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Old 02-05-2008, 09:30 AM   #1
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Running New Wiring to Attic


I'm in the process of finishing the attic in my new house. I am going to split it into 2 bedrooms. Each of these bedrooms needs an electric baseboard heater and an outlet for window air conditioners.

Over the years I have been able to do many things myself, but I haven't done much electric work except changing lights, switches, and outlets.

I think the process should go...
-Determine the size/type wiring needed to handle this load
-Determine if there is room in the box for this...if so plan on adding a breaker
-Determine how run wiring from the basement up to the attic.

I appreciate any advice and information on this.

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Old 02-06-2008, 12:06 PM   #2
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Running New Wiring to Attic


My advice to you is to run a seperate circuit for all the baseboard heaters and air cond. units. Then you can run your circuitry to whatever else you need in the attic. If you wanted to go a little cheaper and easier by not having to add as many breakers, you could run the circuit for the heater and the ac unit together since they propbably won't be on at the same time, I hope. As for adding the breakers, if you are out of room in your box there are a couple of ways to get around that. One would be to get the manufactures name and model of the electrical box and buy some thin breakers, they are half the size of regular breakers. The other method would be to run a sub-panel out of your main box to the extra one. If you need to make room for it, just take a couple circuits out of the main panel and feed them into the sub-panel. You will need to make sure that you feed your sub-panel with a big enough wire to carry the load you are putting on them.

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Old 02-06-2008, 12:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by PCC View Post
I'm in the process of finishing the attic in my new house. I am going to split it into 2 bedrooms. Each of these bedrooms needs an electric baseboard heater and an outlet for window air conditioners.

Over the years I have been able to do many things myself, but I haven't done much electric work except changing lights, switches, and outlets.

I think the process should go...
-Determine the size/type wiring needed to handle this load
-Determine if there is room in the box for this...if so plan on adding a breaker
-Determine how run wiring from the basement up to the attic.

I appreciate any advice and information on this.

The general outlets and lighting for these 2 bedrooms *may* be able to be put all on the same circuit, depending on the sizes of the room. If you plan to have 1 ceiling light in each and roughly 4 or 5 outlets in each room then you should be okay. You will probably want to use 14/2 wiring for them. also, the bedrooms need to have an arc fault breaker.

as for the heating and ac units, you would need to determine what size they are going to be, but *chances are* you can run the baseboard heaters on a single 20AMP 240volt citcuit wired with 12/3... or possiblly a 30amp circuit wired with 10/3... but it will all depend on what type of wattage they are. for the a/c, most common smaller window units will only need a 20amp 120volt circuit with 12/2, but if you get a bigger unit they may need 240volt feed of either 20 or 30amps EACH.
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Old 02-06-2008, 02:15 PM   #4
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Running New Wiring to Attic


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Originally Posted by arichard21 View Post
The general outlets and lighting for these 2 bedrooms *may* be able to be put all on the same circuit, depending on the sizes of the room. If you plan to have 1 ceiling light in each and roughly 4 or 5 outlets in each room then you should be okay. You will probably want to use 14/2 wiring for them. also, the bedrooms need to have an arc fault breaker.

as for the heating and ac units, you would need to determine what size they are going to be, but *chances are* you can run the baseboard heaters on a single 20AMP 240volt citcuit wired with 12/3... or possiblly a 30amp circuit wired with 10/3... but it will all depend on what type of wattage they are. for the a/c, most common smaller window units will only need a 20amp 120volt circuit with 12/2, but if you get a bigger unit they may need 240volt feed of either 20 or 30amps EACH.
Since when are 240V heating circuits wired with XX/3 wire?
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Old 02-06-2008, 02:41 PM   #5
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you are right, and thats waht i MEANT to say...
it would be with xx/2 for the heating, but the ac most likely would be 120/240 volt requiring a neutral, there fore requiring xx/3.

Last edited by arichard21; 02-06-2008 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 02-06-2008, 05:14 PM   #6
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you are right, and thats waht i MEANT to say...
it would be with xx/2 for the heating, but the ac most likely would be 120/240 volt requiring a neutral, there fore requiring xx/3.

I doubt it... never seen a ac unit at 120/240 yet...
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Old 02-06-2008, 06:04 PM   #7
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Most newer ones have digital timers and thermostats, wouldn't that require a neutral??
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Old 02-06-2008, 06:39 PM   #8
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Running New Wiring to Attic


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Most newer ones have digital timers and thermostats, wouldn't that require a neutral??

useally no.

because most digital controller device do have a transformer build in so they can use the common one for both straight 120 v A/C and 240V A/C the reason why they do that so they can keep the manufactering cost down and almost all of them used the relay to turn the unit on or off as need to.

Merci, Marc
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Old 02-06-2008, 07:10 PM   #9
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Running New Wiring to Attic


To answer some of your questions, I personally would run a 12-2 to each AC location, this way you can buy a 120v OR a 240v unit...

To size the heat circuits, remember you have to add 125% to fixed electric heat, so a 20a circuit at 240v * 80% would = 3840 watts, and if each foot of electric heat were to equal 250 watts that would mean a maximum of 15' of electric heat per 20a circuit... mileage may very... and depending on the size and type of use for each bedroom I would probably feed each room on its own 15 amp circuit... hope this helps...


Also, most electric baseboard heaters do not allow receptacles to be installed above them, so take extra care in your layout of heat and receptacles..

Last edited by chris75; 02-06-2008 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 02-07-2008, 06:15 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
useally no.

because most digital controller device do have a transformer build in so they can use the common one for both straight 120 v A/C and 240V A/C the reason why they do that so they can keep the manufactering cost down and almost all of them used the relay to turn the unit on or off as need to.

Merci, Marc

Well, ya learn something new every day.




PCC, also don't forget to plan for cable/phone/internet if you desire it in those rooms, as well as if your house has an interconnected smoke system you *might* have to add smoke detectors connected to the others.
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Old 02-08-2008, 11:14 AM   #11
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Wow thanks for the feedback and for not blasting my post...looking back i can see it could seem scary for a newbie asking a question like this. I usually do alot of planning before i start working. I bought a book on wiring and I'm going to get more familiar with everything.
I'm getting an electrician to come out today and give me an estimate, but this will be my last resort. I also have a friend of friend who's is ceritified coming out to look at...hopefully we can work out cheaply with a case of beer thrown in. Either way I'll keep posting about progress and try to get some pictures too.

I forgot to mention that there are already 2 lights and 2 outlets run up there. I'm need at minimum 2 outlets in each room, 3 will be plently...one in each will be setup by a window for the AC units. These are student rentals and the kids will have TVs (and accesories), computers, and the AC's in the summer.
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Old 02-08-2008, 03:54 PM   #12
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Running New Wiring to Attic


Don't think you can decide how many outlets each room needs. There's a code for that. You need to circuit them at 3 watts per sq. ft. One 15a circuit is 1800 watts, so if the total space is 600 sq ft or less, you need one circuit.

If these rooms are small, say 12x15 or less, it'll be unlikely an a/c unit will be 220 volts. 2 small 6000 btu units can easily run off one 20a circuit.

As for the electric heat - we don't use it here as electricity price is outrageous. But I thought that no matter the load, you cannot share an electric baseboard circuit between different rooms?
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Old 02-08-2008, 04:09 PM   #13
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. But I thought that no matter the load, you cannot share an electric baseboard circuit between different rooms?
Why not? You do need to meet the requirements of 424.19 (B) but a simple breaker lock would suffice...

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