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Old 12-28-2010, 06:55 AM   #1
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Finished basement wiring questions


I own a home with a basement that was finished by the previous owners. They had split the basement into two rooms and installed receptacles and fluorescent lights/drop ceiling. Three separate 15 Amp circuits were set aside in the box-one for lighting and two for receptacles. Basically I am modifying the layout of the basement, adding/moving receptacles, and changing the lighting completely. The plan for lighting will be for 12 recessed lights plus one fluorescent light (two single pole switches each controlling a separate bank of lights) which will be located on the unfinished side (lighting for the pantry) for a total of 800 Watts. 800/120 = 6.7 Amps so the load is clearly within the limit of the circuit (it will be much less anyway since each recessed lighting unit will have a CFL), but right now all wire coming from the box to the basement is 14/2. Should I upgrade to 12/2 and a 20 Amp breaker?

I plan on dividing the outlets among the two remaining circuits. One side of the basement will be an office area with outlets near two desks for laptops, modem, wireless router, etc...I also plan on putting a mini fridge in a dry bar that will divide the two rooms that will go on this circuit. The other side of the basement will be the entertaining area with a wall mount TV, cable box, DVR, DVD player, game system, surround sound, and likely other electronic devices. The entertainment side and office side loads should be about around 7 and 8 Amps respectively. Again, these two circuits are wired with 14/2, should I change it out for 12/2 and a 20 Amp breaker?

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Old 12-28-2010, 07:47 AM   #2
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Finished basement wiring questions


If your calculations are correct, you will be fine with 15 amps. The only thing I might change is to add another circuit add remove the mini fridge from your office circuit. Just a personal preference.

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Old 12-28-2010, 07:47 AM   #3
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Sounds to me as if the existing circuits are quite adequate.
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Old 12-28-2010, 04:57 PM   #4
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Finished basement wiring questions


Don't forget the AFCI breakers and the tamper resistant receptacles.
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:13 AM   #5
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Don't forget the AFCI breakers and the tamper resistant receptacles.
Hourglass raises an interesting point. Was this basement finished under a permit? If so, does the OP need to install AFCI breakers / tamper proof outlets or is it grandfathered in? Would these areas need AFCI or GFI (basement) protection?

Sorry to the OP, I don't mean to highjack your thread.
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:29 AM   #6
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Any receptacle you replace now has to be replaced with a tamper resistant receptacle.
I am not sure about the AFCI if you are using the old wiring. Cheap insurance, and piece of mind though.

Bob
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Old 12-29-2010, 10:45 AM   #7
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AFCI would be required for current code, but this is not considered major enough to require permits then it's not major enough to cancel the grandfather clause. The same goes for tamper resistant. GFCI are only required in unfinished basements. None of these are required.

That said, they're all a good idea. AFCI is expensive, though, I'd save the $50- not to mention, the extent of work to determine whether a permit is needed, around here, is figured on price, and without it, you don't need one, but with it, you might. (Then again, I've never figured close enough to bother checking whether it's labor cost only. It may not matter.) Tamper resistant are pennies, and GFCI is a few bucks. I'd go with tamper resistant GFCI even though it's not required, unless you're sure there'll be no water- and the wet bar makes it sound like you need GFCI anyhow no matter what.
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Old 12-29-2010, 12:25 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by JPraski View Post
AFCI would be required for current code, but this is not considered major enough to require permits then it's not major enough to cancel the grandfather clause. The same goes for tamper resistant. GFCI are only required in unfinished basements. None of these are required.

That said, they're all a good idea. AFCI is expensive, though, I'd save the $50- not to mention, the extent of work to determine whether a permit is needed, around here, is figured on price, and without it, you don't need one, but with it, you might. (Then again, I've never figured close enough to bother checking whether it's labor cost only. It may not matter.) Tamper resistant are pennies, and GFCI is a few bucks. I'd go with tamper resistant GFCI even though it's not required, unless you're sure there'll be no water- and the wet bar makes it sound like you need GFCI anyhow no matter what.
Where I am, any work considered to cost $250+ requires a permit.

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