Plan for Basement Electrical Outlets - Feedback Please

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I'd apprecaite some feedback on my plan for wiring electrical outlets in my basement (which I'm in the process of finishing)...
I'm finishing about 2/3 of my basement with the remaining 1/3 being a dedicated storage area. The perimeter of the finished area is about 180 feet and I'm planning on having about 20 recepticals. I will only be using a fraction of the recepticals at any given time but I just want to make sure I always have one in the spot I need it, so I'm throwing in extra ones.
I plan on using 12-2 copper wire with a 20A breaker & 20A rated outlets. At first I was considering using 14-2 with a 15A breaker but I'm concerned about voltage drop over my relatively long 180foot run. The extra cost and hassle of installing the 12-2 is something I don't have any issues with so I decided to go that route. I'll be routing the 12-2 through traditional wood frame 2x4 walls I have setup against my poured concrete basement walls. I have already drilled 3/4 inch holes in the studs.
I'm installing the outlets so that they are 18inches above the basement floor and spaced less that 12feet apart (no more than 6feet from a doorway). The routing of the wiring through the wall is at least 12inches above the outlets.
Any feedback on my plan? Anything I should look out for or consider? Anything I should watch out for using 12-2 with a 20A breaker?
Thanks, Kevin
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I know GFCI's aren't required for finished basements, but my personal preference is for them anywhere in a basement, even the finished part (in my case it's one GFCI with the rest after it). I believe you are correct in that you need to use the heavier gauge wire for that length fo a run.
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Basements can be dark. Run a seperate branch for lighting and receptacles, so if you trip a breaker running a dehumidifier and a skill saw at the same time, you are not fumbling in the dark. 12-2 is recommended for any receptacles, #14 should be reserved for lighting IMO. You don't need to pay extra for 20A receptacles, standard 15A plugs are fine (same for switches) unless you are dedicating one to a 20A load like an air conditioner.
While you have the walls open, you have a chance to add ventilation for radon if that is an issue

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You may want to check code but I don't think you can put 20 receptacles on one circuit regardless of how many you don't plan to use. I know my local code here says no more than 10 "devices" on a single circuit (a receptacle being a single device), regardless of what amperage it's rated for (15 or 20). I'm no code expert but thought I'd mention this as something for you to research! Cheers, cc
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I'd certainly use more than one line/breaker for that many recepticals.
Every receptical on my main floor is on one breaker. I can't run the microwave and vacuum cleaner at the same time. That's one future project.
Bob
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Thanks for your feedback guys. I forgot to mention that the lighting will be on a sepearate 15A circuit (the circuit is already there si I will just use it as is with a couple more lights added to it.
CC- I will check into the number of outlets, but research I have done thus far has not indicated any limit except for in non-residential (commercial) applications.
I'll probably stick with the 20A outlets just incase. I can't imagine using anything in my basement that will draw that much but the price for the capability isn't that great.
scott21- With regard to the GFCI... are you recommending that I place one GFCI at the front of my cable run with the rest being conventional outlets?
Bob- I feel your pain with your breaker problem! My microwave is somehow on the same circuit as my kitchen & dining room lights as well as my outdoor landscape lighting. Every once in a while If I have them all on, the microwave will cause the breaker to kick. I need to check if a 15A circuit was used...the run is pretty long so maybe the current draw is higher because of the current drop as well. One of these days I'm going to run a dedicated line for that microwave.
In my basement, I don't see anything more than a TV or stereo, computer, & refridgerator going at the same time so I'm pretty sure I'll be safe with the 20A circuit (especially with the lights on their own circuit).
Any and all feedback is appreciated!
Thanks, Kevin
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You are correct about the number of outlets on a circuit. In residential wiring you need a 15 amp circuit for each 600 square feet . In commercial wiring it's 1.5 amps per outlet

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If you use 12-3 wire and a double breaker instead, you can easily wire each of those 20 receptacles so that the top plug is one branch and the bottom is another branch. Additional cost and labor is trivial.
You may not see much more than a TV, stereo and a few lights down there but a future owner might see a workshop or an excercise room with many heavy loads (tredmill, tanning lamp, dehumidifier, fans, space heater) .

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yeah DONT cheap out add a extra breaker!!
If your breaker cabinet is full you can get 1/2 width breakers to increase the number.
you also want to consider ethernet, phone, satellite or cable to runs.
i would protect hopefully the 2 20 amp outlet runs each with a GFCI or GFCI breaker. home inspectors here make the lkack of them in a basement a big issue... came up selling a home recently.......
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Thanks a lot for the double breaker & 12-3 wire suggestion. I think I will definitely go that route as I have room in my box for it!! Time to take out my book and read up on that.
I greatly appreciate everybody's feedback!
kevin
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In wrote:

Why not take your final plans to show the electrical inspector when you get your permit (you ARE getting a permit, right???). They can point out things you missed or make suggestions. It's better than having him/her point out poblems after the job's done.
"You have to have an outlet with six feet of a door."
"That's a closet. The sump pump is in there."
"You have to have an outlet with six feet of a door."
"Yes, sir." ("Three bags full, sir...")
The outlet's there today. Thanks to Wiremold. :)
--
Jim
"Remember, an amateur built the Ark; professionals built the Titanic."
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Be aware that having both phases in one box means there is a 240 volt shock hazard when working in that box. I would choose to not mix phases.
Running 2-4 wires from the breaker box is really easy at this point. Adding them later is not. Don't scrimp on wire when it's so easy to add more circuits. When you use a portable heater, buy a treadmill or power saw , etc. you might be glad.
Bob
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Better yet, alternate phases between boxes, but don't split the outlets within the box unless you decide to add some switched outlets, in which case you could split an outlet for the switch leg. If you do add switched outlets, do it as part of a quad box, so that there are at least two unswitched outlets in the box.
If you know you are going to have a fridge/freezer, add a dedicated 20a circuit for it.
one less obvious point, add an outlet somewhere near the door where you would never consider putting any furniture (and thus covering the outlet) for the vaccum cleaner. could be on a narrow wall, or in the box with the switches.

I would figure on at least 4 circuits.. 2 staggered along the wall, 1 for the fridge, and 1 for lighting.
--
-- Welcome My Son, Welcome To The Machine --
Bob Vaughan | techie @ tantivy.net |
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On Wed, 10 May 2006 23:34:39 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@tantivy.tantivy.net (Bob Vaughan) wrote:

That's important. When I want to plug something in temporarily (like the vacuum cleaner), I'd like an outlet that isn't HIDDEN. Maybe even one at the height used for switches (easier to reach).

--
Mark Lloyd
http://notstupid.laughingsquid.com
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On Wed, 10 May 2006 23:34:39 +0000 (UTC), snipped-for-privacy@tantivy.tantivy.net (Bob Vaughan) wrote:

This isn't better. The way most people use rooms, the power hungry equipment tends to clump together, so you want as many DIFFERENT legs accessible at each power-access-point as you can conveniently manage.

Ok, that I like. Quad boxes, 2 outlets on one phase, one on the other, and the last on the second phase, but switched. MARK them.
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I'd agree with you with a kitchen, workshop or utility room. Up til very recently (with the advent of GFCI requirements) Canadian electrical code _required_ kitchen counter outlets to be _both_ split, and alternating which receptacle box each cable fed (max two boxes per circuit).
Meaning that at any point on the counter between two receptacle boxes, you have _4_ 15A circuits available within 4'.
I did that in my workshop counter outlets too.
However, in general living space, eg: a rec room, it's not likely to be critical.
But if you have the slots, it never hurts.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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Other than allowing the rest of the circuit to function if one of the outlets dies, what's the benefit to pigtailing the outlets rather than running them all in series ? Is pigtailing the outlets absolutely required if using 12/3 with a double pole breaker and alternating outlets between the two circuits (i.e. outlet1=circuit1, outlet2=circuit2, outlet3=circuit1 etc. )
If I do pigtail the outlets to the main 12/3 line going around my basement, where's the appropriate location for the pigtail connections relative to the main line? Putting the pigtail connection above the box, between two joists, and surrounded by fiberglass insulation doesn't seem correct to me.
Also, it seems that the physical connection using the terminal screws on the outlets would be stronger than the connection provided by a wirenut. Thoughts on that??
Thanks, Kevin
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Code requires you to pigtail multi-wire branch neutrals ALWAYS. The idea being that if you remove a device, pigtailing means it's less likely that something bad happens downstream.
Eg: losing a neutral on a split circuit can be quite catastrophic.
--
Chris Lewis, Una confibula non set est
It\'s not just anyone who gets a Starship Cruiser class named after them.
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Thanks a lot. Pigtailing it is, then!
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<stuff snipped>

All connections have to be made *inside* the box to prevent sparks from igniting any material inside the wall cavities. If you're going to pigtail, it would be a good idea to use extra deep outlet boxes to accommodate the wire nuts that will be needed.
Personally, I'd not bother for two reasons. If you decide to use some sort of automated outlet or dimmer switch, you'll find they are much larger than standard switches and outlets and you'll be facing a very tight fit if you've got three wirenuts to account for.
Also, if you wire through the back of the outlets and one outlet dies, it may take the rest of the string with them but that's not such a bad thing. It will tell you with a high degree of certainty which outlet needs attention: the one that's failed closest to the main breakers.

I suspect some of the replies you got were assuming you'd use the "backstab" connections on the outlets. IMHO, those are quick and dirty and far more likely to fail than either wire nuts or terminal screws. I just repaired one for a friend whose disposal first became intermittent and then failed completely. The outlet that it drew power from had been badly "backstabbed" and the connection became loose. As soon as she told me that there was another kitchen outlet that was flaky, I realized what the problem was.
Whatever you decide, make sure your wire stripping is clean and without nicks. The failure point for outlets and switches, at least in my experience, always seems to be at the point where the copper was nicked by the stripper.
-- Bobby G.
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