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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
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    Question how many outlets and lights

    I am finishing our basement, I have two separated sides separated by the stairs. The first side is 15 x 17, the second is 16 x 18. The first side is play room/computer room. The second is TV room. The first side I was going to put 4 outlets and 6 can lights with 14/2 wire. Is that okay? The second room will have 5 outlets and 6 can lights with 14/2 wire. Is that okay? I have a third circuit that will have two more outlets per room attached to a storage room. How far can I safely run 14/2 wire before the drop. Also what size wire for a ceiling fan w/heater on it?


    Thank you for all the info

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2008
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    Pacific Northwet
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    1,642

    Default Re: how many outlets and lights

    When laying out your outlets, keep in mind that National Electrical Code requires that no point along a usable wall be more than 6 feet from an outlet, and that cords aren't permitted to cross a doorway. Hallways are handled a little differently; I think it's no point on the floor can be more than 6 feet away (since hallways typically have only vacuum cleaners and night lights plugged in). The idea behind this rule is to avoid extension cords.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
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    10

    Default Re: how many outlets and lights

    Thanks for the tip...I will also keep that in mind as I finish my basement.
    Looking for high quality Hidden Content for my new home.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Fayette County, Ohio
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    5,823

    Default Re: how many outlets and lights

    Voltage drop calculations are dependent on wire size, voltage, and load. As a general rule of thumb if you run over 100 feet you would go to the next size wire however for incandescent lights the only effect of the voltage drop would be slightly dimmer lights. There is no real code restrictions on length of run or allowable voltage drop.
    I would suggest however that you run 12 ga (20 amp circuit) rather than 14ga for the outlets and have that separate from the lighting circuits. That way if you pop a breaker you won't be completely in the dark.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    693

    Default Re: how many outlets and lights

    For some reason I have never figured out why, the National Electrical Code does not limit the number of plug receptacles on a residential circuit but they do in commercial to 180va (watts) and I like to use those values for residential calculations as well. The NEC also limits continuous loads to 80% of the value of the over current protection for the circuit. A continuous load according to the NEC is any load that last 3 hours or longer so will definitely include your light fixtures and I figure all loads on these types of circuits figure into that type of continuous load calculation.

    So if we use those values you would be able to load a 15amp circuit to 12amps and a 20 amp circuit to 16amps of continuous duty at 80%.

    So if we use some very simple math then volts x amps = allowable watts on a circuit.

    12amps x 120volts = 1400watts (15amp circuit.) 16amps x 120volts = 1920 (20amp circuit.)

    Take your light fixtures at face value when doing your calculations.

    This, along with the great posts above should allow you to answer your question.

    If Notů. Post back!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The Great White North
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    4,045

    Angry Re: how many outlets and lights

    For some reason I have never figured out why, the National Electrical Code does not limit the number of plug receptacles on a residential circuit
    In Canada there is a limit as to the number of devices allowed on a general circuit.
    For example ... a 15 amp circuit for lights and receptacles can only have a maximum of 12 ... whether they are all lights or receptacles or a combination of both. In some cases local regulations limit this number to 10 devices.

    I agree about seperating the lights from the receptacles... this also limits the dimming or flickering lights .
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
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    645

    Default Re: how many outlets and lights

    Quote Originally Posted by NEC View Post
    For some reason I have never figured out why, the National Electrical Code does not limit the number of plug receptacles on a residential circuit but they do in commercial to 180va (watts) and I like to use those values for residential calculations as well. The NEC also limits continuous loads to 80% of the value of the over current protection for the circuit. A continuous load according to the NEC is any load that last 3 hours or longer so will definitely include your light fixtures and I figure all loads on these types of circuits figure into that type of continuous load calculation.

    So if we use those values you would be able to load a 15amp circuit to 12amps and a 20 amp circuit to 16amps of continuous duty at 80%.

    So if we use some very simple math then volts x amps = allowable watts on a circuit.

    12amps x 120volts = 1400watts (15amp circuit.) 16amps x 120volts = 1920 (20amp circuit.)

    Take your light fixtures at face value when doing your calculations.

    This, along with the great posts above should allow you to answer your question.

    If Notů. Post back!
    I was always taught the the reason of no limit on outlets is because it lessens the chance of homeowners using those cheap brown extension cords. Might just be true.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: how many outlets and lights

    Quote Originally Posted by JLMCDANIEL View Post
    Voltage drop calculations are dependent on wire size, voltage, and load. As a general rule of thumb if you run over 100 feet you would go to the next size wire however for incandescent lights the only effect of the voltage drop would be slightly dimmer lights. There is no real code restrictions on length of run or allowable voltage drop.
    I would suggest however that you run 12 ga (20 amp circuit) rather than 14ga for the outlets and have that separate from the lighting circuits. That way if you pop a breaker you won't be completely in the dark.
    Jack

    Oh, yes their is a NEC code about voltage drop. No more than 3% on branch circuits and no more than 5% on service and branch circuits.

    As a rule. No more than 10 outlets on a circuit. Far as #14 AWG. Use #12. #14 is just control wire. You'll never see a union electrician use #14.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,823

    Default Re: how many outlets and lights

    Quote Originally Posted by Union Sparkie View Post
    Oh, yes their is a NEC code about voltage drop. No more than 3% on branch circuits and no more than 5% on service and branch circuits.

    As a rule. No more than 10 outlets on a circuit. Far as #14 AWG. Use #12. #14 is just control wire. You'll never see a union electrician use #14.
    Actually there is not an NEC code, there is onlt a FPN (fine print note) An FPN is not a code requirement.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: how many outlets and lights

    Quote Originally Posted by Union Sparkie View Post
    Oh, yes their is a NEC code about voltage drop. No more than 3% on branch circuits and no more than 5% on service and branch circuits.

    As a rule. No more than 10 outlets on a circuit. Far as #14 AWG. Use #12. #14 is just control wire. You'll never see a union electrician use #14.
    Very few non-union as well

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