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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Good evening Everyone -

I need some advice and I appreciate your time to look at my question. I keep getting different opinions on this and I am struggling to get past the planning stage on the electrical portion of this project. I have read and heard it is wise to keep lights and outlets on separate circuits then I see others wire them together per room using a 15A circuit.

I have attached a layout of my basement. The full basement is around 1400 sqft. I have 13 available spots in my panel. I will be doing new HVAC for the basement which will have a heat pump and air handler in the basement and these will need to utilize part of the 13 available. The outdoor unit already has a spot on the exterior panel.

Below are my plans for each room which is labeled on the attached layout. Could I get some opinions on how you would layout the circuits for this. Any help and advice will be appreciated.

I am located in Greenville, SC if that matters for code compliance.

Media - Can lights, Sconces lights, ceiling mounted projector, a/v equipment
Rec 1 - Can lights, billard light, 3 - wall lights, possibly an arcade unit or two eventually
Office - Standard home office. Ceiling fan, computer, home ink-jet printer
Hall - Nothing special
C1 - This is where my panel is. Also this is where my home alarm and home network gear is
C2 - HVAC is located here. The outlet here is for a potential HVAC dehumidifier
Rec2 - Sitting area, Can lights, Pendant lights, Large TV
Wet Bar - Couple of outlets, Will have a mini fridge
Bath - Standard bath room
Gym - Can lights, ceiling fan, treadmill
Gym Closets - Nothing special



- Chris
 

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I do like your drawing. That looks like something that I would create. I am one of the people that never mix power and lighting circuits. I do not like having to work in the dark or without power. But I have many available panels with many available spaces. Most older folks are like that, we did not grow up having all this battery powered lights and tools. For us, everything had to have electrical power available. I like having everything separate. I like having only half the outlets in a single room on a single circuit. I have a 200 amp panel for each floor of my house, and one 200 amp panel for the kitchen alone. I will not run out in my lifetime. You should see my plumbing. I can turn off any one half of any single device that is located any where in the house from two different locations. One is the central point in the basement, and the other is a hidden space in each of the rooms that has water.(Kitchen, Baths, Laundry, Outside Spigots, etc...) But that is another story all together.

For this layout, I would want to consider a sub panel with at least 30 spaces. For the outlets in the closets, I would just put them on the same circuit as the outlets in the room that is closest. Probably the same for the lighting circuits for the closets. I would have each type of lights on a single circuit. Can lights on a circuit and wall mount lights on a circuit. For the lights and outlets in your mechanical closets, everything on its own circuit. A little over kill there, but this is where you would do the most work, and you do not want to work in the dark, or without power. Bathroom, definitely fan, power and lighting separated. When you clean or replace the fan, it is nice to have lights and power to work by. For places like the Media and Office rooms, I would double or even quadruple the outlets in each faceplate. I don't like an uneven number, so 2 or 4 outlets per box. You always have more than two devices for a tv. Install enough outlets in a single set of boxes to not have a power strip. I really dislike those things. I never mix amperage, I use all 20 amp circuits. Keeps thing easy when purchasing breakers. All of mine are AFCI/GFCI, even thought they are not required every where. even though not required, I never space my outlets any more than 3 feet apart. Some even closer to each other.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thank you both for the replies. I cant help but to chuckle that out of two responses I got both ends of the spectrum.

1st reply - Everything on 2 maybe 3 circuits.
2nd reply - Sub panel with 30 spaces and everything on its own circuit.

The funny thing is I could actually talk myself into either one of these but what I think I am looking for is something in the middle. Below is sort of what I had in mind. Please poke holes in this. The obvious problem with this is it gives me a completely full panel so I need to either combine some circuits or do a sub-panel.

Media - 20amp for all outlets / 15amp for all lights (2)
Rec1 - 20amp for all outlets / 15 amp for all lights (2)
Office/ Hall - 15amp for both lights and outlets (1)
Rec2 - 20amp for outlets / 15 amp for lights (2)
Bath - 20amp for all (1)
Gym & Closest - 15amp for all (1)
C1 & C2 - 20amp outlets (1) (probably put lights on with Rec 1)
HVAC Unti (2)

- Chris
 

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Chris,
What TarheelTerp stated would work. I just do not like too many items on a circuit. When you have to turn off that one circuit, you kill a lot of items. Some you may want to keep running while working on others. I also tend to go above and beyond what is by some, considered normal. For instance, when I stated I like to have half of a room on a single circuit for power, the rooms in my house are much larger than normal. It is not uncommon for that single circuit for one half of the room to have a good 16 outlets on it. I try to never go above 12 outlets, even though not nearly all will be used at the same time. Some may never be used. But again, when the layout of the room changes, there will be some that are now not being used, being the most heavily used. My Dad taught me to always have multiple outlets in a single box for places like behind a tv or stereo system. And especially in the kitchen.
So as you see, there is no exact answer. Only that "It Depends". Or "either would work"
 

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Hi Chris, I realize your question is about electrical but we see a lot of basement plans here so I always look for a few details to help people avoid problems down the road.

Is this a completely dry basement?
What does code require for foundation insulation where you are?
I don't see any indication showing egress windows, might need more than one and they can be a pain?

Best,
Bud
 

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I cant help but to chuckle that out of two responses I got both ends of the spectrum. ... 1st reply - Everything on 2 maybe 3 circuits.
Everything on THREE (maybe FIVE). Plus the HVAC.

The deeper answer requires a load calculation.
But unless your office or gym equipment really draws it won't require much.
 

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"everything on three" - sure, if they gave out medals for saving breaker spaces. They do not. I was once FORCED to "get everything on three" because of conduit derate limitations. (circuit #4 was for bathroom GFCI). It's more trouble than it's worth.

I also do not like "one circuit per room" for a couple of reasons. First, circling the room with wire is silly. Second, you often have "that room" where somebody needs 3 circuits worth of stuff. I'd like 4 circuits per room, but that would be insane. Here's what's not insane:

1 circuit per wall.

That's a happy medium between wire savings and giving each room access to several circuits. E.G. this. Lighting is separate (not shown). Bathroom is 1x 20A per Code; and I show the other 6 here (BR is not on green). That's 7 recep circuits, same as you are contemplating but with a lot more versatility.
 

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HandyAndy plan would work but I would only do it if he was paying for it.

All the other responses I see no problems with there ideas, as your seeing there is code and than there is what people like to do to meet and exceed code.

I am going throw my opinions out there as well. I can't comment on code as I am in Canada.
2 circuits for lighting, this way you can loose one circuit and still have some light.
In the media room I would put all media equipment(projectors, receivers, tvs,) on a dedicated circuit.
If you ever think you would want an electric fireplace, run a dedicated circuit for it.
A lot of the general use/ convenience outlets can share a circuit.
Think of any areas that will have heavy use(bars, wood working equipment, exercise equipment) and run separate circuits for that.
Don't forget smoke alarms and interconnect them with some upstairs. There is no bedrooms but early detection of a fire in the basement may save your life.
 

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Treadmill should probably have a dedicated circuit. Also consider what type of lamp you are planning to put in the cans as this will determine the ampacity of the circuit. Bathrooms require dedicated 20 amp circuit and GFCI.
 

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Thank You Darren. :)
What is a few hundred dollars up front if it saves thousands in the long run of having to modify. I have done a lot of work after the fact for folks that always say "I wish I would have done that while building the ....." That type of work has made me a lot of money.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hi Chris, I realize your question is about electrical but we see a lot of basement plans here so I always look for a few details to help people avoid problems down the road.

Is this a completely dry basement?
What does code require for foundation insulation where you are?
I don't see any indication showing egress windows, might need more than one and they can be a pain?

Best,
Bud
Thanks Bud -

Yes this is a completely dry basement. New construction in 2018 and is a walk out. The back wall has windows spread across it however I could not add additional bedrooms due to septic sizing so I do not need any additional egress windows.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
"everything on three" - sure, if they gave out medals for saving breaker spaces. They do not. I was once FORCED to "get everything on three" because of conduit derate limitations. (circuit #4 was for bathroom GFCI). It's more trouble than it's worth.

I also do not like "one circuit per room" for a couple of reasons. First, circling the room with wire is silly. Second, you often have "that room" where somebody needs 3 circuits worth of stuff. I'd like 4 circuits per room, but that would be insane. Here's what's not insane:

1 circuit per wall.

That's a happy medium between wire savings and giving each room access to several circuits. E.G. this. Lighting is separate (not shown). Bathroom is 1x 20A per Code; and I show the other 6 here (BR is not on green). That's 7 recep circuits, same as you are contemplating but with a lot more versatility.
This is an interesting take. Have not really thought about splitting it like this but not a bad idea. I like how it would allow multiple outlet circuits per room. Thanks for the input.
 

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Looks like you've got a good start. I know this is diagramatic and preliminary, but if you are hiring out you eventually want to do a full, scaled dimensioned (like receptacle heights or spacing of lights) drawing, with circuits marked, so you can get proper concise bids, eliminate miscommunication, and hold the contractor to his work. If DIY do the drawings anyway as it's better than winging it (and for permit).

Some planning things to think about:

- If circuits aren't grouped per room, I like to label on the panel which ones by compass direction. So "RCTS: Bed2, Bed1 N/W" and "LGTS: Dining, FP". Since no one likes to mark a coverplate in residential.
- Wet bar needs GFCI, since not piggybacked onto bath want to think about which others on the circuit you don't mind if tripped.
- Surge protection method
- Gym: Ceiling fans are not optimum, you know, arms stretching, jumping jacks, high universal sets, wall bracket better. Little shy on lighting. Storage/closets usually want switches on outside. Agree separate circuit for treadmill (AMHIK). TV up high. Coordinate receptacle placement with full-length mirrors.
- Office: ceiling fan light woefully inadequate. Need cans on where cases or credenzas along wall are. If you have specific furniture, mounting counter height receptacles. Floor receptacle if stand-alone desk. Need many more receptacles for equipment, you'll have more than just a printer. Ceiling fan causes papers on desk to move.
- C1/C2: Don't use service receptacle for other equipment. Also C2 seems to have little space for clearance and don't forget piping (lineset, exhaust/intake) can't route through stair. Figure out your HVAC trunkline for soffits, that may help determine lighting and even cable routing.
- Halls/circulation: Probably some reduction in receptacles depending on doors and such if you stick with 6' either way and jump to opposite walls.
- Media: More receptacles for equipment, separate circuit good idea. Plan for subwoofer location. Light spacing looks like 6" cans, probably 3" better matched to mood there, so lots more fixtures.
- Rec1: Billiard light placement is difficult, need clear space around table but don't want it sticking out in the circulation. Account for pinballs sticking out along wall in addition to arcades, and clear space for darts or table shuffleboard.
- Any cove/soffit lighting, any neon signs (wall or ceiling receptacles?)
- LED-only lumenaires or just LED lamps in Edison-socket fixtures.
- Any outdoor tv's, speakers can address now.
- Show low voltage as that helps electrician see the big picture.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Wanted to give an update and say thank you to everyone for their help.

I passed rough-in inspection but now I am considering adding a couple of future proof items.

I would like to run wire to an exterior wall and terminate it in an exterior breaker panel. My future plans would be to utilize this for an outdoor shed and a future hot tub.

I have looked at most specs for hot tubs and they seem to utilize a 50A circuit with 6-3 wire. For the shed I was thinking maybe a 60A panel.

My question is what wire should I run from the main panel to this exterior panel and then what size wire to the shed?
 
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