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BillK 02-12-2007 11:59 PM

Wiring question
I need to make space in my Load center to add another circuit. I would like to take a branch that runs a light and a gfi in a bathroom and tie it into the 20A breaker that is running 5 outlets. I have conduit in the walls and the easiest way to do this is to run a hot wire to one of the existing outlets. I can do this with out tearing the wall up by running an extra wire back through the loadcenter and then to the outlet.
Is it against code for me to run a wire back through the loadcenter??

jproffer 02-13-2007 12:09 AM

What size wire is going to the GFI and light? If it's 14g, there's no reason to pursue this any further unless you can change the conductors to 12g.

Also, some local codes require a dedicated circuit to a bathroom.

BillK 02-13-2007 12:27 AM

It is all 12 g wire in case i wanted to add a 20A breaker and outlet at a later time.

Selling the house and I don't want this to be flagged if I proceed.

Speedy Petey 02-13-2007 05:47 AM

I don't get it. You have a "branch" that runs a bath light and receptacle, and want to tie it into another circuit that runs 5 receptacles? You make is sound as if both are already powered. Is one part new?

In any case it is not normally legal, or wise, to extend a bathroom circuit to other rooms.
I would run another circuit.

Also as a side note, unless the circuits are really long, there is NO reason to use 15 amp breakers on #12. You are not saving anything for later. You are simply holding back 5 amps of potential current.
If you run #12, use 20 amp breakers.

BillK 02-13-2007 09:51 AM

Hey Speedy Petey, Thanks for the reply.

I am trying to make space for another breaker because my panel is currently full. Current panel does not accept tandem breakers unless you use a different manufacturers breaker which is a no no. Also unlike the Square D QO and HOMELINE breakers I can only run one hot wire off of the single pole breaker.

Trying to combine a few things to gain some space. After rechecking I do have 20A to both the Powder room and the outlets I spoke of. 20A brkr and 20A GFI.
I want to combine the bathroom with the outlets to free up the one breaker. The easiest way to do it is remove the old hot wire running to the switch, then run a hot from the switch back through the loadcenter and follow the conduit to the first outlet and tap it there. Is this legal??

I checked my existing panel wiring config and the other 2 bathrooms in the house share a breaker with an ajoining room so it must not be a code issue around Chicago. This rarely used powder room is also in a basement.

Thanks for your input.

joed 02-13-2007 04:33 PM

Under the NEC code you can not combine the bathroom receptacle with receptacles in other rooms.

Speedy Petey 02-13-2007 05:51 PM

Bathrooms codes have been changing every cycle.
It is not at all uncommon to see baths wired with other rooms. This is not to say this is code today or that it makes sense.
The bath lighting can be combined with other rooms, unless it is also sharing the receptacles.
Bottom line is do not share bath receptacle circuits with other rooms. You'll stay happier if you follow this rule of thumb.

RippySkippy 02-14-2007 06:22 AM


Originally Posted by BillK (Post 33283)
Hey Speedy Petey, Thanks for the reply.

I am trying to make space for another breaker because my panel is currently full....

Do you have room to add a sub-panel? In the long run it may cause you less fuss than messing with existing circuits. If your selling the house, it might be something for the new buyer to work through...


geeyathink 02-14-2007 11:34 PM

I am probably under thinking this but, if you want to combine two cirtcuits to free up a breaker then pull the wires off the two breakers, wire nut them together and add a pigtail, then land that back onto one of the breakers.
What am I missing?

Stubbie 02-15-2007 02:17 AM

What your missing is he may be exceeding the panel listing as to maximum number of circuits. The panel is listed for so many circuits. If I had a panel listed for 12 circuits and all spaces are occupied by 12 single pole breakers (panel does not take tandems) and I did what you suggest to 3 single pole breakers... I would now have exceeded the panel listing by 3 circuits to 15 circuits. Or if I had a 6 space panel 100 amps and it listed at 12 circuits, then I know if I install 6 tandem breakers I have met the maximum panel listing for number of circuits. I am not allowed to exceed this based on ul and NEC regulations and articles. Some circuit breakers such as square d QO are listed to place two hot wires under the pressure plate of the breaker. In all panelboards, however, UL has limitations on the number of circuits,tandem breakers and so forth that can be installed in a panel to protect against unwanted excessive temperature rises on the panel buses.


geeyathink 02-18-2007 09:24 AM

Thanks Stubbie,
Extending a circuit (while remaining within its ampacity) may be differant than adding a circuit. I think there woud be no violation from that alone. Of course one would need to stay away from all the non-general purpose circuits.

On occaision I have free'd up a slot by doing a load calc and balance analysis on the general purpose circuits and found ample ampacity to extend or combine circuits. Most often but not exclusively if I find extremely lightly loaded general purpose circuits its at the "other end" of the residence away from the panel. I guess because of being in a hurry to get r done It seems (only a guess)that some installers tend to start closest to the panel when they start pulling circuits and just load them up with outlets as they go, and sometimes wind up with one or two very lighty loaded circuits as the last ones they put in. I find lighting circuits that are loaded with 6 or 8 amps with every light turned on. Likewise I find receptacle circuits with six or so receptacles, not that the number of receptacles matters except to our particular case, but do you see my point that they were never balanced. in the first place. Sometimes I find 5 or 6 receptacles on balconies and porches that never get used, on a 20 amp GFCI breaker by themselves.

If the general purpose load calc calls for 4 circuits and there are 6 installed I have no qualms with extending or combining circuits if it brings the altered circuits more into line with the overall balance anyway.
Doesn't happen all the time but when it does it seems to me as good as or better than changing out or adding additional panels to get one more circuit for a residential application.

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