I'm going to be rewiring my entire 2 story 4 br house so how many
circuits do I need. From what I understand I need a dedicated circuit
for each of these:
1 basement fridge (gfci since basement? or not since fridge?)
1 washing machine
3 kitchen - minimum of two 20 amp circuits w/no more than two outlets
(two counters 1 is 4' the other 8')
1 gas furnace
1 radon fan
1 dining room
1 laundry room (in addition to washing machine)
6 remainder of house - 1 circuit per 600 square ft
Doesn't seem like overkill to me. Am I missing anything?
Of course the biggest problem will be running wire to the attic for
the second floor circuits. I plan on using 12 ga for almost
everything to account for the distance even though it will be harder
to pull. Are you allowed to 'hang' wire from the attic to the
basement or do I have to make holes in the walls to staple it every
Do I have to use the AFCI breakers or are they only required if I
replace the main panel?
you don't need to staple if you are pulling through an existing wall.
have you thought about roughing in for hardwired smoke detectors while
you are at it?
my local inspector says if I rewire a circuit that requires an AFCI by
current code, I need to add the AFCI. Your inspector may have a
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
You're gonna re-wire your whole house as a DIYer??? Very ambitious...Is the
house gonna be gutted and re-sheetrocked ??? If not I think you MAY be in
way over your head...I know I would be..That's ALOT of wire to pull thru
existing finished walls by yourself in one lifetime....LOL...Good Luck....
Sure why not? The attic won't be 140deg and it is too cold to do
Nope. Only holes cut where necessary like for existing ceiling
I'll have helper for some of it to work the 'dumb end' of the fish
tape. The downstairs will be fairly easy since the basement is
unfinished. A few things that will help:
Klein glow in the dark fish sticks
String with a nut on the bottom and a strong magnet
And in case you didn't know those giant outlet covers are made so you
can cut huge holes in the wall and cover them up without looking too
My house actually has these throughout since the builder must have
used HS kids to hang the sheetrock when the house was built. Many
holes are already oversize.
ALOT of wire to pull thru existing finished walls by >yourself in one
A skill you may wish to acquire is busting existing boxes out of the
wall without munging up the drywall. I started doing the same thing as
you but only on the second floor of my house. Sometimes you get lucky
and you can pull new Romex behind old because the old is bigger an it'll
slip right through the staples without ripping the outer cover.
Sometimes it'll hang up and you'll lose your nose, and just won't be
able to fish through the little hole in the box, then you have to bust
it out and use an old work box.
In my house most of the recep boxes are 2-3/4" deep. Current code
requires 3-1/2" even for 2x 14/2 and a recep. so even the ones I can
pull without removing, I have to remove anyway.
The "blue boxes" actually work pretty well. Nicer than Madison
hangers. But sometimes you need them (e.g. if you need one BX clamp and
one Romex clamp in the same box.) so it helps to have both metal and
plastic boxes on hand.
plan your wire runs. fan boxes only come in 2-1/8" deep so you can't
cram too many cables into a ceiling box. You can't fit a box much
deeper than 3-1/2" in a 2x4 wall so you're limited to two cables in a
recep box as well.
Your first floor will likely be very challenging because the wire wasn't
originally run in the basement but through the first floor walls and
ceiling. Second floor will be much easier but you'll still likely have
to make a few holes if you are following existing wire routing. (I'm
assuming a 2-story house like mine.)
The MOST challenging part will likely be the homeruns. I haven't done
that yet so no advice there. Am thinking of running a large PVC conduit
up a chase, if it's possible to do so, but may have to just free run the
Romex if I can't.
that's all I can think of off the top of my head but I'm sure I'll come
up with more stuff that I've learned along the way...
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
Just my 2 cents worth. I expect that you have the minimum figured out
right, but I would consider adding quite a few more outlets. If you
are like me you will probably find that putting in the number of
outlets required by the NEC will leave you searching for outlets
to plug 'just one more thing' into. I would seriously consider if you
are completely rewiring that you put in twice as many outlets as the
yes and upgrade main service to at least 200 amps.
besides a general lighting circuit, with NO receptables on it, its
best to put each bedroom individual room on its own circuit.
makes troubleshooting later much easier
SWMBO has already informed me that I will be putting ceiling lights in
every room. Currently they are only in the kitchen, dining room and
bathrooms. The hardest one will be the living room since the center
of the room has a window on one side and a doorway on the other. I'll
probably use one of these so when two months later she tells me it
should be a fan I can just replace the light.
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
For the bedrooms I'll put a 2x4 between the joists to support those
Also suggest use 14/3 for the last run-in to any outside motion
lights. Can explain that suggestion if you wish.
Also; haven't done this but sometimes wish I had. There are certain
places where we wish we would have put in double duplex outlets. It's
incredible how 'things to plug in' can multiply; for example behind an
'Entertainment Centre'. TV, DVD player, stereo amp. Game-boy or
equiv.? etc. etc.
Also there's a spot on one of our counters where we plug and keep an
eye on rechargeable AA cells etc. With different chargers constantly
unplugging and plugging in another! And then a relative arrives with a
coffee pot; could use double the number of outlets, easily! And the
food processor is not plugged in at all.
Unlikley will ever build again; but if we did would seriously consider
two duplex per box and possibly more numerous outlets. Some bedroom
ones always seem to end up behind furniture!
Even bedroom outlets get filled up. Side of one relative's bed, for
example, a) Bedside lamp, b) Small radio, c) AC powered phone, d)
Charger for her cell phone. Her husband, other side of bed has one
less item; only three! So there is the inevitable and to me
potentially unsafe adapters/extensions.
One of their two fish tanks in another room needs three plugs, from
one duplex outlet, thereby served by a very unsatisfactory extension
cord!!!! Another fish tank, in the kitchen similarly ties up the
duplex outlet near the kitchen window table. Hmm! Where to plug in the
Another place where not enough outlets is work bench; unplug the
grinder to use something else on that end of work bench. And vacuum
cleaners never seem to have long enough cords? Central vacs. seem to
have gone out of style!
Some strategically placed 'outside' outlets for outside lights and/or
an inspection light or charger in case car battery goes flat? Those
may have to be GFCI or other wise protected.
When possible use red/black 14/2 for switch to ceiling (15 amp
And 'Two way' lighting for stairs (basement and main staircase?).
If you don't mind, could you explain that one? I have places where I want
outside motion lights and I have a hunch that the reason behind your 14/3
suggestion may resolve a question or two I have about how to get them to do
what I want them to do. Thanks.
Our reason is the when the light triggers, according to whatever dusk
and timing settings you have chosen, the third red wire which comes
from the control unit to the actual light bulbs can be wired back and
used to switch on, either another light or two, or operate a lamp
inside house (or a transformer to operate an indicator light or quiet
buzzer) that something has triggered the motion sensor light!
Our typical cheap sensor lights have two 75 watt bulbs, but the sensor/
switch unit is capable of several hundred watts, incandescent. I
believe ours have a small relay inside the sensor unit that switches
on the lights.
Wiring is; white = neutral, black = live in from lighting circuit/
breaker panel, red = switched live whenever the sensor unit operates.
Wire this red wire back out to nearest box and it can be used then, or
later, to switch on other lights.
In our case this may be the lights over our porch which would then
come on same time as the sensor light over the garage door is
Just an idea and keeping options open!
Some sensor lights can be caused to stay-on continuously; I believe by
switching off and then on again immediately or after five seconds or
something (read the instructions). That satisfies the need if, for
example, unloading something at night. The light then stays on and is
not triggering on and then off again
Thanks. Maybe I should start a separate thread on this.
I would like to be able to: 1) turn the light on and leave it on; or, 2)
turn it off and leave it off. If I do the # 1) option, I would like it to
go off at dawn and come back on at dusk. In other words, by turning or
leaving the switch on, the light works like a dusk to dawn light; but
turning the switch off turns off the light. If I do the # 2) option, I
would like the light to come on if it detects motion. In that case, I have
the light switched off, but it still retains its motion sensing function and
comes on when it detects motion.
The problem I have is that the lights that I find for sale have that "flip
the switch on-and-off routine" as a way to enable or disable the functions I
want. I don't want to have to go through that process where the switching
sequence and timing supposedly programs the function(s) I want to work.
Maybe I could deal with that on my own house, but that is too confusing for
tenants or occupants of other properties that I own but do not live in
So, I was hoping that your 3-wire setup was a way to make the light function
the way I want it to function without the flip-a-switch programming routine.
But, I do like your idea of having the light trigger an inside buzzer or
pilot light to notify the occupants that the light outside has been trigered
Easy way to do this. Get an electronic timer switch with an over-ride.
The light will not come on unless the timer says yes and the motion
sensor says yes. Then add a parallel "bypass" switch that turns the
lights on regardless of what the timer or motion detector says. The
over-ride function allows you to turn the motion detector portion of
the ,light off, or on, when the timer says to do the opposite.
The 3 wire would be a requirement for the system I described.
I don't see bathroom/dining room (20 amp). And ask your local electrical
inspector what is required for your area. There are local amendments to the
national rules sometimes. Find out where you can get a book or read the
local amendments if any.
Then don't be cheap. Do yourself a favor and install a 40 slot 200 amp
Best is all 120 volt outlets on 20 amp circuits. There is a thing called a
"vacuum" and this will trip a 15 amp circuit (with other things on it) with
And at a minimum each room should have its own circuit. Makes
troubleshooting much easier.
Separate 20 amp GFCI circuit for outside outlets. An electric lawnmower can
use a LOT of electricity!
And a bathroom needs its own 20 amp circuit and a GFCI outlet. But if you
install a wall heater in the bathroom, might want to place that on its own
circuit. The heater on and a hair dryer on at the same time might trip a 20
amp circuit breaker.
Might want to install several 4-plex outlets on their own 20 amp circuit
where the home entertainment center will go. Then you will not need a power
Basically I would suggest installing a separate 20 amp circuit to every
possible (and future) power hog.
Where might you install a window air conditioner?
Where might you use a space heater?
Install dedicated 20 amp outlets there.
Electric power is something you use everyday. It is nice to be able to use
the vacuum and not have a breaker trip. Or plug in a lawnmower and not have
a breaker trip. Or have the heater on in the bathroom and use a hair blow
dryer and not have a breaker trip. Etc. Makes life more pleasant!
"Limp Arbor" wrote in message
The answers depend upon where you live, and if in the US, which code is
currently in effect. Your layout sounds fine, not necessarily required, but
a little overkill never hurt. Cables do have to be stapled unless they are
fished in voids that can't be accessed. If you are using the 2008 NEC,
pretty much all your lighting and outlets will be AFCI protected, except for
the areas that require GFCI protection. I would recommend checking a code
book for specifics
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