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Old 02-15-2010, 02:04 PM   #1
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Few questions about adding outlet in unfinished basement


Hi all,

Whoever wired this basement only put in one outlet in the laundry area, near the corner where the gas dryer is. This means my mom has been running her washing machine on a 6' 16ga extension cord for years now. The washer died, and she's getting a new one, so I'd like to get rid of the extension cord before Best Buy installs the new washer.

What I'd like to do is add a second duplex receptacle near the washing machine. The basement is unfinished and wired in EMT, so I'm planning on making a straight horizontal run out of the side of the existing receptacle box, about 6 feet to a new box.

So, first of all, will this circuit require GFCI protection? The existing outlet is non-GFCI, and no GFCI breaker. If needed I'll replace the existing outlet with a GFCI and feed the new outlet from it's load terminals.

Second, is EMT with the set-screw connectors at each box an approved equipment ground conductor, or should I pull a separate ground? Insulated/Bare?

And a dumb question : With a typical metal "handy box" surface mounted to the cinder block, will I be able to run straight from knockout to knockout without needing to bend any kicks in the EMT? I do *not* want to buy a bender just to run 6' of pipe...

Oh, I should mention I'm in Minnesota, and I believe we're on the 2008 NEC.

Thanks in advance!
-Steve

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Old 02-15-2010, 02:36 PM   #2
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Few questions about adding outlet in unfinished basement


NEC 2008 requires GFCI protection for basement outlets.

There used to be exceptions along the lines of outlets not easily accessable (such at outlets in a ceiling for a garage door opener) or outlets with a dedicated load (such as a referigerator).

The NEC 2008 did away with all exceptions excluding a dedicated circuit for an alarm.

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Old 02-15-2010, 02:44 PM   #3
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Few questions about adding outlet in unfinished basement


One other thing to possibly consider:

I know code requires at least one outlet in an unfinished basement.
I think code requires dedicated circuit to a laundry room (i.e. can't be used to power other rooms in the house).

In your case, the laundry and unfinished basement are the same room. Does code allow you to share one circuit between an unfinished basement and a laundry room when they are the same room? Or do you need to run a new dedicated circuit for the washing machine?


On the subject of not wanting to pay for a bender, if you only need 90 degree bends, you could use extra junction boxes in place of bent conduit.

Last edited by HooKooDooKu; 02-15-2010 at 02:52 PM.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:50 PM   #4
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Few questions about adding outlet in unfinished basement


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One other thing to possibly consider:
In your case, the laundry and unfinished basement are the same room. Does code allow you to share one circuit between an unfinished basement and a laundry room when they are the same room? Or do you need to run a new dedicated circuit for the washing machine?
Well, this basement is roughly divided into three rooms by the presence of furnace/WH/chimny etc in the middle. The area in question could probably be considered a laundry room. I have to double check yet, but I'm fairly certain the existing outlet and possibly the pullchain light fixture are the only things on that circuit.

I think as long as a laundry room light can be on the dedicated laundry circuit, I should be fine in that respect.

Oh, and there is one additional outlet in the basement already, in basically the opposite corner. I need to add more in the future, but that should meet the "at least one outlet" requirement. I need to swap it for a GFCI as well, but that's a project for another day, since I'm not doing any work on that circuit at this time.

Last edited by McSteve; 02-15-2010 at 02:51 PM. Reason: Forget about the other outlet...
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:51 PM   #5
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Few questions about adding outlet in unfinished basement


You will have to put a couple box offsets in that pipe. I know in Canada pipe has to be supported with in 1 metre of the box, i'm sure you have a similar rule in the US.

One option would be to run armoured cable instead of pipe, not as neat but no need to put bends in it.
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Old 02-15-2010, 02:57 PM   #6
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You will have to put a couple box offsets in that pipe. I know in Canada pipe has to be supported with in 1 metre of the box, i'm sure you have a similar rule in the US.

One option would be to run armoured cable instead of pipe, not as neat but no need to put bends in it.
Yeah, that's kind of what I thought. I wasn't sure if the knockouts would be close enough to the wall to allow the EMT to be properly secured. I may just go with the armored cable at this point for convenience, since I don't much care what it looks like. This basement is awful, a run of AC strapped to the wall isn't going to make much difference, appearance-wise.

And armored cable with a bonding strip inside is approved as an EGC, yes?

Thanks everyone for all the input so far
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:03 PM   #7
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Few questions about adding outlet in unfinished basement


Do yourself a favor and use something like a deep 4" square box and a raised cover. Handy boxes don't have the room you need.

Properly installed EMT will qualify as your grounding means.
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:06 PM   #8
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Do yourself a favor and use something like a deep 4" square box and a raised cover. Handy boxes don't have the room you need.

Properly installed EMT will qualify as your grounding means.
Good point. I got to thinking about it and realized that a handy box definitely isn't going to work with a GFCI. Even if I could make it fit I doubt it would be legal.
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Old 02-15-2010, 03:34 PM   #9
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Few questions about adding outlet in unfinished basement


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Good point. I got to thinking about it and realized that a handy box definitely isn't going to work with a GFCI. Even if I could make it fit I doubt it would be legal.
When it comes to doing box-fill calculations, I've never seen anything that treats a GFCI outlet any different than a typical duplex receptical.

However, having recently run some calculations on a handy box, they are sized such that about the only thing they allow is the device and two #14 conductors. So you can either put a switch loop in a handy box or an outlet that is at the end of a run (i.e. it doesn't feed additional outlets).

So as far as I know, if the GFCI physically fits in the handy box without crushing the wires, it shouldn't be against code.
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Old 02-15-2010, 08:52 PM   #10
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Few questions about adding outlet in unfinished basement


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So as far as I know, if the GFCI physically fits in the handy box without crushing the wires, it shouldn't be against code.
It may not violate the code, but it's a pain to cram everything into a handy box. I always use a 4 sq. box (deep) with a raised industrial cover for exposed locations. It doesn't cost that much more and I'm not swearing loud enough for the homeowner to hear.
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:51 AM   #11
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Few questions about adding outlet in unfinished basement


I've been staring at my basement walls and ceiling, trying to figure out the best way to route around some of the obstructions, and now I have another follow-up question:

For EMT in an unfinished basement, is there a minimum distance from the floor? I'm thinking about going down from the existing box, across the wall below the dryer's gas line that's in my way, and then up to the new box next to the washer. This would put the horizontal run of conduit along the wall about 10-12" from the floor.

Any problems with that?

Thanks again,
-Steve
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:25 PM   #12
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Few questions about adding outlet in unfinished basement


No problem with running it to the floor.
They sell premade box offsets, so the pipe will stay close to the wall, and you can strap it.
Emt can be used as a ground, but I would do like what is already installed.
Make sure that you have bonding jumper connected to the box and the receptacle if using a raised cover.
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Old 02-21-2010, 08:42 PM   #13
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Few questions about adding outlet in unfinished basement


you could also use standoff straps and not need offsets.
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Old 02-21-2010, 09:04 PM   #14
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Few questions about adding outlet in unfinished basement


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Originally Posted by darren View Post
You will have to put a couple box offsets in that pipe. I know in Canada pipe has to be supported with in 1 metre of the box, i'm sure you have a similar rule in the US.

One option would be to run armoured cable instead of pipe, not as neat but no need to put bends in it.
One Metre (Meter)equals roughly 3 feet. Which is an old existing rule in the NEC That within Three Ft. of a run of pipe (out of a junction box) there should be a Mechanical support. i.e. a strap.!
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:17 PM   #15
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Few questions about adding outlet in unfinished basement


Yes, you do need a 12 gauge (20 amp.) circuit serving the laundry area exclusively, that is, not connected to lights or receptacles all about the basement. There may also be other circuits that have receptacles in or near the laundry area. If the existing single receptacle circuit is 12 gauge and can reasonably be used by a washing machine without an extension cord, it will fill the requirement and you can add other circuits any way you choose.

Now I don't think there would be a problem having two outlet boxes a few feet apart on the circuit designated as the laundry circuit, provided that any future renovation project partitioning off the laundry area kept both receptacles inside that area.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-21-2010 at 10:27 PM.
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