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Old 01-25-2010, 11:48 AM   #1
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DIY rewire the whole house...


OK so it started with my foundation being leveled on my 1964 built home. Then the first unplanned item was remediation of the asbestos flooring. Then behind the washer I found some wet drywall. Then I ripped all that down and decided that I wanted an outdoor tankless, so now it's out there outside. Then I decided I hated my popcorn ceilings and wanted more overhead light and non-popcorn ceilings. Then my downstairs sheetrock being completely gutted. Then over the kitchen I found some 12/3 in disturbing condition, with several nicks down to the conductors. Later after running several circuits found more really disturbing wire problems, including one with about a 3" section down to the wire and displaying evidence of arcing.

So I decided then that all the wiring had to go. May not get another chance to do it for another 46 years. I don't have the money to have someone else re-do it, and I have a lot of experience with Cat 3/5/5e/6 cabling. So here goes nothing.

The downstairs is already completely opened, save for the garage. In the garage and the upstairs I only punched out what I needed. So now I've done almost all the circuits, have just a couple left. Been through three 250' rolls of 12/2 Romex so far, working on my 4th. Have not wired up anything yet though, so I couldn't have done anything really horrible yet. And I found some more things after I started pulling it all out, like junctions behind walls that weren't in a box, ugh.

Besides the mentioned 12/2 Romex, I am also replacing all junction boxes with plastic ones, except for the one that the DC converter is attached to, I figure it needs to be grounded. I have also liberally used the plastic GB cable staples throughout the house, I make sure that they are snug but not too tight, ie, the cable can wiggle if you pull on it, but it doesn't flop around on it's own. And I always tack down the cable within a few inches of the receptacle boxes.

So here's my questions:

1. I have not applied for a city permit to do this stuff. Do I need to do so?

1.a. But, in the interest of safety, whether I ultimately get a permit or not, I want it to be safe as humanly possible. What things do I need to do to bring it up to code as far as retrofitting goes. I understand that AFCI is now required in bedrooms and living spaces. Now that I'm already working on it, is it required to retrofit AFCI? Also this house has zero GFCI circuits. I plan on installing them in kitchen and bath.

1.a.1: Which brings up another topic: Should I install GFCI breakers or GFCI plugs at the first position in the circuit?

2. The breaker box contains nothing but 20 amp breakers. I was surprised not to see some 15A breakers in there. This was key in my decision to use all 12/2 wire, I did not want to overload anything. I did tear out some 14/2, but a lot of what I tore out was 12/2. The old stuff was all copper, I should mention.

2.a. Do I need to install 20A receptacles on these circuits? Or should I go back and put 15A breakers in for lights and plugs? I assume that a 20A circuit requires a 20A GFCI regardless of load, also

2.a.1. I'd rather have the extra capacity of the 20A circuits if possible/desirable.

3. There seemed like there was a TON of stuff on some of these breakers. Maybe that's the reason for the 20A circuits? For example I had a 12/2 that went into one bathroom, through the wall into the other bathroom, and out to 10 receptacles in two bedrooms! For a total of 12 receptacles in 4 rooms with NO GFCI. My bathrooms are very small, I know, but that seemed a bit extreme to run to 4 rooms out of one circuit.

4. The house did have spilt receptacles on a 12/3 that ran through the kitchen. They were on separate breakers. I replaced this with two 12/2's, one of which I dedicated to the fridge, and the other to 4 counter-top plugs which I plan to put on GFCI. Is this setup OK?

4.a. Likewise, I had a 12/3 on separate breakers running to my dishwasher, disposal and over-sink lighting. I also replaced that with two 12/2's with one dedicated to the dishwasher (on a switch) and the other to the disposal and over-sink light. Is this OK?

4.b. The microwave, the range, three lights, and about 7 general purpose plugs were on one circuit. I already have the lights separated and the plugs will be separated also. Is it safe to put the microwave and the range on same 20A circuit? The range is gas btw, just needs enough juice to power the controls.

5. I went crazy with the cheez whiz and installed a lot of recessed fixtures in the house. Total of 28 of them. 2 in the (new) downstairs bath, 1 in the pantry, 2 in the kitchen, 6 in the den, 4 in the living room, 1 in the entryway, and 4 in each of the three bedrooms upstairs. How many of these can be powered off of a single 20A circuit safely? (or again should I convert to 15A?)

5.a. Can I mix a ceiling fan into the same circuit as powers the recessed lights? For every bedroom I have installed recessed lights into, the old fixture would provide a central location for a ceiling fan. It's hot down here in Texas and I like to keep the AC at 77 or above, so ceiling fans would be nice.

6. For that matter, how many plugs will go on a 20A circuit? I have dedicated areas for my computer lab and my home theater area that will have a relatively small number of outlets on one circuit, but other than that (and the kitchen) the max coverage is probably fine.

7. I only have 4 empty slots in my breaker box. It's a Square D and has been replaced in the last 10 years, in fact all the metal around the power company feed is new and shiny and the meter is new and electronic. I suspect this was all updated right before I bought the house. But anyways, I see that there are tandem breakers for the model of breakers and box that I have. What circuits can I safely put tandem breakers on to.

8. The bathrooms upstairs are a connundrum for me. They share a common wall and are back to back. Previously they each had 1 20A circuit that went to the overhead light and an old-school heater with a big dishwasher looking heating element. And then they shared a circuit that went to one plug in each bathroom and to a bunch of plugs in two more bedrooms. But anyway the total of items in each bathroom are 1 plug, a light over the sink and the heater. The heaters are going away, I'd like to replace them with something more modern, and add a fan. How many circuits will I need to do all this? I'm hoping 1 20A per bathroom will be sufficient.

9. Should I rewire the breaker panel myself? It seems pretty straightforward but obviously I have never done it before. If I bring in a professional, first off will he be willing to even working on it knowing that I have rewired the house myself? And if so, how much can I expect to pay for such a service? I think I would be more comfortable doing it if there was a separate cutoff for the whole house service that was in a physically different box. But still, with reasonable precautions I think I can do it. But should I?

Anyways, thanks for reading this.

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Old 01-25-2010, 12:04 PM   #2
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DIY rewire the whole house...


Yes you need a permit
Your Inspector will be able to tell you what code revision to meet
Current one is NEC 2008

Kitchen requires 2 20a dedicated GFCI protected circuits
Dishwasher may require a dedicated circuit
Microwave over stove w/exhaust requires dedicated circuit
Other high power microwaves its a good idea
Bathroom(s) require 20a GFCI circuit
Bedrooms & most other areas not GFCI require AFCI protection

15a duplex recaptacles are OK on a 20a circuit

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Old 01-25-2010, 12:30 PM   #3
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DIY rewire the whole house...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
15a duplex recaptacles are OK on a 20a circuit
Scubadave,

What is the logic on this?
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Old 01-25-2010, 12:56 PM   #4
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DIY rewire the whole house...


Quote:
Originally Posted by <*(((>< View Post
Scubadave,

What is the logic on this?
15a duplex are rated for 20a pass thru
Not sure exactly full reasoning, my understanding is that each plug can pull 15a
I've yet to see any device that pulls more then 15a, I'm sure somewhere one exists
You could plug in a surge & exceed 15a, but you do the same with a 20a receptacle



A single 15a receptacle can't be installed

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Old 01-25-2010, 01:06 PM   #5
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DIY rewire the whole house...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Yes you need a permit
Your Inspector will be able to tell you what code revision to meet
Current one is NEC 2008

Kitchen requires 2 20a dedicated GFCI protected circuits
Dishwasher may require a dedicated circuit
Microwave over stove w/exhaust requires dedicated circuit
Other high power microwaves its a good idea
Bathroom(s) require 20a GFCI circuit
Bedrooms & most other areas not GFCI require AFCI protection

15a duplex recaptacles are OK on a 20a circuit
Well....

Guess I'll apply for a permit.

Where would I put 2x 20A GFCI in my kitchen? I only have 5 countertop outlets. It's a small kitchen. Oh well if code says so, time to run run run more wires!

The dishwasher does have it's own circuit

I'll run a 12/2 to the microwave

I'll run a 20a to both bathrooms, right now only have in 1, was planning on GFCI

They carry AFCI breakers at my local Home Depot. I have Square D breakers.

How can you tell if a receptacle is duplex? does that mean 2 plugs?

Last edited by brons2; 01-25-2010 at 06:22 PM. Reason: fixed typos
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:16 PM   #6
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DIY rewire the whole house...


Both bathroom outlets can be fed from (1) 20a circuit IF it is outlets only
I prefer one circuit to each bathroom

Even if you had small kitchen with only 2 outlets you would need 2 circuits
Kitchen appliances take up a lot of power
An outlet is required every 4' & on any counter greater then 12"
I will have 4 circuits in my kitchen - only 7 outlets

Pictures show a duplex receptacle & a single receptacle
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:24 PM   #7
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DIY rewire the whole house...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
15a duplex are rated for 20a pass thru
Not sure exactly full reasoning, my understanding is that each plug can pull 15a
I've yet to see any device that pulls more then 15a, I'm sure somewhere one exists
You could plug in a surge & exceed 15a, but you do the same with a 20a receptacle



A single 15a receptacle can't be installed

So it sounds to me that their logic is that most appliances with standard molded plugs only draw less than 15a. Thanks for your explanation.

So what's the point of having 20a receptacles then? If they are not requiring 20a rated outlets on a 20a circuit, it just has never made sense to me. I have always just put in 20a receptacles.

Sorry to hijack the OP thread.

Last edited by <*(((><; 01-25-2010 at 01:30 PM.
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Old 01-25-2010, 01:51 PM   #8
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DIY rewire the whole house...


Twenty amp receptacles are for devices with a 20 amp plug configuration.

I can't think of anything except for a plug in air conditioner that would utilize a 20 amp cord in a residential setting.
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:13 PM   #9
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DIY rewire the whole house...


Quote:
Originally Posted by <*(((>< View Post

Sorry to hijack the OP thread.
That's OK, I was curious about this as well. I was wondering if I should buy all 20A plugs with the 5-20R connector config, although I agree with the previous poster that I can't think of anything in a home setting that would use such a thing.

Maybe eventually there will be a computer that does, like the extreme gaming ones that have 4 video cards in them and 1500 watt power supplies, but things like that will never filter down to the average Joe. I guess if you do have a computer like that, if your buddy wanted to come over for some LAN gaming, you could tell him to bring his own generator
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:32 PM   #10
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DIY rewire the whole house...


When the 20a T slot Pro outlets were less $$ I bought some
But then they passed the TR requirement & now they are over $5 each
I wanted to be able to look at an outlet in the older part of the house & know if the circuit was 20a

For the new addition(s) I'll buy the reg 15a TR outlets
I know everything out there will be 20a

I've never even seen a server that takes a T-slot
They make almost everything without the T slot because the vast majority of houses do not have the T slot
Imagine selling PC's/servers with that need 20a T-slot & getting them returned all the time because people can't plug them in
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:27 PM   #11
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What's the TR requirement? Tamper resistant?

I guess those are not required in my area as HD has lots of plugs that are not TR, although they sell the TR ones too.
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:40 PM   #12
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Yes Tamper resistant
The fact that HD sells non-TR does not mean the code has not been accepted where you are

Its been accepted here & HD still sells non-TR
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Old 01-25-2010, 06:45 PM   #13
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DIY rewire the whole house...


Thankfully I have not installed any new plugs yet!

Or new anything for that matter other than wires, blue boxes and recessed cans.
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Old 01-25-2010, 07:16 PM   #14
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The City of Austin is currently using the 2005 NEC, I've discovered. http://www.ci.austin.tx.us/development/bpinfo1.htm#UBC That being said I'd rather voluntarily comply with the 2008 NEC.
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Old 01-25-2010, 08:50 PM   #15
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DIY rewire the whole house...


I would surely pull a permit for anything this extensive to avoid any issues down the road when the house is resold...

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