crawlspace outlets


I need some electrical outlets in my crawlspace so I can later install sump pumps, ventilation fan, and lights.
I assume a code compliant installation would create a new circuit breaker and put the new wires inside conduit or inside wall in the garage (where the service panel is). Once inside the crawlspace (possible wet location), the wires would need to be in conduit all the way to the outlets, right? Do the conduits and outlets need to be watertight, like an outdoor installation? Is it better to use GFCI breaker at the panel, or GFCI outlets in the crawlspace?
Although I'm pretty handy with minor electrical work myself, I think I'm going to get a few electricians to bid on the project. Are there any questions I can ask to differentiate the good ones from the not-so-good ones?
Anything else I need to know?
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re: "Is it better to use GFCI breaker at the panel, or GFCI outlets in the crawlspace?"
That one seems pretty easy: Do you want to crawl into the crawl space to check/reset the outlets, or do you want to just go to the panel? I can't see your layout from here, but the breaker sure seems like the right choice.
You might also want to consider a indicator light in an easily viewable location so you can see if the breaker has tripped. Since you mentioned sump pumps, I assume you'd like to know if they'll have power or not when needed.
I use something like this for the circuit to my ice melt cables so I know whether they are on or off with just a quick glance as I walk through the garage.
http://www.twacomm.com/catalog/model_5336.htm?sid=2441FCE0ACE5CC85E99022DDCA27D22A
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the crawlspace?"

to check/reset the outlets, or do you want to just go to the panel? I can't see your layout from here, but the breaker sure seems like the right choice.
The other choice is to run the line from the CB box to an outlet in the living space and then to the crawl space.
The GFCI would be in the living space.

viewable location so you can see if the breaker has tripped. Since you mentioned sump pumps, I assume you'd like to know if they'll have power or not when needed.
The GFCI outlet in the living space could power "something that would be missed" like a kitchen television set. When the TV doesn't work you check the outlet and then you figure out that you have a problem under the house!
It might be a good idea to use #12 armored cable beyond the first box so that you don't have to worry about whether the wiring is "accessible" to un-qualified folks. The #12 wire from the CB box will let you use a 20 amp circuit. The GFCI gives "pretty gud" protection against faults but the combination of a "green wire" AND the alluminum armor gives an extra measure of protection against shock.
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james wrote:

Hi, My cabin has crawl space. I can sit up in there. Electric water heater, NG furnace, well water pressure tank are located there. Wires run along wall frame/floor joist and boxes, fixtures are mounted on joists. No conduits, no GFCI. Also one smoke detector is there.
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Yes was also wondering why/if conduit necessary? Just drill through or affix 'regular wiring' to joists???? Or fasten wiring to a narrow two or three inch batten screwed to bottom of joists.
Also; GFCI not recommended for circuit with motor; e.g. normally that's a fridge etc. But a sump pump can have a 1/4 or 1/3 HP motor with quite a starting surge and that MIGHT unbalance the circuit enough to trip the the GFCI?
BTW GFCI breakers expensive? So why not run the circuit through a regular GFCI duplex outlet upstairs in an inconspicuous place (closet?) and then on to the sump pump outlet. If something did trip the GFCI then not necessary to go down into the crawl space? Unless it continues to trip for some other reason.
Just ideas based on reading the OP. While separate circuit fort he sump pump might be good idea it doesn't sound necessary and a few lights and a fan weould not be very many watts any way. So one #12 AWG circuit (20 amps) might be adequate and economical.
BTW if you run #12 might want to consider 3 wire (White, black, red plus ground) and an Edison circuit for the outlets (it doubles thgeir capacity for sake of one wire) but that will need a double pole cct. breaker atvthe panel and you cannot use a regular GFCI outlet on most such Edison circuits. But that's getting a little complicated for just getting some 'juice' into a work/storage space!
Good luck with project.
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Conduit under a house may not be required by code but it is a good idea to protect wiring from the critters and pets.Conduit may be the easiest way to do this. Bought lesson 3728
Jimmie
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BTW that smoke detector in crawl space is a very good idea.
We have three SDs one of which is at bottom of basement stairs (workshop) and it works; occasionally sounding if have jammed a piece of wood in the bench saw or had a small soldering job that smoked; so we know it's working! We have another in the attached garage area and the third on way to bedroom area. New batteries each year. The detectors are however not liked together or dependent on AC power. We keep a spare SD in a kitchen cupboard and one occasion it started beeping; it's battery had run down after many years!!!!!
After many years it may be time to replace some of the three but since they still work, sensitively, it presently seem unnecessary? Oh, btw we also have a CO Carbon Monoxide detector. near the bedrooms; although there are no gas burning appliances in the house. Only an occasionally used, if/when we are down there, wood stove in basement.
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Smoke detector is a good idea...but will you hear it?
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Bob Villa wrote:

Hi, Hard wired ones are daisy chained. If one triggers others go off too.
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stan wrote:

Hi, I have CO2 detector, smoke/flame detector on hard wire w/battery back up all over the house(2 story) and cabin(2 story). I just replaced them all and tested since they're getting almost 10 years old. I don't want to fix corral after all the horses ran away.
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Most crawl spaces aren't considered as a "wet location". so standard wiring methods and materials would apply. The Nec requires "ALL" receptacle outlets in a crawlspace to be GFCI protected. If it's really nasty I would use circuit breaker type or receptacle type, located outside the offensive area, and if it is a typically wet area, I would use UF cable and rain-tite fittings and boxes. Talk to the local electricians and get their opinions

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The problem with gfci on circuits like this is that they fault out and then the sump pump is no longer working. Same issue with fridges. I might put a gfci in for other outlets but I would not use it for the sump pump outlet.
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The problem with gfci on circuits like this is that they fault out and then the sump pump is no longer working. Same issue with fridges. I might put a gfci in for other outlets but I would not use it for the sump pump outlet.
Then you would not be code compliant, and if the job were inspected, you would fail. I, however don't entirely disagree with you, as what you claim has been an issue in the past. I do believe, from my own imperial experience, that each generation of ground fault device gets a little better at solving those issues. In the past few years, I have not had any motor related issues with ground fault devices. I have had a pile of defective units, that simply die, but are completely unrelated to anything that's plugged into them.
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The problem with gfci on circuits like this is that they fault out and then the sump pump is no longer working. Same issue with fridges. I might put a gfci in for other outlets but I would not use it for the sump pump outlet.
You're really gonna love it when the 2009 code is universally adopted, and almost every circuit is required to be AFCI protected
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..
That is no longer a choice we have. Under the 2008 edition of the US National Electric Code there are no longer any exempt receptacle outlets in crawl spaces or unfinished basements. All 120 volt receptacle outlets must have GFCI protection for personnel. -- Tom Horne
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Thanks for pointing this out. This is in section 210.8 of the 2008 NEC. There is no exception to the GFCI requirement for crawl space. However in the 2005 code, unfinished basement can have a non GFCI outlet for a fixed appliance.
to read or download state-modified version: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Electrical_Code
Also thank the poster for bringing up the sump pump don't like GFCI issue.
However I will ask for the GFCI to be installed in the panel. I assume GFCI breaker has the same form factor as a plain breaker (with an extra neutral wire), so that I can easily replace it with a non GFCI breaker in case the crawl space is flooded and the sump pump trips the GFCI.
Changing sub-topic, the reason I think conduit is needed in the crawl space is because, after the outlets are installed, many workers will be in the crawl space digging a french drain, so it might be a good idea to protect the wire from sharp tools, no?
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If the wiring is run properly, it shouldn't be an issue
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If the area ever gets wet, use a GFCI in the first outlet in your circuit. Sometimes asking the work to be in compliance to the NEC might greatly increase your cost. Instead, I would request not to cut corners whenever safety may be a concern. Look for an electrican with some years of local experience and be able to supply proof of insurance and bonded.
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