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I'm about to start finishing off our basement, the finished area will be 1000 sq ft. I plan to put in about 10 or 12 recessed cans and the obliglatory number of wall outlets. What is the way to determin how many circuits that I will need to use for this? I was thinking about using the exsisting circuit for what will remain as the unfinished storage area (about 600 sq ft) and adding two new additional 20 amp circuits for the lights and outlets in the finished area.

Is that over board or about right?
 

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What are you planning on putting down there? E.g. Electric exercise equipment + a large home theater system = more circuits. If you're just going to use it as a playroom for the kids or something, then you'd be OK with 2x 20A, or less.

My thought would be to plan for the future regardless; put the lights on one 15 or 20A circuit, and run 2x 20A circuits for the receptacles. It's relatively cheap and easy to run extra circuits before the drywall goes up. More is always better, but others will say "why bother?".
 

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I would follow Scott's advice.

Lights on dedicated circuit.
at least 2 15amp (20 is better) for outlets.
If you thought you might put an entertainment center or TV down there dont forget to run some RG6 to it (at least two runs).
 

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I would double up rooms for each circuit. So four rooms = 2 circuits. At the location of the entertainment center, I would provide at least one dedicated circuit, and a circuit for the bathroom. Put in at least two lighting circuits, so that you aren't left completely in the dark if somehow you trip a breaker. Use fan rated boxes for your regular lights and provide bracing. Run 14-3 (or 12-3) to them from the switch box, which I would make double gang even if not installing a fan just yet. Little things like this don't cost that much now, and save a whole lot of work if you want to add something in the future.


Also, conduit is cheap, so you might want to run maybe two 1" conduits to the location of your entertainment center from some accessible portion of the basement. Overhead projectors are popular, so maybe a receptacle in the ceiling along with an empty pipe to the entertainment center. Now is a good time to wire for future audio. Contrary to what audiophiles say, there is no need to by the super-expensive cables for this

You could even put the boxes in, and run blue smurf tubing to them, so that you are covered for any future technological upgrades. Don't forget the smoke and CO alarms.
 

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CAT-5e is only needed, unless a person feels like in 4-6 years when 10gb starts to come about, having the ability to do so. Otherwise, Cat-5e will run gb with no problems.
 
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