuous load and requires a 25% increase in the size of conductors that would be required if it were a non continuous load. So 1500/120 x 1.25 = 16 amps. The circuit breaker is also required to be sized no less than 125% of the continuous load so the circuit breaker would need to be a 20 amp breaker. We would also choose 12 awg copper wire for the branch circuit conductors. So 12/2 g protected by a 20 amp breaker is what you should use to serve this heater. An individual branch circuit serving the heater would be required. The reason for this is it is over 50% of the branch circuit rating where cord and plug equipment is also supplied on the same branch circuit. The NEC does not allow this as it over utilizes the available load of the branch circuit. The heater also needs some form of disconnect, the switch on the unit if marked with an 'off ' position or if thermostatic and marked with an 'off ' position will satisfy this requirement in your case. Other wise the circuit breaker can serve as the disconnecting means or a installed wall switch. The circuit breaker if not in sight of the heater will need to have a means to lock it in the open position to satisfy as the disconnecting means.

So in short you need a 20 amp breaker and 12 awg serving this heater on an individual branch circuit. Then make sure it has one of the disconnecting means as described.




Hope this helped.

Last edited by Stubbie; 11-30-2007 at 11:46 AM.
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Old 11-30-2007, 12:22 PM   #7
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Welcome to the forum Dom

Fixed electric space heating and its branch circuit requirements are covered in article 424 of the Nec. First thing is to determine is the size of wire required for your branch circuit.
The fixed in the wall heater is considered a continuous load and requires a 25% increase in the size of conductors that would be required if it were a non continuous load. So 1500/120 x 1.25 = 16 amps. The circuit breaker is also required to be sized no less than 125% of the continuous load so the circuit breaker would need to be a 20 amp breaker. We would also choose 12 awg copper wire for the branch circuit conductors. So 12/2 g protected by a 20 amp breaker is what you should use to serve this heater. An individual branch circuit serving the heater would be required. The reason for this is it is over 50% of the branch circuit rating where cord and plug equipment is also supplied on the same branch circuit. The NEC does not allow this as it over utilizes the available load of the branch circuit. The heater also needs some form of disconnect, the switch on the unit if marked with an 'off ' position or if thermostatic and marked with an 'off ' position will satisfy this requirement in your case. Other wise the circuit breaker can serve as the disconnecting means or a installed wall switch. The circuit breaker if not in sight of the heater will need to have a means to lock it in the open position to satisfy as the disconnecting means.

So in short you need a 20 amp breaker and 12 awg serving this heater on an individual branch circuit. Then make sure it has one of the disconnecting means as described.




Hope this helped.
Yes it does, thank you. And thank you to the other members that have posted. I appreciate your time and input.
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Old 11-30-2007, 03:15 PM   #8
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Just a reminder to advoid a blunder with the heaters there is few diffrent types of heaters but two most common is either baseboard heater or force air heater aka wall heater [ that will incude the fan ]

if you have baseboard heater you can not put a repectale above the heater but you can put a repectale below of baseboard heater.

for fan forced heaters there is not much issue with it but don't put in any reptactales above the heater anyway. [ those heater can crank pretty good heat and can do some damage to the cords if not carefull with it ]


Merci, Marc
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Old 11-30-2007, 03:25 PM   #9
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Just a reminder to advoid a blunder with the heaters there is few diffrent types of heaters but two most common is either baseboard heater or force air heater aka wall heater [ that will incude the fan ]

if you have baseboard heater you can not put a repectale above the heater but you can put a repectale below of baseboard heater.

for fan forced heaters there is not much issue with it but don't put in any reptactales above the heater anyway. [ those heater can crank pretty good heat and can do some damage to the cords if not carefull with it ]


Merci, Marc

Good info, thank you.
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Old 11-30-2007, 06:58 PM   #10
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FrenchElectrician...You say you can not put outlets above baseboard heaters but you can put outlets below them? All baseboard heaters i have seen sit right by the floor so no room for receps under them. Do you mean floor receps? Just curious, thanks
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Old 11-30-2007, 09:13 PM   #11
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You can put receptacles in the floor. They require special floor mounting boxes.
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Old 12-01-2007, 12:42 AM   #12
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this one type of floor box i used quite a bit http://www.passandseymour.com/pdf/P14.pdf

those box are not really cheap but they have much thicker construction than standard box are and can take alot of abuse. IIRC they are 45 bucks or more depending on which trim you used on that products.

as let highlight little more related to the baseboard heaters if the heater are not mounted so close to the floor if they are are mounted like example 8-10 inch off from floor level then you can mount standard repectales on the wall below of the baseboard heater[s] but keep in your mind with the "6/12" code.

The 6/12 refering to 6 feet min to 12 feet max distance between the repectales on the wall i will make it little more clearer with the example i mount a 6 foot baseboard heater you can have the repectale on either end of heater and meet the code

{stubbie i dont know if you have time or what but can you make a quick simple drawing what i am refering to this ?? thanks for your time }

but if you have electric baseboard heater that is longer than 8 feet like 8/4 or 8/6 etc combo if over 12 feet it will be a wise idea to install a floor repectale as i hightlight it above on the link to meet the code but just becareful how far you mount the floor repectale because it will get the code conflect pretty fast.

Merci, Marc

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