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Old 02-23-2012, 09:36 AM   #1
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Ontario - Max 12 devices on a circuit


Ok, so dilemma, and looking for some advice/ideas.

I will be renovating a bathroom completely. Currently, the bathroom is on a branch circuit that includes two bedrooms, and a hall plug. The bathroom currently has one GFCI outlet, and one light. The branch circuit has 11 "devices" on it. Basically, three lights (2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom), 3 plugs in each bedroom, the bathroom plug, and a hall plug.

In the bathroom, I want to add a fan (just fan, no heater or anything). A second light, and a second GFCI plug. If I keep it all on the existing circuit, I will be at 14 items, over the 12 max.

So any thoughts on the below options:

1. Just add to the existing as it's unlikely there will be high use items on much of the circuit?

2. Run a new circuit, for the bathroom only? (problem here is I don't really have any spares in my existing box (100 amp service), other than a hot tub we are likely not going to ever use as it's old and broke and probalby not worth fixing, I could reclaim those two spots). This will cause additional work, and possibly additional problems, as I need to run that circuit to the box...

3. Get a sub panel installed. Bonus here is I think lots of my circuits are at, near or over the device limit. This would require additional work I wasn't planning on (and cost), but might be the best long term idea.

To top it off, I have aluminum wiring in the house primarily. Some newer wiring done by previous owner is coppper, and I switched one branch circuit in an area I renovated to copper already. I also am going to try and replace as much as I can to copper as I do things.

Thanks for any help/advice!

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Old 02-23-2012, 10:27 AM   #2
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Ontario - Max 12 devices on a circuit


Since you think that many of your circuits are near capacity already, it might be worthwhile to figure it out for sure. I definetly lean toward a new circuit for the bathroom, if not a sub-panel.

Of greater concern to me is the aluminum and copper mix in your home. Be sure that any place where copper meets aluminum is done with a compatable connector.I also think you should check ALL receptacles, switches, and lights to be sure they are aluminum compatable, or pigtailed to copper with compatable wire connectors. Also ensure that the screws on all aluminum compatable devices with aluminum wiring are tight. While you have the breakers turned off doing this work, you can see how loaded each circuit is.

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Old 02-23-2012, 10:40 AM   #3
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Ontario - Max 12 devices on a circuit


Thanks DaveB,

Yes, I've been in the progress of switching all recepticals to alum compatible ones, as they all weren't. That progress has been slowed by other things...really should be priority though. I tend to make sure the screws are tight, and I've also been using that paste they recommend. I wanted to make it a yearly check actually. I bought these connectors online, that are supposedly good for aluminum to copper connections (for lights and junction boxes and what not). They seem pretty good. Ideally I'm able to switch it all out, but not really up for busting open all of my walls in the house!

Maybe I'll get a quote on a sub panel. It's probably the best thing long term...
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:13 PM   #4
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Ontario - Max 12 devices on a circuit


Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieR View Post
Thanks DaveB,

Yes, I've been in the progress of switching all recepticals to alum compatible ones, as they all weren't. That progress has been slowed by other things...really should be priority though. I tend to make sure the screws are tight, and I've also been using that paste they recommend. I wanted to make it a yearly check actually. I bought these connectors online, that are supposedly good for aluminum to copper connections (for lights and junction boxes and what not). They seem pretty good. Ideally I'm able to switch it all out, but not really up for busting open all of my walls in the house!

Maybe I'll get a quote on a sub panel. It's probably the best thing long term...
I recommend you run a new circuit for the bathroom. Some blow dryers can pull over 1000w alone.
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Old 02-23-2012, 01:12 PM   #5
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Ontario - Max 12 devices on a circuit


Thanks PSilva8.

I was actually hoping (though suspecting it would be otherwise), that I would find that the bathroom was the start of the circuit, but alas, it appears not to be the case and that it is the end of the circuit. If it was the beginning, it would be much easier to pull a new wire from the basement. However, now... I'd essentially have to open the wall in the living room below to get a circuit to the basement likely.
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:34 AM   #6
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Ontario - Max 12 devices on a circuit


So I'm no longer sure it's at the end of the chain...though it might just be in the middle... I have to go in the attic to explore. I thought the light fixture was the last device on the circuit, but there is another cable heading into the ceiling. Not sure if that is going to the other room, or if that is heading to the box... I will investigate.

However, is there any rule of thumbs on running a circuit during renovation? IE, I want to minimize other rooms I effect. The room below the bathroom, has panelling on top of drywall, so I can't just make a hole and easily repair it. My possibilities (though I might get a professional opinion...) are as follows that I can tell.

1. Hopefully find a circuit in the attic that I can fish a second circuit down from... ie large enough holes through plates.

2. Go from the attic (or under the upstairs floor, but then I can't staple it), and I can break open the wall from the garage side. However this will result in probably a longer than necessary run, is that something to be worried about?
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Old 02-27-2012, 10:51 AM   #7
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Ontario - Max 12 devices on a circuit


Fished cables inside walls do not need to be stapled. You do not need to break open a wall to staple cables. They still need staples where they are exposed.
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Old 02-27-2012, 11:08 AM   #8
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Ontario - Max 12 devices on a circuit


Thanks Joed, that's good I can confirm that. However, I still need to do something to get it through the floor plate and head plate, unless I find an existing spot.... I guess that is my concern.

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