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Old 07-27-2012, 02:40 PM   #1
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power to multiple light switch locations


I'm remodeling my kitchen and living room. My question is what the most efficient why to wire the lights. I have 7 different locations for light switches; recessed cans, deck, under cabinet, island, oversink, exterior, garage lights... There is an attic above the kitchen. I'm thinking the easiest way to supply power to the different light switch locations is have a J-Box in the attic.
Circuit breaker box - Jbox - 7 light switch locations. Any experts have opinions on this plan? Any code concerns?

Thanks
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Old 07-27-2012, 02:58 PM   #2
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power to multiple light switch locations


You are limited to how many connections you can have in a box. The limit is based on the volumn of the box.

One thing to consider is that NEC now requires that each switch box also contain a neutral. You need this neutral for most occupancy sensors. And to be perfectly honest....comes in handy if you want to do other things like home automation.

In the old days, they ran the power to the fixture and then just the switch legs to the switch...that is how my house is done.

I'm changing all that....I'm running 14/2 to each box....then the switch leg up to the light. If I'm daisy chaining then I make a pig tail that goes to the switch....I wire nut the daisy chained part and just shove it into the back of the box. The pig tail is easy to move around and lessons the chance that I'll break a wire.
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:53 PM   #3
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power to multiple light switch locations


I dont know your layout, but if you have access it would be best not using a j-box.
There are limits as to how many devices can be on a single circuit too.
If you plan to wire eight or ten switches you may consider fishing two or three lines from the panel.
This way you dont use the max allowable devices. One feed for kitchen lights, one for living room lights, etc.

Each circuit can be ran to one switch, and then daisy chained to another switch as ddawg mentioned.
There are a few different ways to go about this, but IMO j-boxes are sloppy. (Although sometimes necessary)
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Old 07-27-2012, 07:54 PM   #4
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Thanks for the answers.

I asked the inspector about number of lights per circuit. He said they don't actually count them. I inquired because in theory you can run 75+ lights per 15 amp breaker. The standard 100 watt bulb is gone (60 and 40 soon to follow) being replaced with 13 watt. He thought for a second and said I guess you're right. I'm assuming 1500 watts (80% of 1800) for 15 amp breaker, 20 watts per bulb (still really high) = 75 blubs

I have about 50 bulbs for kitchen, living room and exterior. They are all 60 watt equivalent or less so I should be able to fit even more then the 75. I decided to pull about 10 off the one circuit because it makes me nervous.

Any thoughts?
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:25 PM   #5
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power to multiple light switch locations


In NEC you do not have a limit other than the fixture wattage. You take the maximum wattage allowed to be installed in the fixture and add it up to 80%. It doesn't matter what you intend to install you have to use maximum allowed because you don't know what the next guy will do.
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Old 07-27-2012, 09:09 PM   #6
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Just so were all clear, the 80% rule in residential is far and few, so a 15 amp breaker is good for 1800 watts, 20 amp breaker is good for 2400 watts. The only time this is mandated is with electric heat, & electric water heaters, and I think maybe one more...
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Old 07-27-2012, 11:58 PM   #7
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One thought. If you ever sell the house and the buyer wants to go back to incandescent, they will hunt you like a dog.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:50 AM   #8
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One thought. If you ever sell the house and the buyer wants to go back to incandescent, they will hunt you like a dog.
Put in GU24 bases in the lights and the only hunting they will do will be fore bulbs.....if they burn out.
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Old 07-28-2012, 05:29 AM   #9
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power to multiple light switch locations


Quote:
Originally Posted by fullsail View Post
Thanks for the answers.

I asked the inspector about number of lights per circuit. He said they don't actually count them. I inquired because in theory you can run 75+ lights per 15 amp breaker. The standard 100 watt bulb is gone (60 and 40 soon to follow) being replaced with 13 watt. He thought for a second and said I guess you're right. I'm assuming 1500 watts (80% of 1800) for 15 amp breaker, 20 watts per bulb (still really high) = 75 blubs

I have about 50 bulbs for kitchen, living room and exterior. They are all 60 watt equivalent or less so I should be able to fit even more then the 75. I decided to pull about 10 off the one circuit because it makes me nervous.

Any thoughts?
Thoughts...yeah.,,pretty dumb idea. When the lighting circuit trips, the whole house will be dark,
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:47 AM   #10
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Thoughts...yeah.,,pretty dumb idea. When the lighting circuit trips, the whole house will be dark,
Same thing happens when the utility fails too.
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:51 AM   #11
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power to multiple light switch locations


You should use the fixture lamp ratings, not the actual lamp wattage you will use, when computing the number of lights for a given branch circuit. So a can light fixture rated at 75 watts incandescent should count as 75 watts even if you plan to screw in a 13 watt CFL.

Then the next buyer of the house deciding to switch back to incandescent won't run into any surprises.

If there are also some receptacles on the circuit, it is not a good idea to allocate more than half* the circuit wattage (900 watts or half of 1800 for a 15 amp circuit) to wired in lights and other wired in equipment such as fans, again using fixture lamp ratings.

I say it is safe to not derate to 80% in this calculation for continuous versus intermittent load.

You may not hang lights off of the "20 amp small appliance circuits" for the kitchen or the "20 amp laundry area circuit" or a (must be 20 amp) circuit serving receptacles in more than one bathroom.

It is usually best to daisy chain the power feed for any one branch circuit to one switch box and then to the next, through boxes for receptacles if any in any order. Then run the switched power from each switch box to the respective lights, daisy chaining from one light box to the next for lights controlled by one switch.

For 3 way switches, run the power feed to just one of the switch boxes. Run 3 wire cable from there to the second switch box and if possible run the switched power from the second switch box to the light.
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Old 07-28-2012, 07:55 AM   #12
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power to multiple light switch locations


Use EMT had run everything on outside of walls/ceilings. Will look lofty.
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:00 AM   #13
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power to multiple light switch locations


Thanks for the info guys.

I counted fixtures and used actual fixture rating. 5 are 13 watt LED fixtures, 22 are 75 watt recessed cans. That will be 1715 watts total.

I'm also daisy chaining my light switches instead of using the jbox in the attic.

I've also managed to convince the wife she doesn't need 3 of the $400 LED exterior fixtures.

I'm hoping to have my rough-in inspection done this week. Any tips on what to expect. I'm assuming I hook up the entire circuit breaker box and recessed cans. What do I do with the wires coming out of the outlet and light switch boxes?
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Old 07-28-2012, 11:03 AM   #14
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power to multiple light switch locations


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Originally Posted by fullsail View Post

I'm hoping to have my rough-in inspection done this week. Any tips on what to expect. I'm assuming I hook up the entire circuit breaker box and recessed cans. What do I do with the wires coming out of the outlet and light switch boxes?
I don't tie my homeruns into the panel usually, unless time allows, but I make up every splice, fire caulk, nail plate (if needed) .... you basically want everything that is going to get covered up complete so the inspector can check it off his list.
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