View Full Version : Suggestions for wiring/breaker for dedicated A/V outlets?

07-30-2008, 01:27 PM
Hi -

Just thinking ahead to my next project, which will be a minor reno of the living room. For that reno, I will be structuring it around a new (yay!) A/V system - large LCD, stereo, etc. Because I have an older house, I am considering adding some new, dedicated wiring for this purpose.

My questions:

1 - provided that the power requirements (of the individual components) match up, would a single, 15A circuit be recommended, or would it be better to have extra capacity for future component additions by making it a 20A circuit?

2 - should I include some type of special protection on this circuit - such as those red/orange outlets that provide additional protection against power surges, etc.? Are these best added as outlets, or as a breaker?

Any and all replies welcomed!

07-30-2008, 01:40 PM
20 amp circuit over a 15 amp circuit only provides 600 more watts, so you make the call if you think you need the extra 600 watts, other than that just buy plug in surge protection, dont waste your money on special receptacles.

Bob NH
07-30-2008, 06:00 PM
I would run a 20 Amp (#12 wire) circuit so when the cannons fire and the great bells ring in the 1812 Festival Overture you have enough power so the TV doesn't go dim.

07-30-2008, 06:36 PM
If your really concerned, just add up the wattage of your components, IMO, it would be one hell of a setup to require a dedicated circuit.

07-31-2008, 04:03 AM
If your really concerned, just add up the wattage of your components, IMO, it would be one hell of a setup to require a dedicated circuit.

I also find this to be true, some people for what ever reason really really like to over estimate thier power requirements. Its like the guys who want to wire every outlet with 12/2 for 20 amps because 15 amps just won't do it.

When I bought my house it only had 6 circuts, only two of which were didicated the remaining 4, 15 amp circuts ran the whole house even with an air conditioner we never popped a breaker


07-31-2008, 04:35 AM
In the past I have lived in apartments and older homes with 15 amp circuits. This generally worked Ok for the usual stuff which was plugged in, but if you added anything to some circuits like a vacuum cleaner or space heater, then pop went the breaker!

So when I got my own house (which needed re-wiring), I re-wired every 120V circuit 20 amps. It does not cost that much more to make a circuit 20 amps instead of 15 amps if you are rewiring anyway.

The way I look at it, I use my outlets/switches everyday. It makes my life a lot more pleasant if things work properly. On the other hand if you have only certain outlets where you can plug in the vacuum/rug cleaner/space heater or whatever, then this can add a bit of frustration to your day.

I also bought "commercial grade" outlets and switches for my house. These last longer.

Then I got a "whole house surge protector" which is installed in my main electric panel. I also have high quality surge protectors at each outlet where I have electronic stuff plugged in. I've not had any electronic things "zapped" since doing this.

I like good quality stuff which lasts a long time.

07-31-2008, 04:54 AM
P.S. The red or orange outlets are just that! Red or orange colored.

These are used to indicate how that outlet is wired. Some may be wired to back-up power, so say in a hospital when using a machine to keep someone alive, they would want to use an outlet which has back-up in case of power failure. Or some outlets are wired to an "isolated ground" for sensitive electronic equipment. They would use a colored outlet to indicate the wiring.

So far as outlets go, you can get "cheap", "commercial grade", "industrial grade", or "hospital grade". Hospital grade has a green dot on it. "Commercial grade" outlets are pretty darn good for a house.

This is like the locketsets used on a house vs a business, store, government building, etc. With a house people go in and out of the door infrequently. But a retail store may have hundreds of people going in/out of their door daily. So they need very good quality doors and locksets.

Same thing with outlets/switches. Businesses may use their outlets/switches much more than a home would. Thus "commercial grade" is made more sturdy for this. Also makes better contact with the plug for when the janitor comes along and plugs in that big floor cleaner.