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Where Do I Need Dedicated Circuits?

Posted by emilynewhome (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 14, 09 at 17:25

Please help, we're purchasing a tract home (yes moving again)! in Texas. The builder's upgrade sheet states they will put in additional dedicated circuits @$130 each.

I'm assuming there's a minimum code that they follow especially for kitchen appliances, but where else would I want dedicated circuits? TV, computer, garage, exterior, generator stub out? Appreciate any advice.


Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Where Do I Need Dedicated Circuits?

If you don't have a wiring diagram for the house, see if you can get one. At least get a detailed breaker list. You need to know where you are starting.

If you haven't already checked out a "readable" Code book, that would be worthwhile. Taunton's Code Check series is pretty good, in my opinion, and covers things like how many circuits you need where. I'm not a licensed electrician, and don't know Texas state or local code, but some of the things I'd consider are:

* Bathrooms -- as I recall, you could "share" bathroom circuits among multiple bathrooms. One hair dryer about maxes out a circuit. One circuit per bathroom, plus lighting in them, in my opinion.

* Kitchen -- if its only $130, bring in wiring for a range, a wall oven, as well as another for other 220V appliances (such as a high-end espresso maker) Consider extra countertop circuits if there are only two. If you have a toaster oven and a microwave, you're stand mixer will trip one of the two circuits.

* Computers/DVRs -- I'd invest in a good UPS rather than a dedicated circuit, unless you run servers 24x7. $270 into a erfurbished APC SUA1500 or the like is, in my opinion, a better investment than a dedicated line. Same for your three digital DVRs.

* Outside -- think of places you want power. You probably don't need an additional circuit, but more just a GFCI outlet and rain cover:
- By the grill for a light
- Near the back and front hoses for the power washer
- Everywhere you want a bug zapper

* Garage -- (outlet) near the cars for a "mechanic's trouble light"

* Garage -- 220V if you are ever going to run a table saw, welder, lathe, or the like

Here is a link that might be useful: Refurbished APC UPS

RE: Where Do I Need Dedicated Circuits?

Thanks for the helpful suggestions!

We are having the builder do a stub out for a future, permanent gas generator, would that or whole house surge protector take care of computer?

You've probably guessed by now, that I know absolutely nothing about electrical issues. I just need information to relay to our builder and hope he will do it satisfactorily!

RE: Where Do I Need Dedicated Circuits?

I seriously doubt a 50A 240v circuit for a range is included in that $130 number.
I bet that is for a single 120v 15 or 20A circuit.

RE: Where Do I Need Dedicated Circuits?


Some minor suggestions:

1) Outside house: GFCI power outlets on all four exposures of the house. Good for power washers (electric) and holiday lights and landscape lights.

2) Ask for a power, neutral and ground wire to all your light switch locations. Why? Later you can retrofit yourself Z-wave lighting controls.

3) Need to think about phone, ethernet and cable TV.

4) Wall mount TV locations. You will need power, cable TV outlet; and HDMI, RGB, Audio, basically a whole bunch of what ever you can get your hands on to link your TV to where your DVD, cable box will be located. Putting in those wires before your sheet rock is much cheaper.

5) Wall mount TV blocking. Large TV's are heavy. Make sure behing your sheet rock you have extra wood support so that when you come to fix the TV to the wall it will be easy with good support. Esially important if you have a steel frame studes instead of wood studs.

Hope this is useful.

Cheers, Mike.

RE: Where Do I Need Dedicated Circuits?

The code requies certain dedicate circuits on kitchen counters, bathrooms and laundry rooms.

Other places that would benefit from dedicated receptacles are
Entertainment center
Computer center

Places that could benefit from additional receptacles but not necessarily dedicate receptacles
under windows for displays in windows
under eaves for seasonal lighting
all four sides of house for weed wacker etc.
additional kitchen counter receptacles for appliances

RE: Where Do I Need Dedicated Circuits?

A little O/T, but "surge protectors" are about useless for protecting computers. While a "whole-house" one isn't a bad idea, if it's cheap, it doesn't protect to the level required for electronic equipment, won't handle lightning strikes or arcing on the house-side of the device, and does nothing for brown-outs or glitches. Most of the "surge protector" strips are equally ineffective on protecting electronic equipment.

A "professional" level UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply) does several things that the "home" units don't:
* Provide "true sine-wave output" -- "clean" power (or "sinusiodal")
* Glitch-less switching -- generally comes along with the sine-wave output
* "Voltage cut/boost" or voltage "regulation" -- handles brown-outs
* Monitoring output ("USB" cable recommended for home users, "serial" is a little trickier)

The first three means that your equipment is pretty much completely isolated from the glitches on the line in a way that you won't have the computer (or external hard drive, worse yet) crash when they UPS "kicks on" when something happens. The last one means that your computer can be set up to automatically shut down when the batteries run low in an outage. -- for software to do that if you don't already have it as part of your OS (I believe MacOS X already does).

I've been very happy with professional APC units over the years in a variety of settings. Their SmartUPS become affordable for home use when refurbished (and the linked vendor has been reliable for me). Most "home" units (including APC) are better than nothing, but I wouldn't count on them, unless they fall into the category of sinusoidal output.

RE: Where Do I Need Dedicated Circuits?

If you have an unfinished basement, consider future possible uses in your electrical needs.
Switched circuits for general, as well as holiday, lighting in the eaves.
Future spa or pool?
Extra circuit to the attic for future ceiling fans or lights? (This probably would not require a dedicated circuit, but you'll need a circuit that is handy to tap into.

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