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How to Turn a Garage into a Recreation Room


By Dave Rongey - Summary:

How to Wire a Recreation Room or a Bonus Room: Planning a Garage Conversion Project, Identify the Devices and Circuits, Typical Electrical Circuits.


Electrical Wiring for a Recreation or Bonus Room

Electrical Question: My Dad is attempting to turn his garage into a rec room. Due to the neighborhood, the concrete floor in the garage has to be made into a raised floor.

  • He has no electrical experience, he would like to install 2 ceiling fans, a plasma TV or two.
  • He also wants to add a window and sliding glass doors on one side, as well as ductless AC unit.
  • He needs to install receptacles, switches, wire of course.
  • My concern is he is attempting to do all this on his own, without his son, a union electrician.
  • He spoke of pulling hot wire, and believes he can run all this from one circuit. Since my father will not accept my help, do you have any suggestions on how he can install all this correctly without shocking himself again.
  • Yes he went cutting into the wall without turning off power and has shocked himself once.

This electrical wiring question came from: Adam, from Mech, Virginia.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Adam.

How to Wire a Recreation Room or Bonus Room

Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best installed by a licensed electrician.
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 project, the type of construction and available access to the project area.
Precaution: Any existing wiring in the immediate area that may interfere with the installation of new electrical wiring should be identified and turned OFF and Tagged.
Important: Installing additional electrical wiring should be done with a permit and be inspected.

Planning a Garage Conversion Project

  • Planning the Area
    All projects should begin with the end in mind and always with a permit and the required inspections.
  • Identify the Devices and Circuits
    Make a list of all the electrical devices that will be installed or used in order to calculate the required number and size of the electrical circuits.
  • Typical Electrical Circuits
    The most common circuits will include 15 or 20 amp 120 volt circuits which will supply power to light switches and light fixtures, wall outlets, and other devices that will be used in the area.
  • Electrical Code Compliance
    Code requirements will need to be identified for the space and the intended use to ensure safety of the structure and the occupants. The actual codes will depend on what the area will be used for, and if it will be considered to be an occupied space.
  • Avoiding Problems
    If a person insists on performing such projects on their own without regard to code compliance and building permits will end up doing the project incorrectly which may cause a great deal of expense when the corrections are required or the faults are discovered.

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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.