10:47AM | 04/18/05
Member Since: 12/01/03
30 lifetime posts
I am semi-finsihing my basement and would like to run some electricity to the finshed office I will build.

The office will be 12 x 9 - will have 4 wall outlets, and a wired 5 foot long baseboard electric heater. I will not be using ceiling light - just a few plug ins around the wall. I will also have a computer in the room.

I was going to run a line for a 20 amp circuit to that room - then have a professional hook it up.

Is this a reasonable set up or will I run into issues if/when I sell the house ??

Thanks - jg1234

Tom O

03:16PM | 04/18/05
Member Since: 09/17/02
477 lifetime posts
Generally speaking, there must be at least one switched lighting outlet in each room of a dwelling. I don't recall seeing anything in the code about home offices, so it would be best to treat it like most other rooms. I would, at the very least, install a switch that controls at least 1/2 of one of the duplex receptacles.

Better still, would be to also install a box & wire in the ceiling for a future light. You never know when you might change your mind.



05:05AM | 04/19/05
Member Since: 12/01/03
30 lifetime posts

Thanks for the reply. I didn't realize that about the switch - that's a good idea.

I think you are right about the celing box - not a bad idea to do that also.



06:09AM | 04/20/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
most such devices have a high wattage/amp rating. If this is "hardwired" I believe you'll get into code issues combining it with your "outlet" circuit. Furthermore, since you describe it as an "office" you may run into troubles running your computer, printer, etc. when that baseboard heater "kicks in". You may want to consider two circuits (i.e. power load at peak volume) to avoid running into "brown out" situations and constant trips to the circuit breaker box when you attempt to draw more power than your single 20 amp circuit can handle.

Also most "higher end" commercial type laser printers can't tolerate being on the same circuit as a battery back up APS type surge protector thingy is on for your computer equipment.

Now, there is no requirement to limit the number of recepticles/outlets on a home circuit in the codes, but the rule for commercial/industrial applications may be worthy of abiding by, if you're planning on a "computerized" office setting, as when "up and running" you'll be drawing a lot of power, especially when your computer cooling fan kicks in at the same time your monitor is running and your baseboard heater is in a heating cycle.

Just points to ponder (been there done that). Its much easier to run that extra circuit (and from the OTHER side of your circuit breaker box -opposite pole) before you close up the walls.


10:17PM | 04/21/05
Member Since: 05/11/03
62 lifetime posts
You need to run at least 2 separate circuits. One for lights and recepticles and one for the heat. You may be wise to consult the proffessional BEFORE you install the wires to make sure you do it correctly.

Jim Simmons
WA State Master Electrician


05:07PM | 04/23/05
Member Since: 04/12/05
15 lifetime posts
There IS in fact a limit to the number of receptacles that can be connected to a 20 amp circuit. The National Electrical Code states that each device (whether a single, double, or triple plug in a single device) must be calculated at 180 volt-amps minimum (that is 1.5 amps at 120 volts). Therefore, that maximum number of receptacle devices that may be connected to a 20 amp, 120 volt circuit is 20/1.5, or 13.

Also, most if not all circuit breaker panels available today do NOT have the A-phase on one side and the B-phase on the other. The phases alternate A-B-A-B... from top to bottom, which is how a 2-pole (240 volt) breaker can connect the way it does. Breakers directly across the panel from each other will be on the same phase.

If I were doing this project in my house, I would definitely have a separate circuit for the heater. The 'future' light could share a circuit with the receptacles, but I probably would separate them as well. If you make sure to have a separate neutral (white) wire for each of the circuits, then it won't matter what phase you connect them to. This is the safer way to go for most DIY'ers, to ensure that you do not end up sharing the neutral for two circuits on the same phase, and thus overloading the neutral wire.

Good Luck!



05:21PM | 04/23/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
Jarrod, that limit you referenced is NOT for residential single family or duplex applications. It also doesn't apply to attached garages. IT does apply in all other structures NOT residential.

However I was suggesting that he abide by that limit considering he was planning to use this area as a "home office" and expect that most home offices these days support computer equipment. However, the fact that he uses the space as an office does NOT mean that commercial/industrial code limits regards to six duplex recepticles on one circuit apply. (the 80 percent KVA limit for branch circuit Amperage).

However code issues that do apply have been addressed, i.e. the heating device must be on a seperate circuit, his outlet (receptical and other outlets), one of which must (one side only is necessary) be controlled by a wall switch and the switch accessable from the door way -- unless there is an overhead luminaire installed (that would be a different 15 amp circuit) that is controlled by a wall switch is in place.

Furthermore I recommended that he consider TWO circuits for his outlets as modern "office grade" laser printers don't do kindly when installed on the same circuit as a surge strip, and especially on one of those combination battery backup/surge devices like APS.

Please re-check your code reference Jarrod, you are quoting an area that is expressly NOT applicable to residential single-family dwellings.


05:24PM | 04/23/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
your calculation is wrong, each receptical is 1.5...a duplex is three. That code reference you mention also says you can't exceed 80 percent, so the reference to which you refer would make the limit LOWER regards to duplex recepticals. You're not allowed to "round UP", and cannot exceed 80 percent in commercial, industrial, detached structures (detached garages) and multi-family units.


05:28PM | 04/23/05
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
YOU NEVER SHARE A NEUTRAL in branch circuits required to be GFCI protected! SHAME ON YOU!

If you do...and the GFCI goes off, the other circuit will appear DEAD to the unsuspecting, when in fact IT IS NOT...and could KILL some poor unsuspecting soul. This is WHY YOU ARE NEVER SUPPOSED TO SHARE A NEUTRAL in ANY CIRCUIT that ANYWHERE IN that CIRCUIT GFCI protection is installed/required.


06:53PM | 04/23/05
Member Since: 03/31/05
265 lifetime posts
You can share a neutral in a gfi circuit IF you use a 120/240 GFI breaker.
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