05:29PM | 05/03/05
Member Since: 05/02/05
2 lifetime posts
We are having a garage build by a contractor. I wanted to have a window installed and he suggested it wasn't necessary. I just feel it would give some light to the garage. Does anyone have advice on this? I also wanted lights installed on either side of the garage door and he suggested not to do that either as they just will get broken.?? This is our first garage so we don't really know about do's and don't of it all. Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Thanks L


06:22PM | 05/03/05
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hi Lynden,

Well, it's YOUR garage, so I think what YOU want should play a large part in what gets done!

Were these items specified in your plans? If not (and a price was agreed to), it might be a bit unfair to ask to have them put in after the fact. What stage are you at?


-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum


03:11AM | 05/04/05
Member Since: 05/02/05
2 lifetime posts
We've not signed off on anything yet- I was not able to stay for the whole appt so my husband and contractor discussed this. Hubby didn't really care one way or the other and he didn't realize this was something I wanted,so he didn't really push the issue. The money isn't the issue anyway- we intend on being here for many more years. I just was looking for pro's and con's to the window- Hubby thinks it might be more tempting for thieves as it would have to be facing the back lane. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

:) L


11:48AM | 05/04/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
First of all, yes it's true that thieves will have a view of what's in the garage, can use a window to enter and the garage itself offer's cover for their activities. consider your situation accordingly. I'll assume that you also have a fixed entry/exit door in your plan besides just the garage door for vehicles.

Secondly, as this is not an attached garage (I'm assuming), the electrical requirements are quite strict (electrical codes) for detached non-residential structures. However if you wish this structure (garage) to be "electrified", that is to have any electrical source (receptacles, lighting, etc.) before you even THINK about signing on the dotted line this issue needs to be addressed. Secondly, lighting (luminaires) will require a seperate circuit than your receptacles. This is because your garage receptacles will have to be 20 Amp GFCI circuit (depending on the codes applicable in your area) and lighting fixtures need to be on 15 amp circuits). Again, this is an issue you need to address NOW, in the planning and pre-contract stage, not later.

Of course you're going to want your access points lit (side door and garage/auto door). Some residential building codes not only require this, but some local codes even require that any street or alley facing sides be marked with address and light during all non-daylight hours!

I'd make a quick check with your authority having jurisdiction over building codes in your area and inquire which "code book" and which addition year they use for your garage structure and electrical codes.

Another idea might be a skylight. Like K2 said "its your garage and you can have a window if you want", as long as the AHJ concurs.


12:26PM | 05/04/05
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hi again,

One thing I've heard about windows on garages is that they could let thieves see that your car(s) are gone--so that you are too. This is in addition to providing a view of other grabbables.

Our garage doesn't have windows on the garage door, but it has a side window. This window has black film (put on by a previous owner). It is quite difficult to see inside, but it does allow light to enter.

The skylight is actually an interesting idea, I think. They provide LOTS of light, that's for sure. And heating loss probably isn't an issue.

Thanks for the electrical insight, L...obviously codes must be followed. You'll probably want some electricity--for your garage door opener as well as lighting and plugs. I had professional electricians put a subpanel on our (detached) garage years ago. This is a nice option, especially if you might want 240v out there at some point. (Power tools!) As a good bit of the cost is labor, might as well think about doing it right the first time.


-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum

doug seibert

03:11AM | 05/05/05
Member Since: 08/10/02
843 lifetime posts
Please help me understand....I'm not an "electrician".........You've posted this info....(No light fixtures on 20 AMP circuit)....several times lately and quite frankly I've NEVER heard it before.....

".....Secondly, lighting (luminaires) will require a seperate circuit than your receptacles. This is because your garage receptacles will have to be 20 Amp GFCI circuit (depending on the codes applicable in your area) and lighting fixtures need to be on 15 amp circuits......."

Can you explain more.......Do you have any code references to substantiate this point.........


06:03AM | 05/20/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
Although receptacle ONLY circuits in residential structures don't have limitations unless otherwise restricted, lighting circuits and those that contain both lighting fixtures AND receptacles DO.

Lighting loads are demand and/or continuous loads. Old 210.6 (few AHJ's have adopted 2005 and since its re-codified on many issues, "luminaires" included, AND i'm in a hurry, and my AHJ hasn't yet adopted it so I'm not that quick to pull the newer cites up out of my brain yet, I'll skip the newer references).

210.6 limits combination circuits to any COMBINATION of cord and plug connected loads WITH lighting fixtures (now referred to as "luminaires") at 120 volts, nominal, WERE restricted to 1440VA in dwelling units (old 210-6) irregardless of whether or not it was a 15A or a 20A branch circuit. There are many reasons for this. A) conductors must be sized and not designed to be loaded above 80% of their capacity and luminaires frequently have wiring of 16 AWG and 18 AWG, and B) overcurrent protection devices are not to be designed to be loaded above 80% of capacity. This is a code-required designed protection for demand times and still not cause an over-load situation. Additionally an Overcurrent protection device (fuse or circuit breaker) is not designed to open the circuit until the power drawn exceeds its rating, and tolerances for power and time are based on the circuit to be designed on this premiss. cross reference the ampacity tables, etc. for 18 and 16 AWG and the answer becomes clear regards to a combination circuit with luminaires not being allowed to be 20 amps. There is a SPECIFIC exception allowing ONE such luminaire in a dedicated 20 amp BATHROOM receptacle circuit and it too has limitations as to the power rating of what is installed.

GFCI receptacles in garages, detached residential structures (more strict) and attached and required to be 20 amp circuits? You know the references for these conditions as you too have cited them. this is building a garage that never existed before and we don't know at thispoint if it is attached or detached, only that it will be "facing" the alley. As you know accessible and not otherwise dedicated receptacles in either scenario must be GFCI protected. (exceptions are the overhead outlet servicing a garage door opener perhaps, and one not readily accessible servicing a refrigerator or freezer for example. GFCI is required 210-8(a)(1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6) and (7), 210-8(b) in Residential bathrooms, storage & work areas, all exterior sites, garages, unfinished basements, kitchen counter tops, wet bars, boathouses and with 2003 & 2005 all areas within 6' RADIUS of a sink, and a dedicated GFCI protected receptacle circuit in laundry rooms in addition to those supplying laundry appliances. 305-6 (a) and (b) All permanently-wired receptacles used for power during construction or remodeling.

IF the garage is detached there are limits as to the kva and number of receptacles that are invoked that don't exist if the garage is ATTACHED to the home.

Since the OP has left this thread, I don't know why you continue to challenge, as I have referred you before to the 1440va and 80% (converse of 125%) demand load limitation before but you keep missing it. I know YOU know, Doug, about the GFCI and 20 amp requirement as you have cited it before, and surely you realize that there are additional restrictions regards to DETACHED garages.

Of course even more interesting is if she'd like to beable to control the exterior lighting on the garage, IF detached, from the house, but why introduce a factor that the OP hasn't suggested.

doug seibert

10:19AM | 05/20/05
Member Since: 08/10/02
843 lifetime posts
"The nominal voltage of branch circuits shall not exceed the values permitted by 210.6(A)through (E)"

Section (A)(1) Limits the VOLTAGE to 120 volts for Luminaires

........(A)(2) Limits the voltage to 120 volts to "Cord-and-plug-connected loads 1440 volt-amperes, nominal, or less or less than 1/4 hp"

(B)120 Volts supply permitted to


(2)electric-discharge lamps

(3)Cord-and-plug-connected or permanently connected utilization equipment......



(E)over 600 volts......

Where does it prohibit the lights on a 20 AMP circuit ?


11:16AM | 05/20/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
check your ampacity tables for wire gauge. Then check the listings for luminaries. Find one that uses 12 AWG. When you do, install away. 12 AWG is the minimum allowable conductor in a 20 amp circuit (I referenced the ampacity tables friend, don't know why you can't read an entire paragraph).

Just as you're NOT ALLOWED to pigtail 15 amp receptacles with 20 amp flow-thru on a 20 amp circuit with 14 AWG, (12 AWG minimum).

I said the restriction was for either circuit (1440 va). The requirement to rate luminaires as demand loads is elsewhere as is the requirements for wire gauges used in circuits based on ampacity as well as other tables for derating, temperature, etc.

I can't help that you rely on non-consensus non-authoritative guides instead of the actual code.

Because you can't read the entirety of a post, I won't bother responding to YOU again. You obviously can't comprehend more than ONE SIMPLE thought at a time, I mentioned four areas of the code, not one. As much as been re-codified with 2005 and I don't have to work with it yet (by the way if you have a first edition lots of errata hope you got the correction sheet) as my AHJ uses 2002. and the citations greatly differ as to tables and sections cross referenced.

from my previous post: "cross reference the ampacity tables, etc. for 18 and 16 AWG and the answer becomes clear regards to a combination circuit with luminaires not being allowed to be 20 amps.".


05:36AM | 05/22/05
Member Since: 04/25/05
1918 lifetime posts
1) There is nothing in the NEC that requires a 20 amp circuit for garage receptacles, but some local codes might have adopted such a requirement.

2) You don't understand anything about electrical systems.

The circuit breakers not designed to portect the LOAD only the SYSTEM WIRING.

The light fixture is otherwise approved by UL and can be used on 15 or 20 amp circuits.

Just think about this. How come you can plug a table lamp with a #18 cord into a 20 amp circuit?

And circuit breakers are designed to carry 100% or rated current. You need to understand the difference between long term and short term loads.

Now if you look at 240-4(b) (99 NEC) you will find the limitations on supply cords and FIXTURE WIRING.

#18 cord can be used on 20 amp branch circuits

#16 cord can be used on 30 amp branch circuit.

#18 and #16 FIXTURE WIRING can be used on 20 amp branch circuits.

However, 402-5 limits the APPLICATION of FIXTURE WIRING to load that won't drawn more than #18-6 amps, #16-8 amps.

In other words that means that the light fixture made with #18 wire can have more than 720 watts worth of bulbs in it. But it can still be connected to a 20 amp circuit.

You can't just pull factoids out of the code and not understand what they mean or how they relate to other sections.

And not I am not Doug. Nor am I Jarrod, or John, or Harry, or Ralph, or anyone other than.

Just Plain Old Bill from FHB, but you knew that, righ.

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