# Big Basement Project: Electrical Diagram

I'm starting a pretty large basement project and some good advice on my circuit plan will be welcome.

My house is pretty new (less than 3 years old) and I believe I have 200A on the distribution board. The new planned living space in the basement is about 1400sqf.

This is my first attempt at a circuit diagram.
20A - 14 Lights Bar/Game/Hall
15A - 12 Lights Fam/Gym/Store
15A - 11 Lights Office/Hall/Bed/Util
15A - 8 Outlets Game/Fam
15A - 10 Outlets Office/Hall/Bed
20A - 9 Outlets Gym/Bar.Store
20A - Bath Lights and Outlets

1) Any suggestions for a better circuit layout?
2) How many circuits (breakers) can I add to my existing system?

Thanks
Chris
New Hampshire

Attached Images

 xxluvmexxhatemexx Posts: 45, Reputation: 3 Junior Member #2 Mar 17, 2008, 05:17 PM
You may need 2 to 3 circuit breakers
 donf Posts: 5,068, Reputation: 2798 Printers & Electronics Expert #3 Mar 17, 2008, 05:20 PM
Chris,

#1 - Call a licensed electrician to review your plans. Apart from red, blue and black lines running all over the place without description. Is Red = 20 amp, Black = 15 amp, Blue = ? Where is the SEP with respect to the basement. Have you put together a better set of plans to submit to the LRA for your permit application? Did you do any load sizing from the calcs in the NFPA section 70 code book? Where is the GFCI for the bathroom and bar?

You need to add a specs page detailing the electrical circuits gauge wire to be used where the outlets are to be and the loads to expect for them.

2) See the open panel door, count the blank slots. That's the number of spare slots you have.

I'm going to pull your pics into photoshop to see if I can make more sense of them by blowing them up. Do you know what formulas you need to do the circuits in the basement?
 Stratmando Posts: 10,772, Reputation: 2580 Uber Member #4 Mar 17, 2008, 05:25 PM
I see maybe 7 to 8 or more, not counting a 2 pole?(240 volts? For Water heater). Have each room on its own circuit.
Don't forget computer, speaker, alarm, anything else now. Doesn't get easier or cheaper than now.
Supposed to do Load Calculations, You are probablay OK, I see 2 Pole breakers, the rest single pole.What do you currently have?
 buckrogers Posts: 3, Reputation: 1 New Member #5 Mar 17, 2008, 09:05 PM
Thanks for the replies. I'm not as far along as you may think, I just started with the electrical planning. I was hoping to get some expert advice from this forum before going too far.

First thing, I'm limited to the image size I can upload, so here are some better images:
The basement circuit layout
Existing home panel
Existing panel description

The different colors are just to clarify my different circuits for now and have no special meaning. Black are the outlet circuits (and the bathroom), blue are lights, orange TV. I worked on a safe capacity of 1440 watts for 15A and 1920 watts for 20A.

I'll explain how I came to these
20A - 14 Lights Bar/Game/Hall (blue)
14 rececced lights (75-100W). I can probably splitt this in two 15A circuits
15A - 12 Lights Fam/Gym/Store (blue)
12 rececced lights (75-100W).
15A - 11 Lights Office/Hall/Bed/Util (blue)
11 rececced lights (75-100W).
15A - 8 Outlets Game/Fam (black)
The game room will not have any appliences. The Family room will have a TV and radio.
15A - 10 Outlets Office/Hall/Bed (black)
Nothing big planned for this circuit. One or two computer maybe).
20A - 9 Outlets Gym/Bar/Store (black)
The gym will have a TV and treadmill. This circuit includes GFI outlets in the bar. Should I use a separate circuit for a small bar fridge, or will the 20A do?
20A - Bath Lights and Outlets (black)
The bathroom has it's own 20A circuit for the GFI, lights and fan.

Donf, sorry, not sure what the SEP is you refer to. I'll be using 14-gauge wire for the 15A circuits and 12-gauge for the 20A. Any advice on making my diagram easier to read? My books don't have many examples.
 bolt in blue Posts: 62, Reputation: 5 Junior Member #6 Mar 17, 2008, 10:15 PM
A couple of thoughts for you. In this day and age, I wouldn't run any new 15 amp outlet circuits. 15 amps might be fine for you now, but when you put a few desktop computers and a color laser printer in the office or a true home theater in the family room, you'll be kicking yourself for not running 12 gauge wiring.

What edition of the National Electric Code (NEC) is in effect in your jurisdiction? I found out that my county in VA uses the 2002 code from the building department's website. Unless they have made changes to the code (which they should tell you), you will almost certainly need to have the bedroom outlets on an arc fault circuit breaker. You'll likely also need to have the bedroom lights on an arc fault protected circuit. Remember the hardwired smoke detector. If the rest of your smoke detectors are hardwired and linked, you'll probably need to have this one connected with them as well.

About your wet bar: they're treated the same as kitchens by electrical code. That means that you'll need two 20 amp circuits for small appliances along the counters. You can have the refrigerator on one of these circuits (it still has to have a countertop outlet on it to count), but most people around here recommend putting it on its own circuit as a safeguard against food spoilage in case of an unnoticed breaker trip. Every segment of counter over 1' in width will need an outlet. Plan on reading up on the kitchen electrical requirements - there's a lot of them!

Hope your project goes well. Looks like you have a lot of construction ahead of you. Wish I were motivated enough to get a project that big done around here!
 stanfortyman Posts: 5,198, Reputation: 1401 Electrical & Lighting Expert #7 Mar 18, 2008, 05:11 AM

Quote:
 Originally Posted by bolt in blue About your wet bar: they're treated the same as kitchens by electrical code. That means that you'll need two 20 amp circuits for small appliances along the counters. You can have the refrigerator on one of these circuits (it still has to have a countertop outlet on it to count), but most people around here recommend putting it on its own circuit as a safeguard against food spoilage in case of an unnoticed breaker trip. Every segment of counter over 1' in width will need an outlet. Plan on reading up on the kitchen electrical requirements - there's a lot of them!
A wet bar is most certainly NOT treated the same as a kitchen. There is NO two 20A circuit rule and no rules regarding refrigerators.
The only common rule is the GFI rule, and even this is not the same. Wet bars use old "within 6' of the sink" rule for GFI protecting receptacles.

Just use common sense when wiring areas such as this.
 Stratmando Posts: 10,772, Reputation: 2580 Uber Member #8 Mar 18, 2008, 08:26 AM
Oh yeah, Smoke detectors and Arc Fault breakers, We can't, and I don't use #14.
 bolt in blue Posts: 62, Reputation: 5 Junior Member #9 Mar 18, 2008, 11:33 AM
Quote:
 Originally Posted by stanfortyman A wet bar is most certainly NOT treated the same as a kitchen. There is NO two 20A circuit rule and no rules regarding refrigerators. The only common rule is the GFI rule, and even this is not the same. Wet bars use old "within 6' of the sink" rule for GFI protecting receptacles. Just use common sense when wiring areas such as this.
My bad. Good to hear they have more common sense somewhere else than they do here! One of my coworkers had to jump through a lot of hoops with his wet bar to please the Loudon County, VA electrical inspector.
 donf Posts: 5,068, Reputation: 2798 Printers & Electronics Expert #10 Mar 18, 2008, 04:33 PM
Buck,

I'll be happy to dl the pics and take a look at them. Please bare in mind that folks like TKRussell, Stratmando, Keepitsimple, Labman and Stanforty are much more experienced at sizing circuits so bare with me if they correct my work, accept the corrections as Gospel.

As far as a general rule of thumb, the NEC uses a max of 10 outlets for lighting branch circuits at 15 Amp, using #14/2 AWG. (10*120*15) = 18,000 Watts.

Receptacle outlets are also suggested at a max of 10. It's your choice whether to use 15 or 20 amp breakers. My suggestion is to go to 20 amp
(10*20*20) = 24,000 Watts per branch circuit. You can use 15 amp receptacles on a 20 amp line. The conductor would be a #12/3 AWG.

In fact, if you want to save misery down the road and you do not mind the additional cost of the wire, you can wire everything using #12/2 so you do not have to tear out the #14/2 if you upgrade.

CAUTION: If you use #12/2 conductors for your lighting circuits, make sure you select 15 amp breakers and 15 amp loads.

You can use the standard 15 amp receptacles for your plugs and switches.

Gotta-run now.

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