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Thread: Basement finishing questions

  1. #1
    DIY Member cej22's Avatar
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    Default Basement finishing questions

    I think I've got most things figured out, but I do have an open question about my wet bar. This is a small area with about seven linear feet of countertop space. I'll have a small microwave (~1000 watts) in the upper cabinetry on a shelf, and a counter-height mini fridge to power. I'll also have an outlet to supply a cordless phone charger, and then an outlet for general use. There will also be two small recessed lights.

    All of the outlets will need to be GFCI protected due to their proximity to the sink, but would one 20 amp circuit be adequate for the entire wet bar area? If not, can I at least put all of the outlets on the same circuit and just put the lights on another?

  2. #2
    In the Trades killavolt's Avatar
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    You need GFCI protected receptacles in a basement, not only because they're in close proximity to a sink. I wouldn't put the mini fridge and the microwave on the same circuit.

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    DIY Member cej22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by killavolt View Post
    You need GFCI protected receptacles in a basement, not only because they're in close proximity to a sink.
    There's something in the code that says all receptacles in a finished basement need to be GFCI protected? Can you quote the section? I'm not familiar with that.

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    In the Trades killavolt's Avatar
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    Not required in a finished basement. I'm not sure if a finished basement is any less susceptable to moisture than an unfinished one though. GFCI's are still required because of the proximity to the bar sink.

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    DIY Member CharlieM's Avatar
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    You might get away with one 20amp based on load, but..

    GFCI is generally not required for dedicated appliance. - fridge, microwave.

    I would put lighting on a general lighting circuit. For outlets in wet area, I would run a separate 20a circuit and put on GFCI. The other outlets for appliances, I would be put on separate 20a circuit (fridge, micro).

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The starting surge from a small frig probably isn't too bad, but could be above the peak if the microwave was operating. Some of the newer microwaves are bigger than 1000w, too. If your panel can support it, you'd be better off running multiple circuits in case you decide you want something else plugged in, like maybe a blender, a fondue pot, crock pot, etc. to meet your snacking preferences.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #7
    DIY Member cej22's Avatar
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    Default Circuit plan

    I think I have room in the panel for two, but I need to double-check. If I run two circuits to the wet bar, how would you recommend I break it up? 15 or 20 amp circuits? I've got:

    Small microwave
    Mini fridge
    Two outlets
    Two 50W can lights

    Here are the other circuits I'm planning:
    15A- 12 75W cans (media room)
    20A- 4 outlets to service a mid-fi home theater (media room)
    20A- 2 lights, a GFCI, and a fan (bathroom)
    15A- 9 outlets and two lights (this covers two bedrooms)
    15A- 5 outlets and three light fixtures (media room)

    How does that sound?

  8. #8
    DIY Senior Member Jeff1's Avatar
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    I'd run two 20 amp circuits. The cost difference between the 14 and 12 wire is minimal and its easier to add the extra capability now rather than have to try to upgrade later. I'll defer to the experts though.

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    Plumbing Designer FloridaOrange's Avatar
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    Is a sub-panel an option? How much room in your existing panel (amperage wise) is available. Do you have an arrangement or are able to make an arrangement so you can run a 240 line from your existing to the sub-panel?
    Matt
    Semi-professional plumbing designer
    Enjoying life in SW Florida

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default Gfci

    I would never plug a refrigerator or freezer into a GFCI outlet. when it false trips, your unit stops working and you lose everything in it, unless you are there to reset it, (which seldom happens).
    Last edited by hj; 04-28-2009 at 06:01 PM.

  11. #11
    DIY Member cej22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hj View Post
    I would never plug a refrigerator or freezer into a GFCI outlet. when it false trips, your unit stops working and you lose everything in it, unless you are there to reset it, (which seldom happens).
    I won't be plugging it into a GFCI outlet, but it will go in a receptacle that has a GFCI upstream. Code requires it due to the proximity to the entertainment sink. Besides, it's just a compact fridge. It won't be holding much other than beverages.

  12. #12
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    Default gfci

    It may be a load of crap, but it happened to one customer and they had to run an extension cord to the freezer because they did not know why the outlet failed. And they did not know it was on a "hidden" GFCI under a bench in the bathroom. They DID lose the entire contents of the freezer. Mine was into a GFCI, because that is how the house was wired, but when the GFCI tripped and the alarm sounded, I removed the GFCI.

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    Electrical Contractor jbfan74's Avatar
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    So you removed my post?
    It is a proven fact that if a fridge is tripping a gfci, then you have problems with the fridge.
    Just because you don't agree with me allows you the right to remove my post!
    Yes I am A Pirate-Jimmy Buffett

  14. #14
    DIY Member cej22's Avatar
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    I'm definitely not an electrician so maybe someone can explain the concern. Ideally, I'd like to have one 20 amp circuit for the microwave and mini fridge. The rest could easily go on other circuits.

    20 amp = 2400 watts capacity
    Microwave = 1000 watts
    Compact Fridge is 8 amps on startup and 1.2 running = 880 max watts

    So, what's the concern about these two items being on a 20 amp circuit?

  15. #15
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    What is your actual voltage? At 110vac, using the 85% rule, you're over. Now, that's for continuous use, and peak is another issue. What about during a brown-out? It will work. Only other issue is if the operator's manual for either device calls for it to be on a separate circuit.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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