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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello Everyone,

I'm am looking to do a bit of rewiring in my basement. Before anyone tells me to hire a professional, I have tried. I've contacted 2 separate companies and no one has called me back. I'm a big DIYer so I figured I'd give this a shot. I have been researching the past 2 weeks so I'm not trying to gloss over the dangers of working with electricity. Anyways our basement had 6 recessed lights and a fan on a dimmer/fan switch. there was a built in closet with a light that I tore out, and a light in the 'hallway" between the main area and the closet.

What I am looking to do is create 2 dimming zones with 4 recessed lights wired to their own dimmer and put the fan on its own switch. I tired to use as much of the existing wiring as possible hence the funky layout to some of the cans. All the wires will terminate into a 3 gang box where the power in will be. I plan on using those ideal quick push-in connectors because I feel like I do more damage to the wire twisting them ( thoughts?). If you could look over my layout and let me know what you think I would appreciate it. See the drawing and a few questions below:

General Questions:
1) Should I be concerned with the amount of devices and outlets on the 15 amp line? I know other factors come into play, but is it something I should be looking into? The recessed lights will be using 43w eco bulbs eventually switching over to LEDs.

2) Since this is a remodel I have limited access ( dry walled ceiling). Reading through tutorials I see that stapling the wire at a min of 12" before the light receptacle is considered up to code. What do you do in situations where stapling the wire is impossible? Is a loose wire acceptable?

3) Does the below diagram have too many junction boxes? Junction box 3 is there so that the line to the lights in my closet isn't in the 3 gang box ( save some space).

4) Are there any other general tips for a first timer other than make sure you aren't working with live lines and all your connections are secure?

Thanks ! ! !

*** Update - Forgot to draw the power into the fan. It appears to be tired into the wall outlet (15amp / separate line) circuit. The wire to the gang back is just a switch control.***
 

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1)Without knowing where you are located it is impossible to answer all your questions. In Canada there is a limit on the number of outlets and lights on any one circuit. Other places in the world have different limits and ways of calculating them. Knowing your location will also determine what year of code you need to adhere to, whether a permit is required or if you are even allowed to do your own electrical work. Your city, state (province) is close enough for a location.

2)Stapling wires is not required if the wire is fished through a finished wall.

3)More junction boxes (and the resulting splices) are often just more possible trouble spots.

4) A project like this is reasonable easy enough for a first project. Take your time and neatness counts. Ask questions.

Can you also tell us what type of wiring is existing that you want to reuse? It may be well worth your while to replace it.
 

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Unless it is commercial work, we never tell people to go hire a professional, unless they get too far over their head on something that they need the extra help.

Pretty much everything has been answered. If you are using standard bulbs right now, you have to calculate for that, even though you plan on switching over to LED Retro kits later on.

Just remember that what you put on paper is not always the route you end up taking. Depending on how you plan on controlling the lights and the use for the space, figure to maybe use a 3-way switch at two points. Especially if you have a entry door down there from the outside or have Bedroom or Office space. You can get by with using a controller that you can use your smartphone or tablet to dim lights, if you have a tv setup down there.

The other is that not always may you be able to bring the branch circuit feed from the breaker panel to the switches, so you end up using a Switch Leg at a fixture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for all the help so far. I will try to answer all your questions.

1) As far as location I am in Cranberry Twp, PA.
2)The only junction box I am adding is "Jnt3". All others are existing.
3)The junction box will be accessible to an extent. I was going to place it at the top of the wall behind my stacked washer/dryer. So you can get to it if you move those devices. Is that acceptable?
4) The basement was redone around 2012, so all the existing wiring is 14-2 nomex.
5) it's a small finished basement with only one acess door, so running 3 pole dimmers is not required.

Hope that helps clear things up a bit. Thanks.
 

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It has to be accessible without having to move anything. All you need is a removable panel as what is used to cover shutoffs in ceilings.

The water shutoffs for the stack unit, should also be able to get to, either with a secondary shutoff, and one of the units that turns the water off with a flood sensor and when the wash cycle is done.

You are on the right path to do this. Asking and jotting notes from replies, is how you cover your bases.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
OK thanks. Yes the shut offs to the stacked washer and dryer are accessible from the side. After I slept on it last night I decided to try and contact 2 more electricians to see if I can get an estimate. If its reasonable I will most likely just go with them for peace of mind. That is if I even hear back from them. Thanks for all the help !
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Still nothing back from 2 more companies. In effort to simplify everything I think I am just going to keep all the recessed lights on 1 dimmer. I have a 600w mat switch so I should be good there. My question is this. since I am utilizing a lot of the existing wire I have a slightly unorthodox method of daisy chaining the recessed lights. See the drawing below. I don't have the ability to run the lights in a typical circular pattern. Is something like this acceptable? Thanks all !
 

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As long as the cans are where you want them, running the wire is not always going to be the path that you want. Especially if you are trying to save money by reusing what was already there, as long as it was not damaged or you have to connect multiple sections.

The Ideal Connectors that allow for Butt Splices on Romex, can be placed into the wall without any problems, since they are rated as a proper Junction. The Ideal connectors where you insert the wire ends into, are treated like wire nuts and have to go into a Junction box.

If your county requires a sign off, follow the rules. Even if they do not, stay by the rules and keep this drawing with notes in a packet that you can keep by the Breaker Panel for future reference for you or if you plan on selling the home later on down the road.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yep. I am only using the ideal push connectors inside the gangbox. The Halo cans I have already use them so connecting everything was a cinch. All the lights are up and running now. Just need to swing by the depot in the AM and grab a speed control for the fan. Thanks to everyone that offered their advice and help !

So a general question. what happens if the ground wires touch say a black terminal on the switches? Does the whole system short circuit and shut off? When replacing some old buzzing/arcing switches I noticed whom ever installed them wrapped the terminals in tape. Is this common practice? Should I consider doing this in the new gang box I installed as a precautionary measure?

Lastly just out of curiosity. Say the new wire I ran comes in contact with the light can in anyways. Is there a possibility of the wire melting or being damaged in anyway? Do they can housings get that hot? I tired to route the wire as far away from the cans as possible to in case. They are all rated IC too if that has any bearing.
 

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If hot touches ground or Neutral, in theory it should trip the breaker or fuse, unless it is time delayed. If AFCI, it should immediately trip the breaker, since it would see it as a current leakage.
 

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If hot touches ground or Neutral, in theory it should trip the breaker or fuse, unless it is time delayed. If AFCI, it should immediately trip the breaker, since it would see it as a current leakage.

A time delay fuse still blows on a short circuit. And please show me what a "time delay" residential circuit breaker looks like. Yes I know residential circuit breakers have a time current curve, but several hundred amps will still trip one.
 

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If hot touches ground or Neutral, in theory it should trip the breaker or fuse, unless it is time delayed. If AFCI, it should immediately trip the breaker, since it would see it as a current leakage.
Greg, you really need to go back and study the basics. Please do the board a favor and limit yourself to posting things you really have knowledge of.
 

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It has to be accessible without having to move anything. All you need is a removable panel as what is used to cover shutoffs in ceilings.
Has to be readily accessible, not easily accessible. In my understanding that means not removing any building finishes(i.e drywall, cupboards, etc).

If it is behind a stacked washer and dryer and all you have to do is move them than the box is accessible.
 

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Readily accessible means you don't need a ladder or move things etc. Basically if you can walk right up to it and do whatever is needed it's readily accessible. Accessible means you don't have to alter the building to get to it. Jboxes should be accessible. As an example, GFCI'S should be readily accessible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Readily accessible means you don't need a ladder or move things etc. Basically if you can walk right up to it and do whatever is needed it's readily accessible. Accessible means you don't have to alter the building to get to it. Jboxes should be accessible. As an example, GFCI'S should be readily accessible.
Thanks for your reply ! So I'm guessing a junction box here is a no go :( ? Really stinks because the wire running to my closet lights and fan are too short to put the box anywhere else.
 

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Since you are using the Ideal connectors and that box is where it is at, it should be no issue. It is when you get those closets that in order to get the stacked units in, you have to assemble them in the closet and almost be a contortionist to do anything behind them or moving them out of the closet.

If you can get to it how it is, I see no issue. I take it that those closet doors that are to the left, are from you closing them when you stood in there to take the picture. Just do not make the comment that the significant other or kids have no problem when it comes to swapping washed to dryer.
 
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