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Are You Doing Your Electrical Wiring Project Right?


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

Installing Home Electrical Circuit Wiring: Planning Electrical Wiring for a Home Project, Electrical Codes and Circuit Requirements.


How to Install Home Electrical Circuits and Wiring

Electrical Question: I am finishing my basement project. I am doing the electrical wiring myself, but I will have an electrician hook up the circuit breaker box.

  • I have installed 30 can lights and 32 outlets.
  • I have 6 empty slots which will have 20amp breakers.
  • I did use 12 AWG wire.

I was going to split the breakers as follows:

  1.  Half of great room with 4 can lights and 6 plugs.
  2.  Half of great room with 6 can lights and 5 plugs.
  3.  Bedroom with 5 can lights and 6 plugs.
  4.  Bathroom with 5 can lights, 4 plugs, and a vent fan.
  5.  Laundry room and storage room with 4 can lights (2 in each room) and 5 plugs. *the washer and dryer will use their existing breakers from upstairs.
  6. Office with 6 can lights and 6 plugs.

Will the 6 (20 amp) breakers suffice for these rooms?
Thanks in advance,
Wayne

This electrical wiring question came from: Wayne, a Homeowner from Shepherdsville, Kentucky.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Wayne.
Application: Installing Home Electrical Wiring
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Tools Required: Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools for Rough-In Wiring, Electric Drill and Auger Bits and Extension Cord.
Estimated Time: Depends on the extent of the basement wiring project, the type of construction and available access to the basement project area.
Precaution: Any existing wiring in the immediate area that may interfere with the installation should be identified and turned OFF and Tagged.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.

Planning Electrical Wiring for a Home Project and Doing It Right

  • Wayne, this is a very loaded question, so I will summarize with this, and please understand my position here. I admire the fact that you want to do this project yourself, however every electrical project should be done right, beginning with a plan, after obtaining a permit and then fully inspected. With the information that you have provided there are some serious issues with your basement wiring project.
  • I might add here that with a project like this you may have a problem hiring a licensed electrical contractor who will come in and make the connections, because he will be assuming responsibility for your electrical wiring project, unless he requires you to sign a waiver that will release him of any liability.
  • I will say as nicely as I can that just because any individual installs electrical wring does not mean that it is done correctly, even if it appears to work. This is why we have electrical codes and we must install our projects with a permit and have all the necessary inspections.

Overlooked items that are not mentioned in this Basement Wiring Project include:

  • Smoke Detectors where required in inhabited areas.
  • AFCI protection for bedrooms and other outlets as required.
  • GFCI protected circuits for bathrooms, kitchens, and other locations as required.
  • Dedicated Circuits as required to specific areas to avoid overloaded conditions.
    • An explanation of all of these items can be found in my book, and are too extensive to list here, you may want to consider my Home Electrical Wiring eBook.

Failure to Plan is the Biggest Mistake

The biggest problem with this and so many other projects like this is the person starts asking questions after the work has been done. Each and every successful electrical wiring project should begin with a plan and an understanding of the full scope of every component of the project and the all the building codes and local ordinances that apply.

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Electrical Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all projects.

FAQs Frequently Asked Questions and Comments

2 Responses to “Are You Doing Your Electrical Wiring Project Right?”
  1. Nelson says:

    Dave, you are absolutely right. Personally I think he has over did the wiring since he did not mention the size of the basement. Also I’m thinking he has too many drops per circuit.

    • Dave Rongey says:

      Thank You Nelson,

      I think this was one example where his intentions were correct but the method and understanding was lacking. The electrician should have been consulted first to discuss the project, plan everything out, get the permit and then proceed.

      I think this is known as putting the cart before the horse.
      Dave


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