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

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I might be wrong, but I beleive each seperate bathroom must be on its own 20A circuit.
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I thought I had read or heard somewhere where some referenced the all- mysterious "code" and said that if there was nothing else on the circuit except the outlets, then it could be used for another bathroom's outlet. If I put the master bath outlet, fan/light, vanity light, etc. on that 20A circuit, I think I could not jump to the other bathroom.
Can someone confirm?
BTW - the NEC really needs to make it easier for DIYers - I don't know - maybe a searchable database, FAQ, knowledgebase? I know it keeps electricians in business b/c then no one bothers & they just hire an electrician who understands the almighty "code".
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OK - was just on another newsgroup, where someone said if the circuit is existing, I basically just abide by the rules as they existed when the circuit was run and don't need to run a new 20A circuit to the bath. Can someone confirm this? In other words, basically all my problems go away. So then I would have:
Circuit #1 (existing 15A) 1 - circuit comes from panel to upstairs master bath outlet, where I would add a GFI outlet first in the chain 2 - then over to outlet #2 in upstairs master bath 3 - then over to upstairs 2nd bathroom outlet 4 - then downstairs to 1/2 outlet 5 - then outside to the outdoor outlet
Circuit #2 (existing 15A) 1 - circuit comes from panel to upstairs master bedroom receptacles 2 - then into upstairs master bathroom for lights/switches 3 - then into upstairs closet for light 4 - then into upstairs 2nd bathroom for lights
Pretty much the only thing I'd have to do is swap out an outlet, and insert another one in the line.
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In all likelyhood, if you leave it the way it is it should be fine. I was just suggesting if thing are wide open, and if you were adding more powerhogs, to run a new line. Heck, in my house now I have a 15A circuit feeding my master bath (fan/ light, vanity, outlet, 200W heat lamp) plus my master bedroom lights and outlets, an attic ventilation fan, and 2 outside lights. I've been in the house 4 years, the breaker never tripped. But I'm sure one day when I do the bathroom over I will run a new line.
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I'm not adding any powerhogs really. I was just under the impression that any remodeling effort would mean things would have to be brought up to current code. If I can leave the existing circuit in place, then I've got nothing to worry about. There's just me, 2 young boys and my wife, so it's not like I have 3 hair dryers going at once. Where can I find an "official" answer to this, short of calling an electrician?
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I honestly don't know, every town is different. If this is just a matter of replacing sheetrock and some light DIY stuff, I doubt you will be cited for any violations.
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at resale time, a up to date system is better.
and add a curling iron and blow dryer can trip a 15 amp breaker, which got me to run a dedicated 20 amp line to the bath with GFCI.
I would at least run this if i were you. as compared to the entire bath remodel its cheap and easy to do while the walls are open
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wrote:

In all likelyhood, if you leave it the way it is it should be fine. I was just suggesting if thing are wide open, and if you were adding more powerhogs, to run a new line. Heck, in my house now I have a 15A circuit feeding my master bath (fan/ light, vanity, outlet, 200W heat lamp) plus my master bedroom lights and outlets, an attic ventilation fan, and 2 outside lights. I've been in the house 4 years, the breaker never tripped. But I'm sure one day when I do the bathroom over I will run a new line.
The reason the code was changed was to accomodate 1800 watt blow dryers. Everything was fine when they maxed out at 1000 watts
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CB, let me reiterate something I said previously, Those existing bathroom outlet circuits "are" GFCI protected. You just haven't found the one, upstream GFCI device protecting them. There is no way anyone would have daisy-chained bathroom outlets together like that unless the entire string was protected by a GFCI device at the first required location
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I really don't think so - the house was built in 1978. And I've followed the line from the panel and all the way up & down & across the house. The breaker isn't gfci and none of the outlets had a reset button. Not sure if GFCI looked different in 1978 but nothing appeared to me that it was GFCI.
I would test the outlets to prove my poitn, but I've already disconnected them.
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In 1978 the code required GFCI protected outlets to be in garages, outside, bathrooms, and possibly unfinished basements. I would look in all those locations for the protecting GFCI outlet
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The first thing on this circuit was the master bath outlet. Which wasn't GFCI. So I'm hearing ya - but it just ain't GFCI.
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...
could it be a gfci breaker?
create a fault, and see if something trips
of course a previous owner could of tired of nuisance trips and replaced the GFCI with a regular outlet
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It certainly is possible that they cheated, and never installed the GFCI, but how have you determined that the master bath is the first stop
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m...
I looked at the breaker box last night and it looked pretty normal - there's no reset switch on the breaker. I've already pulled the outlet & replaced with GFCI. But my walls are open - I can put a normal one on, and put my tester in and create a fault and see what happens. Maybe I'll try that in the morning.
RBM - just visually - following the cable from the panel wall across the attic. Plus there are no GFCI receptacles in the whole house.
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OK - somewhere else online I just read that 15A circuits can only handle 1800 watts and it had me wondering. I went & checked my wife's hair dryer, and it's marked at 1875W. How in the heck is my 15A breaker not tripping? We've lived here a year & a half and it hasn't tripped.
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CB wrote:

15A x 120V = 1800W
At 30A the breaker might trip in 20 seconds (taken from a trip curve). At 1875W the breaker might trip in a couple hours.
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bud--

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Yea, what Bud said. This is the reason that 20 amp circuits are now required for bathroom outlets. To test for the presence of a GFCI device, use a pigtail lamp socket. Touch one wire to the hot wire and the other to the ground... it should trip any upstream GFCI
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redoing a bathroom or kitchen today and not installing dedicated 20 amp circuits is just plain dumb.
too many power hungry devices, and new ones being created constantly.
its akin to upograding your main service from 60 amps to just 100........
one day you will regret cheaping out............
the cost of bath dedicated 20 amp GFCI circuit as compared to the overall job cost to remodel the bath to studs is a minor expense........
plus long term operation of a breaker over its rated limit ages them, and sooner or later the breaker will trip faster. thats what they are designed to do.
age to more sensitive........
one last point, even if the main service were maxed out, i would still run a new dedicated 12 gauge wire for the bath outlets, and connect it to another 15 or 20 amp circuit in basement or utility room till the main service is upgraded or a sub panel installed........
its not ideal but costs little and is way easier than snaking a new line to the bath when your fashion concious wife decides blow dryer plus curling iron is the only way to do her hair........
that combo would trip the 15 amp breaker fast.....
save money on a less expensive sink, but do the wiring properly
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote: ...

Balderdash! We had this discussion only a few weeks ago--it just ain't so--unless, of course, you can find a new design document since then.
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