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Old 07-07-2015, 04:27 PM   #1
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Redoing basement electrical.


At my house, this is the junction box for the basement—the whole basement. It powers lighting (9 bulbs), the furnace blower, and three outlets which power the washer, dehumidifier, dishwasher, and one outside outlet (none of which is grounded). How many circuits do I need to divvy this up into and for what? I also plan on putting an old television and work bench down there as well as an upright freezer. Note the majority of the wiring is 60 year old fabric wrapped stuff with the junctions taped together.

The wiring as it is in the photo is: supply from the pale wire on the left, the new yellow on the left is to a switch for all the lights and outside outlet, the top right is the two washers and dehumidifier, the top right grey is half the lighting, the bottom right grey is the other half plus the outside outlet, and the bottom right pale wire is the furnace blower and one unused outlet.
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Old 07-07-2015, 05:47 PM   #2
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Redoing basement electrical.


The furnace and washer per code need their own circuit, so that's two. The dishwasher is best being on its own considering most run at around 10amps, though not required to be dedicated. The dehumidifier and fridge can go on the same circuit, and I highly recommend a 20amp circuit just for your work bench. That's 5 so far.

As for the lights a single circuit is best, but if looking to save on slots you can tie some of them into the dishwasher circuit and others into the fridge/dehumidifier circuit provided the total load does not exceed 15 or 20amps depending on what size circuit you choose.

6 circuits are what Id go for.

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Old 07-07-2015, 05:55 PM   #3
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Redoing basement electrical.


Old homes had everything into a few junction boxes. When we moved into our home, there were originally 4 circuits. Down in the basement you had lights on each junction box.

Once you start splitting things apart and either use junction boxes for each Romex is for each room, you will find that you will quickly fill up a panel.

Lighting can go on one, maybe two circuits. Each Bedroom should be on its own circuit for outlets. Basement can be on one circuit for outlets, one for lighting, along with stairwell lighting.

Kitchen & Living room, along with entrance lights can go on one circuit, as long as you do not have a bunch of lighting cans in both rooms.
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Old 07-07-2015, 05:58 PM   #4
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Redoing basement electrical.


When I rewired my house, I went from 8 circuits that were originally in a fuse panel, before the seller had a Breaker panel installed. Very quickly went to 30 circuits, when I started fixing things.

If you are able to fish new Romex to the outlets upstairs. You can then ground the circuits.
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Old 07-07-2015, 07:21 PM   #5
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Redoing basement electrical.


Would it be best to do a subpanel for the basement then? I might have enough space in my current box to add a double breaker. It's a small box that replaced a four fuse box and is mounted in the wall of the stairwell opposite the door. I have to use a broom handle to flip the breakers.

Grounding to the upstairs outlets won't work as they aren't grounded either. The first floor is divided into three circuits: kitchen, dining and living rooms, and then the bedrooms and bathroom on the other. The only thing grounded at the moment is the breaker box. That is a whole other project as the attic is sealed up.
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Old 07-07-2015, 08:46 PM   #6
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Redoing basement electrical.


If you need to use a broom stick to acces your current panel there are probably an long sheet of paper of code violations. Keep it simple, redo the the current panel and expand it. I went from. 20 circuit panel to a 32 circuit panel and generator interlock . Cost me 500 bucks for the parts and the electrician. Granted I didn't have to move it. Somehow on this board some seem to have a fascination with sub panels . Yeah, it you have a detached garage or your own machine shop, it makes sense. Otherwise, just expand the current panel.
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Old 07-07-2015, 09:25 PM   #7
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You are going to have to unseal the attic to fix the issue. As for that panel, post a picture of this panel that needs an acrobatic act to access.
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Old 07-07-2015, 09:32 PM   #8
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Redoing basement electrical.


Quote:
Originally Posted by trekkiejt View Post
Would it be best to do a subpanel for the basement then? I might have enough space in my current box to add a double breaker. It's a small box that replaced a four fuse box and is mounted in the wall of the stairwell opposite the door. I have to use a broom handle to flip the breakers.

Grounding to the upstairs outlets won't work as they aren't grounded either. The first floor is divided into three circuits: kitchen, dining and living rooms, and then the bedrooms and bathroom on the other. The only thing grounded at the moment is the breaker box. That is a whole other project as the attic is sealed up.


I would do a subpanel then, unless you feel comfortable as others say. outing in a bigger main. Also the panel needs to be better accessible. Can you post a pic of it?


As for grounding those outlets you have 3 options:

1. Pull new wire

2. Run a ground wire along side the old wires

3. Install GFCI outlets and use the sticker in the box "no equipment ground"
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Old 07-08-2015, 04:39 AM   #9
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Redoing basement electrical.


I'll take a couple photos of it when I get home this afternoon. As for the first floor, I've replaced some of the outlets with GFCIs and a couple with new two prong outlets. I have replaced all the switches and all but one of the light fixtures. The rest will have to wait but the basement I can do now as its unfinished.
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Old 07-08-2015, 05:07 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by jimn01 View Post
.................Somehow on this board some seem to have a fascination with sub panels . Yeah, it you have a detached garage or your own machine shop, it makes sense. Otherwise, just expand the current panel.
Adding a sub if you need additional space is usually cheaper and easier that replacing the existing panel. Does not require a POCO shutdown nor taking existing circuits out of service.
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Old 07-08-2015, 05:26 AM   #11
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Redoing basement electrical.


I don't mind subpanels. There are two already, one in/for the garage with two fuses and another in the basement for the A/C with a couple fuses. If I do a subpanel for the basement, should I use a 60 amp box attached with 10/2 to two 30 amp breakers? When the previous owners replaced the original fuse box with a breaker box they had the service upgraded to 100 amps.
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Old 07-08-2015, 06:24 AM   #12
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Redoing basement electrical.


I wonder why the furnace needs its own circuit (it's natural gas)? The label lists it's draw at 2 amps which means 4 amps at startup. Modern blowers use 1/4 of that (at least the one my friend just had installed; it lists 0.6 amp draw).

On the same note, could I install a battery backup inline on that blower? When the power is out during the winter the only thing I miss is the warm air from the vents.
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Old 07-08-2015, 07:23 AM   #13
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Redoing basement electrical.


Or would it be better to install a new large breaker box on the basement foundation wall (where it is within reach) and run #6 copper wire from a couple 50 amp breakers (one on each side of the original breaker box) to power the new panel six feet over and four feet down and run the whole house from the new panel? That would be time consuming and a little more expensive but not overly difficult.
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Old 07-08-2015, 12:03 PM   #14
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Redoing basement electrical.


Quote:
Originally Posted by trekkiejt View Post
I wonder why the furnace needs its own circuit (it's natural gas)? The label lists it's draw at 2 amps which means 4 amps at startup. Modern blowers use 1/4 of that (at least the one my friend just had installed; it lists 0.6 amp draw).

On the same note, could I install a battery backup inline on that blower? When the power is out during the winter the only thing I miss is the warm air from the vents.
2 amps just for the blower? Are you sure its not the inducer? Either way I get your concern, and it would work in reality, but its one of those silly code rules:

Quote:

422.12 Central Heating Equipment. Central heating
equipment other than fixed electric space-heating equipment
shall be supplied by an individual branch circuit.
Exception No. 1: Auxiliary equipment, such as a pump,
valve, humidifier, or electrostatic air cleaner directly associated
with the heating equipment, shall be permitted to be
connected to the same branch circuit.
Exception No. 2: Permanently connected air-conditioning
equipment shall be permitted to be connected to the same
branch circuit.
You may install an inline UPS if you wish, but that would be another set of requirements. For one you would need a true sine wave inverter UPS. A generator would be a cheaper option.
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Old 07-08-2015, 12:06 PM   #15
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Redoing basement electrical.


Quote:
Originally Posted by trekkiejt View Post
Or would it be better to install a new large breaker box on the basement foundation wall (where it is within reach) and run #6 copper wire from a couple 50 amp breakers (one on each side of the original breaker box) to power the new panel six feet over and four feet down and run the whole house from the new panel? That would be time consuming and a little more expensive but not overly difficult.
I will have to see pics, but tis doable.

If your home Depot has 2/3 AL SER you could run the whole home from a 80 or 90amp breaker, but this assume you don't have any large electrical demands in the home, which judging by your comments so far your home doesn't pull much power.

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