COMMUNITY FORUM

rogerrabbit

05:52PM | 05/02/05
Member Since: 12/14/04
8 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
I am going to be wiring me basement which is unfinished at the time. I was wondering what size of wire I should use? 12-2 or 14-2. It will be just running lights and outlets.. I have the basement broke down into 3 sections. Have enough for the extra breakers. Also, what should I put in for a breaker, 15 amp or 20 amp for all??

Thanks, Roger

Jarrod

05:29PM | 05/03/05
Member Since: 04/12/05
15 lifetime posts
Either wire size is acceptable, but the wire size must match the breaker size. If you use 20 amp breakers, you must use #12 wire. If you use 15 amp breakers, you may use #14 wire.

The choice of one combination or the other is really a matter of preference. 20 amp circuits can obviously carry more load than 15 amp circuits, but this is rarely a concern in a home. On the other hand, since #14 is a smaller gauge wire, it is more flexible and easier to work with.

Either way, you should make sure that the cable you use contains a ground wire (14/2 with ground or 12/2 with ground).

Happy wiring!

Jarrod

MistressEll

06:00AM | 05/04/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
OP: it depends. Check with your local jurisdiction regards to which building codes and electrical codes are effective in your local area, then head off to the library and read up on the subject.

Some codes require limiting residential single family home circuits that contain combination lighting (luminare or light fixtures) and plug and cord receptacles to 1440 VA and 15 amp circuits with exceptions only to dedicated bathroom 20 amp circuits that may also contain a light circuit for that bathroom only and limit its power consumption. The reason for this is that most luminaires (light fixtures) by UL ratings use lesser gauged wiring than can be safely attached to a 20 amp circuit.

strict receptacle ONLY circuits do not have such limitations regards to residental wiring generally, in the codes, excepting certain areas which are specified.

Finally not all areas even ALLOW the use of cabling, so go with the wiring methods that are allowable in YOUR JURISDICTION. (Jarrod some homes and areas are 2-wire GROUNDED with THHN or TW and EMT, SHEESH!).

Determine your wire gauge by the AMPs of your circuit, derated for Ambient temperatures, Ground (EARTH) temperature, length of circuit and derate for conduit/raceways. Also adjust your AWG rating via the rating of your cabling/WIRE temperature VERSUS the rating of your fuse box/circuit breaker box terminals (i.e. if your wire is 90-degree temp rated but your terminals in your circuit breaker box and/or the circuit breakers themselves are rated at 75-degrees or 70-degrees C). you have to derate your wire for heat sink.

The 12 AWG 20 Amp and 14 AWG is a STARTING point. One has to adjust and consider MANY things not just throw in what some poster with a cheat guide and no clear understanding of the codes are. Many jurisdictions in the US use ICC and others use NEC (NFPA Sec 70) for their basis for electrical codes, and they adopt a particular "edition" or Version date for their code authority. Oftentimes local jurisdictions will make modifications to that published code, adding or deleting requirements allowed in their local area. Please check with your AHJ (Authority having jurisdiction) before begining your project and plan accordingly.

Once you know what "code" you need to follow, educated guidance can be offered.

Jarrod's "pat" answer is NOT NECESSARILY CORRECT, as it was not properly "qualified" regards to both NEC and ICC not allowing combination circuits involving luminaires at 20 amps UNLESS EXCEPTED in residential circuits.

Furthermore, if this is other-than a single family dwelling you need to qualify that, as certain attached dwellings (like a 3-flat condo for example where the lower flat includes multi-levels, e.g. basement), a multi-family dwelling, etc. have additional wiring restrictions/considerations.

househelper

07:13AM | 05/04/05
Member Since: 03/31/05
265 lifetime posts
If you think you may eventually finish this area, then go ahead and run two circuits, one for the lights, one for the receptacles. Both can be 14ga or 12ga, I prefer 14ga for the lighting and 12ga for the receptacles, protected by 15A and 20A breakers, respectively. As long as the area is unfinished, the receptacle circuits must be GFCI protected.

All of this is in general terms of course, your local inspector can provide you with specifics for your area.

Jarrod

04:39PM | 05/04/05
Member Since: 04/12/05
15 lifetime posts
Roger,

The guidelines I listed before are just that. Guidelines. As with every post to this BBS, local codes and rules may supercede the national model codes, such as the NEC and ICC.

The guidelines I gave you will work in most locations, and follow standard installation practices. Ell is correct that there are a number of things (such as derating factors, etc) that should be considered. However, the vast majority of them only apply in very limited circumstances, and/or have minimal affects on the overall design.

Also, if Ell had read the ICC, she would notice that the 2003 edition is only 36 pages long. That's because it adopts the almost 800 page NEC by reference, and only makes minor administrative adjustments. So, jurisdictions that adopt the ICC are still in fact using the NEC.

Again, good luck with your project. It's probably not as complicated as some people would have you believe, and a brief visit with you local building department should clear up any lingering questions.

Jarrod

tshea1

04:04PM | 05/05/05
Member Since: 05/03/05
79 lifetime posts
Roger,

The information you gave us is very limited. What is your intention, future plans for the unfinished basement?

What kind, and how many lights (luminaires) are you intending to use? What are teh dimensions? Generally, wall receptacles are located so no point is more than 6' from a receptacle (receptacles are installed 12' apart). Are you gooing to finish the basement? Is it a shop (unfinished)?

If you can answer a few of these questions, I can give you a general recommendation.

Whatever area you are in, check with the local Building Dept & Electrical Inspector to find out if you as a homeowner are allowed to do your own work. If not, contact a reputible Electrical Contractor.

rogerrabbit

02:05AM | 05/14/05
Member Since: 12/14/04
8 lifetime posts
I plans for the basement are to finish the basement. I will probably just get a 1000' spool of 12-2 w/ground wire.

I plan to have a family room/ rec room with a extra bathroom and bedroom down there. I am going to run the bathroom off a circuit by itself. The lights and receptacle by themselves. Maybe put a refrigerator down there too.

I am putting around 30 can lights down there, the size of 28x62, 1750 sq. ft.

MistressEll

06:32AM | 05/16/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
your lighting circuits will need to be independant of your receptacle circuits in all areas except the bathroom, as your lighting circuits will need to be 15 amp.

The bathroom will require a 20 amp GFCI protected circuit and depending on the overhead lighting and if it is a combination fanvent/heat lamp device there are limitations as to the maximum draw it can use.

any remaining unfinished area can remain lit with the 15 amp overhead lighting circuit, but if you have receptacles in unfinished areas they must be GFCI protected, and more current codes require that they be on an independant 20 amp receptacle circuit. You cannot have an overhead lighting circuit combined EVER with a 20 amp circuit unless its the exception for a dedicated and single luminaire fixture for a bathroom (which is required a 20 amp GFCI protected circuit). Residental lighting circuits are otherwise restricted to 15 amp circuits. Laundry areas and any sink areas (or other water hazards like sump pump pits and the like)have special requirements finished and unfinished as well.

If a jurisdiction has adopted an earlier version of the ICC or the NEC and/or adds their own amendments, that is what the code is, until the AHJ adopts a newer version. Check with your local authority as to what code applies in your area.

deration for length is always to be considered as is the length of the entire circuit not just "outlet to outlet" Number of outlets is also to be considered.

And most important is the rating of your circuit overcurrent protection devices and Box in comparison to the rating of your wire. Most older structures have 70 or 75 degree C rated and when you use 90 degree C rated wire you MUST take that derating into consideration.

A basement can easily contain a circuit that is more than 75 feet in total length. Ambient earth temperatures in Southern States and desert areas can easily be factors in basements. Not knowing where in the world your basement is, can't say whether or not that must be factored in derating.

Most "newer codes" also require that BEDROOMS (you mentioned your intent to add a bedroom) be ARC FAULT protected. BEDROOMS are limited to 15 amp circuits. ARC fault protection is quite different than GFCI protection. Whether or not that bedroom will require GFCI being in a basement is a question that can only be determined by which building and fire codes your AHJ has adopted, and how much of this basement is "below grade". There are also issues as to how high from the floor those receptacles must be that is code version and depth from ground level dependant. That BEDROOM will require a separate circuit and will need to be ARC FAULT protected most likely (assuming your AHJ has adopted a code version within the last 10 years). Older bedrooms are grandfathered in but to construct a new one, especially in a basement will envoke that you wire it to your AHJ's current code levels.

12 gauge is fine for your 15 amp circuits but you have already indicated at least ONE location that will require a 20 amp circuit (bathroom addition) so you'll need 10 awg as well at least for THAT circuit.

MistressEll

06:34AM | 05/16/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
that your bathroom needs at least 12 AWG, and your lighting circuits might get away with 14, but that if your bathroom circuit is more than 75 feet and/or other derating factors you MIGHT need a higher gauge for your bathroom, not that you definately did.

Billhart

08:33AM | 05/16/05
Member Since: 04/25/05
1916 lifetime posts
"any remaining unfinished area can remain lit with the 15 amp overhead lighting circuit, but if you have receptacles in unfinished areas they must be GFCI protected, and more current codes require that they be on an independant 20 amp receptacle circuit. You cannot have an overhead lighting circuit combined EVER with a 20 amp circuit unless its the exception for a dedicated and single luminaire fixture for a bathroom (which is required a 20 amp GFCI protected circuit). Residental lighting circuits are otherwise restricted to 15 amp circuits. Laundry areas and any sink areas (or other water hazards like sump pump pits and the like)have special requirements finished and unfinished as well"

The is no general requirment in the NEC that prohibts lighting to be installed on 20 amp circuits. Some 20 amp receptacle circuits (one for multiple bathrooms and the kitcen small appliance circuits) can't also be used to lighting. But that is a limitation those specific types of circuit not on all 20 amp circuits.

However a few localities have adopted such limitations, but it is not in the NEC.

"And most important is the rating of your circuit overcurrent protection devices and Box in comparison to the rating of your wire. Most older structures have 70 or 75 degree C rated and when you use 90 degree C rated wire you MUST take that derating into consideration."

No practical affect since they limited to less than there 60 ampacity anyway.

The only limitation is that some lighting fixtures require 90 degree wiring. But this is NEW so all of the wiring would be 90 anyway.

"A basement can easily contain a circuit that is more than 75 feet in total length. Ambient earth temperatures in Southern States and desert areas can easily be factors in basements. Not knowing where in the world your basement is, can't say whether or not that must be factored in derating."

Where would you find a basement that has an ambient temp over 122?

" BEDROOMS are limited to 15 amp circuits. "

WRONG! There is no general NEC limiting bedroom circuits to 20 amps.

"That BEDROOM will require a separate circuit and will need to be ARC FAULT protected most likely (assuming your AHJ has adopted a code version within the last 10 years)"

There is no requirments for bedrooms to be on separate circuits. There is no prohibition agaisnt powering other parts of the house from a "bedroom" circuit with or without an AFCI.

And "last 10 years" has nothing to do with it. AFCI's did not show up until the 99 NEC and even then did not require them until 2001.

One thing that has not been mentioned is smokes. With remodeling many places require updgrading smoke dectors and more so with a bedroom.

Sometime they will be required hardwired an sometime also tied with hardwired ones in other areas of the house "if practical". That whole area if very subject to local interpretations.

Likewise if you have a hardwired smoke in the bedroom then it is an "outlet" and the 2002 NEC requires that (and lights) to also be AFCI protected. But again many locals have opted out of this.

So if your area requires inspection I would check these out first.


Click_to_reply_button Inspiration_banner

INSPIRATION GALLERY



Post a reply as Anonymous

Photo must be in JPG, GIF or PNG format and less than 5MB.

Reply_choose_button

captcha
type the code from the image

Anonymous

Post_new_button or Login_button
Register

Follow_banner_a
Newsletter_icon Google_plus Facebook Twitter Pinterest Youtube Rss_icon
 
webapp1