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Old 12-17-2007, 08:50 PM   #1
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Code check - Lighting load


I think this is a violation, be interesting to see if the inspector notices

I'm finishing a big chunk of my basement, I pulled a permit. In my county electric work must be done by a licensed electrician, since I pulled the permit I had no choice . So, I had the electrician in over the weekend with a couple of helpers and over the course of 6 hours or so they roughed in wiring for 16 outlets, 3 new can lights and boxes for 4 other surface mount lights. Overall I was happy with their work, generally neatly done and the job site was cleaner when they left than when they started. They did miss a couple of required staples but we'll let that pass - I put em in .

Here's the rub, I'm walking around looking at everything and I had a thought, wonder if these are seperate circuits? 1 switch turns on the stair light and string of three cans, the other two switches power up the rest of the lights. So I turn em all on and go over to the panel. Sure enough, when I kill the breaker labeled "basement lights" they all go off. Then I trace the 4 new boxes with no fixtures and they appear to be on the same circuit as well although 2 others are questionable, not powered up yet. Count em all up and there are 20 fixtures / cans and boxes with 2 of them not powered yet so either 18 or 20 on the same circuit. The cans are rated at 75 watts each, most of the rest are single bare bulb types which I think are OK for 100 watts? At least 6 of the new and existing boxes will get double bulb surface mount fixtures (I had a stack of em sitting there and he is installing fixutres "supplied by the customer") so 2*60 watts each. I'd say the total rated load is way over 1800 watts, it's a 15 amp circuit. It's not a problem as I am using them because everything has CFL bulbs so the actual load is much lower.

One other thing, I was just wandering around with the non-contact circuit tester and found one set of switch leg wires folded in the box that was live with no wire nuts on the hot and nuetral....
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Old 12-18-2007, 09:48 PM   #2
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Code check - Lighting load


Aside from bathroom circuits, small appliance branch circuits and laundry outlets, the code does NOT have a maximum number of receptacles you can land on a single circuit. Your lighting load sounds like a handful, but the only way to really tell is to put an amprobe on the breaker that is handling the lights. If it is over, as you suspect, then it will have to be broken up.

As for the tick tester picking up voltage on the wires in the box, that happens sometimes with an induced voltage on an unused wire. I'd use a voltmeter to see if you've got 120. Keep us posted!
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Old 12-19-2007, 01:02 PM   #3
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Code check - Lighting load


No concerns from the inspecter. The actual load with everything filled with mostly 13 watt CFL's will be no where near 15 amps. I was just concerned that with regular bulbs it would be overloaded...
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:01 PM   #4
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Code check - Lighting load


I'd still put an amprobe on that circuit and see where it's at. If the lighting is running it high, anything you plug in will simply drive it over the edge.
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Old 12-19-2007, 09:09 PM   #5
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Code check - Lighting load


It's all lighting, the receps are on additional circuits - 3 I believe.
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