I am just starting to finish part of my basement and just completed
the framing. I would like to install 5 receptacles and some recessed
lighting (6 of them), along with a dimmer switch for the light. My
plan is to create a new cicuit (there is room on the breaker). I am
having problems putting my head around how the wiring will work for the
circuit. Questions I have is can all this be put on 1 circuit? I am
running the wire from the breaker, to the receptacles (in series), to a
light switch, and then to each of the recessed lights ... is this right
method? Any help is greatly appreciated.
Can it be done??? Sure would I do it? Well, that depends on what you
plan on running in the room? 6 recessed lights at say 100 watts each
would be 600 watts right there in lighting.
15 amps x 110 volts = 1650 watts. So at 1650 - 600 = 1050 watts
What can run at 1050 watts? Lots of things, but again it all depends
on what you want to run in the room. Another idea is that you might
want to run a 20 amp circuit down there instead of a 15. That'll give
you a little extra power just in case. Now normally what people do is
run a seperate light circuit and a seperate circuit for outlets. If
you short out the outlet at least the lights above would still be on.
Another thing to consider is that if you have water nearby you should
run a gfci breaker or outlet. If the wiring is going to be left
exposed on the walls (opposite of the finished walls) you need to have
it use armored cable. Otherwise if all is closed up Romex should be
garage and wired it, no drywall, exposed studs, the inspector had me
run wooden blocking in front of the wiring. I'm not sure that even
armored cable would meet code if left exposed because stuff can still
bang into it or hang up on it and pull connections loose. Totally
agree on buying a simple book to get the basics. Rather than work in
the breaker box, I did all the wiring except the connection to the
breaker box and hired an electrician for that. $80 well spent to stay
out of there.
How close to the edges of the studs had you drilled the holes that you passed
the cable through? Code minimum is 1.25", and if you're closer than that, you
need *something* over it.
Both BX ("armored cable") and MC (metal-clad cable) are explicitly approved
for exposed installation by the NEC
Yeah, that's why you use BX or MC for exposed wiring -- so that the metal
covering protects the conductors when stuff bangs into it. That's kinda the
point in using the armored stuff for exposed wiring, you know -- stuff can
bang into it.
If that's all it takes to pull a connection loose, the stuff wasn't properly
installed in the first place. Both BX and MC require cable clamps where
entering boxes, and if they're clamped properly with the proper type of clamp,
the connections can't be pulled loose accidentally.
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
No, it is not right. Get a book. Really, it will have some simple diagrams
on how to properly do a layout. Fifteen dollars and a half hour will give
you a good basic education on home wiring.
You should not have the recepticals and light on only one circuit. Plug in
an appliance, trip the breaker, and you are sitting in the dark.
You can do it that way, however I prefer to keep the lighting separate from
the receptacles by using two circuits. You never know what you will be
plugging in down the road and you don't want your lights dimming because of
a heater or refrigerator that's on the same circuit.
Make sure that you have permits and have this work inspected. More and more
I hear of home inspectors and attorneys bringing up the issue of finished
basements when a house is sold. I have had several customers have to pull
permits and get work inspected that was done two owners before. It is not
fun having to bring a basement up to code after it is finished and
especially for work that someone else did years before. In New Jersey it is
required to put firestops behind the basement walls every ten feet
horizontally and continuous vertically at the top. It is also a good idea
for insurance purposes to have had the work inspected.
Code requires a finished area to have a receptacle within six feet of
the doorway, and receptacles every twelve feet after that.
Having receptacles and lights on the same circuit is poor practice.
Get a book, get a permit, get an inspection.
Once you put drywall up, the wiring is not visible. If there is no
record of a permit and inspection, a buyer has no idea what is behind
I'd be interested to hear your reasoning for this. My simplified code
book suggests otherwise for general outlets (not appliance or special
"It is better to have the load consist of a mixture of lights and plugs.
This gives better load diversity on the circuit and less chance of a
complete blackout in case of circuit failure."
Use the power formula to figure out how to load the circuits. If u use
14/2WG you need a 15 amp breaker. 12/2WG a 20 amp breaker. Add up the
potential wattage you could or may plug into your outlets, plus the wattage
of the lights and see what you come up with. P (power or total watts) over E
(volts) = Amps. If you use a 20 amp breaker you'll need a 20 amp duplex
The NEC doesn't require "finished" areas to meet any particular outlet
spacing. It requires "habitable" rooms to meet these outlet requirements.
Regardless of how he may plan to use the room, if it doesn't meet the
criteria for "habitable" which sometimes requires specific ceiling heights,
and multiple methods of egress, this can just be a glorified storage space
with however many outlets he feels like installing
The NEC rules have nothing to do with my preferences, but they are pretty
specific about the requirements for various types of locations. People are
well within their rights to use those requirements to their advantage
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