Bathroom remodel - keep 15A/14AWG or go to 20A/12AWG?

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We had a leak in the master bath (upstairs) and so now in the midst of a complete bathroom remodel. Electrical question....
The old bathroom had two circuits flowing into it - the first (15A, 14/2 wire) connected to one outlet (not GFI) and then hopped to another bathroom where it connected to an outlet there. The other circuit was sort of normal lighting/fixtures/15A/14-2 wiring, etc.
My question is with the outlets. I want to A) make sure they're GFI, B) safe as they need to be, and C) add another. With the remodel & current code do I have to change the whole circuit to 20A? Which means I'd have to pull all the existing 14/2 cabling and replace with 12/2?
If I do this, then what is the likelihood of me being able to disconnect the cable at the breaker box, and then pulling the cable up two floors to the attic through the wall? Is it likely stapled inside the wall? I don't want to damage the 4 or 5 other cables running down the same hole through top/bottom plates.
Is a better bet for me to just disconnect the 15A circuit breaker & tie off that cable so it's dead. Then add a fresh 20A circuit breaker, and go in the crawl space (very accessible), run the cable down, then up the HVAC chase to the attic? I think the run length would actually be about the same.
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If this is a new remodel, and walls are going to be open, you might as well run new 20A. Don't bother trying to use the old 15A wire as a drag line, just cap it off in the panel. I believe code now calls for 20A in a bathroom. If you are going to have a fan/light/heat combo unit, that alone needs its own circuit It would be different if you had to tear walls open if you have to run a new line, but since you have access to run cables, might as well do it. I would also like to add if you are putting a fan/light combo inside the shower/tub area, it must be GFI protected. You can just get the feed off of the GFI outlet to accomplish this.
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The bathroom walls are definitely out - I stare at insulation and studs every night when I get home - ugh.
I may be missing something - if I am please forgive me. You said the fan/light combo must be on a dedicated circuit, but then you said that I could catch the GFI for the fan/light off the outlet run, implying that now it's on the same circuit as the outlets.
And just wanted to confirm - I shouldn't mess with trying to fish the 15A cable out and then fish a 20A wire down via the attic? Did you think that I should run across the crawl space and then up the HVAC chase two floors?
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First of all, it would make little sense to have the existing outlet circuit daisy chained from one bathroom to another unless it was in fact protected by a GFCI device upstream of these outlets. This was done commonly in the 80's. If you want to run new circuits to upgrade the bathroom, the easiest thing to do would be to run one 20 amp circuit and just use it for the outlets in the renovated bath. You can use the existing lighting circuit for any new lights and fans, etc. provided you're not adding any electric heat or Jacuzzi, and things of that nature. You cannot disconnect either of the existing circuits at the panel, as they are feeding things other that the renovated bathroom, so you have to locate junction boxes in some accessible place to splice those circuits through, to wherever they're going.
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I currently have one 15A circuit doing the bath outlets (for both baths) and another 15A circuit doing lights for that bathroom, a closet, and another bathroom. Tell me if this sounds reasonable:
1) leave the existing 15A circuit that currently powers the existing lights, etc. and remove bathroom B and closet from that circuit 2) leave the existing 15A circuit that currently powers the outlets, and in the attic, cut the line to remove the outlets from the circuit and splice/branch out to do the second bathroom's lights (and maybe a closet light?) 3) run new 20A circuit to 2 bathroom outlets in bath A, and then over to 1 bath outlet in bath B, with GFI on the 1st outlet in the run
Does this sound logical?
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Perfectly logical, and NEC legal
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If you have just a fan/light combo, it does not need its own circuit. If you have a fan/light/heat combo, then you do. Just the heat part of it will use at least 10-12 amps. Whatever you choose, if its going to be inside the shower area it needs to be GFI protected. If you have the fan/light just grab it off the GFI outlet. If it has heat also, run a dedicated line and put it on a GFI breaker. If its outside the shower, it does not need GFI protection.

it than go ahead. Otherwisw just run in the crawl space then up the chase.
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If you have just a fan/light combo, it does not need its own circuit. If you have a fan/light/heat combo, then you do. Just the heat part of it will use at least 10-12 amps. Whatever you choose, if its going to be inside the shower area it needs to be GFI protected. If you have the fan/light just grab it off the GFI outlet. If it has heat also, run a dedicated line and put it on a GFI breaker. If its outside the shower, it does not need GFI protection.

it than go ahead. Otherwisw just run in the crawl space then up the chase.
What you're suggesting regarding the GFCI protection for a fan over a tub or shower, is only acceptible if he's wiring one bathroom entirely on a 20 amp circuit. If, as he suggested,he feeds multiple bathroom receptacle outlets with one 20 amp circuit, no lighting, fans, or anything else, except other bathroom receptacle outlets can go on that circuit
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Keep 'em coming - this good info.......glad to know the A/C chase is legal....
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I didn't make any reference to using an A/C chase. If it's a chase for pipes and wires it's fine, but don't be running Romex inside of any plenums

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Correct. I was assuming he was running 2 seperate feeds for each bathroom.
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I didn't make any reference to using an A/C chase. If it's a chase for pipes and wires it's fine, but don't be running Romex inside of any plenums -------------------
So the A/C chase is or isn't legal?
This "plenum" (if it is one? not sure) is pretty dang big. It's about a 4 x 3 foot area dead zone in each floor. The A/C stuff is in one corner leaving basically a large coat closet's worth of dead space on each floor.
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CB wrote:

Is there typically airflow in this chase, or is there an actual duct within the chase?
nate
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If it's use as an air duct, you can't run Romex cables in it.
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It's essentially a very small unfinished room in the middle of my house on both floors, stacked vertically, with a duct in it that travels all the way up. The cables would not be in the duct (it's an enclosed appears-to-be-aluminum duct). The cables would be in the "room" part.
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That's fine
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Just out of curiousity, how are the outlets/switches going to be laid out?
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Well, since I wrote last, things have changed a little. I originally thought that I had a 15A circuit that took the following path.
1 - from panel upstairs to attic 2 - over to master bath to outlet (not GFI) 3 - hopped over to 2nd bath outlet (also not GFI)
I thought it ended there. Alas, no. The true path is: 1 - from panel upstairs to attic 2 - over to master bath to outlet (not GFI) 3 - hopped over to 2nd bath outlet (also not GFI) 4 - goes downstairs to 1/2 bath outlet 5 - goes into crawlspace over to outdoor outlet (also not GFI)
So now even if I wire everything upstairs properly on the new 20A circuit, I have to do separate the downstairs outlets from that circuit and do something with the downstairs outlets - I guess splice them into an accessible, not-overloaded, available 15A circuit downstairs?
Anyway, so to answer your question regarding layout - here's a possibility. Circuit #1 (new 20A) 1 - run a new 20A circuit from panel through crawl space, up the invisible room chute into attic 2 - take this cable over to master bath outlet #1 (new GFI) 3 - take the outgoing load from this GFI outlet to master bath outlet #2 4 - take the outgoing load from this outlet to 2nd bath outlet Now Circuit #1 is 20A, 12 AWG and has just three outlets on it, all GFI protected. As mentioned above I'd have to do something with the 2 downstairs outlets that used to be on this circuit.
Circuit #2 (old 15A) 1 - this currently comes from the panel into the attic and runs to the master bath outlet. Since I'm wiring these outlets with the new circuit #1 above, I cut this line and route it to handle the bathroom light switch, vanity light, and light/fan FOR BOTH UPSTAIRS BATHROOMS. There will be no heater, which I've read means that I can use 15A. Some have told me the light/fan needs to be GFI and some have told me it does not - if it does need to be please tell me the section of code specifically from NEC. If it needs to be GFI I'm tempted to put in a GFI breaker instead of messing with mixing the light fixtures and routing them into Circuit #1.
Circuit #3 (the other old 15A) 1 - this currently comes from the panel into the attic and powers the whole side of my house (master bedroom, master bath fixtures, 2nd bath fixtures, 2 closets). Since the bathroom fixtures will be taken care of by rerouting Circuit #2 above, this circuit will basically just power my bedroom and closet lights now.
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CB wrote:

That's GFCI circuit lumped up as on line. You think the things on that string is used all at the same time all the time? How many times this will happens you think?
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I might be wrong, but I beleive each seperate bathroom must be on its own 20A circuit.

This sounds good, leave the 15A to feed some lighting and fan, plus the 1/2 bath and outside outlet. This means you don't have to go crazy re-routing new wires downstairs. As I've said, if the fan/light is inside the shower/tub area it must be on GFI. Outside of it, it does not need it.

I don't see a problem with this.
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