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-   -   Wiring garages/outdoor The Right Way? (http://www.diychatroom.com/f18/wiring-garages-outdoor-right-way-19327/)

lanispet 03-31-2008 06:22 PM

Wiring garages/outdoor The Right Way?
 
Okay, the previous owner of our house was a retired carpenter, and so he built an attached garage and deck himself. Did nice work. However, he also did the wiring himself, and that was pretty dodgy. Worst example was taking 14/2 indoor-rated Romex and running it from the electrical box, across the crawlspace, through a hole drilled in the foundation (sealed around the wire with silicone) and up to the deck to an outlet and a ceiling fan, mostly stapled to the deck structure. No GFCI, and did i mention that he just stuck the hot wire into a 20A breaker that was already feeding another circuit? Oof. :mad:

So, I'm trying to get this kind of junk fixed up and done correctly, but the home-improvement books I've come across spend more time on indoor wiring.
I haven't found anything that says "for a deck, get this kind of box, support it in this manner, seal it in this manner, use this kind of strain relief", etc. If I use outdoor-rated Romex, can it still just be stapled, or does it need to be in conduit?

Then for the attached garage... the walls are bare studs. So all the connections are made in outlet boxes, with the wire just stapled to the studs. Again, all 14ga and 15A outlets on a 20A breaker. The wires are fed along the ceiling, and drop down to each outlet through a 1" hole in the header... I'm guessing that at least that part is fine.

However, I plan to do a lot of work IN the garage (automotive hobbyist and general tinkerer). So, I'm insulating the walls, and I'm not sure what has to be changed other than the mis-matched breaker. I assume there should be a GFCI breaker for this branch?

Also, the header is at 12', and the outlets are all daisy-chained, so it seems like there is a lot of wire being wasted doing those runs. My thought was that if I mount a junction box up on the header, and do parallel runs from there, rather than the existing serial wiring, I shouldn't need as much wire (I'm planning to add several outlets in a relatively small area where my workbench is). Is there anything wrong with doing this?

I have a good understanding of circuits from all the 12V car & bike stuff i've done, but all of the legal & safety stuff gets confusing...

Thanks,

...dave

handyman78 03-31-2008 07:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lanispet (Post 112669)
Okay, the previous owner of our house was a retired carpenter, and so he built an attached garage and deck himself. Did nice work. However, he also did the wiring himself, and that was pretty dodgy. Worst example was taking 14/2 indoor-rated Romex and running it from the electrical box, across the crawlspace, through a hole drilled in the foundation (sealed around the wire with silicone) and up to the deck to an outlet and a ceiling fan, mostly stapled to the deck structure. No GFCI, and did i mention that he just stuck the hot wire into a 20A breaker that was already feeding another circuit? Oof. :mad:
Dave, You have noticed all of the glaring violations here: 14g wire with 20a breaker, indoor Romex used outdoor, no Gfci, multi wires on one breaker, cable exposed to potential damage. I personally would have used conduit to protect the wire from the foundation outward, also use exterior boxes for any connections outdoors.

So, I'm trying to get this kind of junk fixed up and done correctly, but the home-improvement books I've come across spend more time on indoor wiring. Take a look at outdoor construction and renovation books or advanced wiring books- they should address these issues.
I haven't found anything that says "for a deck, get this kind of box, support it in this manner, seal it in this manner, use this kind of strain relief", etc. You probably won't find this type of answer- this is where an understanding of WHY is necessary not just HOW. If I use outdoor-rated Romex, can it still just be stapled, or does it need to be in conduit? Go with conduit for protection.

Then for the attached garage... the walls are bare studs. So all the connections are made in outlet boxes, with the wire just stapled to the studs. Again, all 14ga and 15A outlets on a 20A breaker. The wires are fed along the ceiling, and drop down to each outlet through a 1" hole in the header... I'm guessing that at least that part is fine. You can either use multiple 15a or 20a outlets on a 20a circuit, but you MUST use 12g wire in this situation. 15a outlets are less expensive than 20a in the same quality.

However, I plan to do a lot of work IN the garage (automotive hobbyist and general tinkerer). So, I'm insulating the walls, and I'm not sure what has to be changed other than the mis-matched breaker. I assume there should be a GFCI breaker for this branch? GFCI Breaker or Gfci outlet at the start of and feeding the rest of the circuit.

Also, the header is at 12', and the outlets are all daisy-chained, so it seems like there is a lot of wire being wasted doing those runs. Are you saying the wire runs down to the box then up to the header again? Daisy chaining is not necessary if you have covered junction boxes at the top of each outlet branch.

My thought was that if I mount a junction box up on the header, and do parallel runs from there, rather than the existing serial wiring, I shouldn't need as much wire

You could have a line around the garage at the 12' level then anywhere you need an outlet place a junction box at that spot and drop conduit down to a wall mounted outlet box in a T formation. I would use 12g for every outlet in the garage.

lanispet 04-03-2008 05:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by handyman78 (Post 112689)
You could have a line around the garage at the 12' level then anywhere you need an outlet place a junction box at that spot and drop conduit down to a wall mounted outlet box in a T formation. I would use 12g for every outlet in the garage.

Thanks, I figured that should work, i just wanted to check... guess he had more wire than junction boxes, or something.

So is conduit necessary for inside the garage walls just because it's a garage? i was hoping that with the insulation it wouldn't be necessary...

handyman78 04-04-2008 09:03 AM

Not for the whole line but I would have it from the wall box up to a safe height. The conduit is to prevent accident with the cable especially in a garage or workshop. You shouldn't need it along the header but you certainly could. Also, the line across the header should be well supported too (staples or other support). My garage has EMT from the wall box (about 4') to just about 7' from the floor.

Now I am assuming the boxes are surface mounted, not in the studs as a finished wall. I have surface mounted in my garage since the walls were finished with firecode drywall and I wanted more outlets available and didn't want to cut up the drywall and fish wires for a garage. If you are placing boxes in the wall then insulating & drywalling over, then no conduit is necessary as this is the same as a normal interior wall.

HouseHelper 04-04-2008 10:22 AM

Couple of other points:
If you are planning to finish the walls and ceilings, any junction boxes you install must remain accessible.

All 120V 15A and 20A garage receptacles must be GFCI protected. The exception (prior to the 2008 code) is for a refrigerator or freezer that occupies the space in front of a receptacle, rendering it inaccessible for normal use.

lanispet 04-04-2008 11:32 AM

Thanks for the clarification. The walls are currently bare studs, so the boxes will be mounted through the drywall and the wires run behind it.

As far as leaving the boxes accessible- what would make them inaccessible? Just being closed in behind drywall or a ceiling, or do they have to be at a certain height, or ?


Thanks!

handyman78 04-04-2008 12:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by lanispet (Post 113790)
As far as leaving the boxes accessible- what would make them inaccessible? Just being closed in behind drywall or a ceiling, or do they have to be at a certain height, or ?
Thanks!

Inaccessible is where some have placed junction boxes in a wall and "hiding" them with drywall or other wall covering. You can have them on the ceiling as long as there is a plate over the box allowing access. Occasionally I have seen where a wire was cut short and a jbox placed like it was just a connector. All boxes need access to the user, usually through a blank plate which can be seen from the face of the drywall. Using an outlet or switch if appropriate can also accomplish the same goal.


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