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Thread: Number of circuits in living room

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    DIY Junior Member toolguy504's Avatar
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    Default Number of circuits in living room

    The Black & Decker book on home wiring says that a living room should have two 20-amp dedicated circuits. Can I use one circuit for lights and one for outlets or do you split them and put some outlets and some lights on each one. Thanks.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It really depends on what you are trying to accomplish, and how electronics laden your room is. It might need more than those two circuits. Installing more outlets than the minimum, in areas where there will be a high concentration of electronics is good - and you might want to consider surge suppressed outlets, since adding a plug-in strip could be hard to hide. A flat panel on the wall might call for an outlet higher on the wall so you don't need to see the cord dangling down. Some people have their computer and printer in there. Some laser printer's heaters can have a pretty big draw, the newer ones are better than the older ones, that cycles on and off and can cause lights to dim. You might want that on its own circuit altogether. Add a big surround system and big flat panel display, a minifridge so you don't have to go to the kitchen for your beer, etc., and it can get quite involved. Add a big aquarium, you might want that on a dedicated circuit. So, while code (I don't think) requires more than one, two is not unreasonable, and even more could be called for. How you separate them is open for discussion.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    Sound and Light Suppervisor for a School District tjbaudio's Avatar
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    In my house the lights are all on seperate circuits from the outlets. I ran #14 wire on 15A breakers for lights and celing fans. 3 or 4 covers the entire house.

    Each room 2 to 4 circuts and as many outlets as made sence. My living room has 4 circits. 2 of them are shaired with other rooms 2 are ONLY in the living room. The distrobution had much to do with the order we remodeld in, structure, and planed usage. No point on any wall is more that 2 ft away from an outlet. The extra outlets are NICE. No point on our kitchen counters are more than a foot from an outlet. Each bathroom vanity has multiple outlets. Any where in our house if you need to plug some thing in there is an outlet near by. Life is MUCH better that way.
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    Electrical Contractor hiloelectric's Avatar
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    Yes you can use one circuit for lights and one for plugs. If your going to do 2 circuits that is the best way to do it. This will prevent the TV and such from dimming the lights when turned on.

    However just for the Record, 2 circuits is not required. It is only a recommendation by black and decker. The code only specifies dedicated circuits for Kitchens, baths, garages and laundry rooms and such. General lighting circuits are not specifically noted.
    Thomas McGuire
    Hi-Lo Electric Inc.
    Bellevue, WA Electrician

  5. #5
    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    Most of my lights are on 2 lighting circuits
    Some are on a 3rd old circuit mixed with old existing outlets
    If you have an exisiting lighting circuit then I would add to that - if you have capacity on that circuit
    I would not run a dedicated lighting circuit just for one room
    If I were going to run 2 circuits I would share the lights on 1 circuit w/a few outlets
    If you have a high power entertainmanet system then that in some cases may need a dedicated circuit
    Last edited by Scuba_Dave; 06-17-2009 at 09:15 AM. Reason: sp
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    DIY Junior Member toolguy504's Avatar
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    Thanks guys for the information and suggestions. Earl

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    In addition to what was said above (basically design the amount of circuits for what you might possibly ever have in that room)...

    Also the number of spare slots you have in your panel is a consideration. I like to get a big 40 slot panel, then plenty of spare slots. So might want to install an extra circuit for "just in case"!

    Then these days saving energy is a good idea. One way to do this is to air condition / heat just the room you are using at the time and not the whole house. So might want to consider a dedicated outlet for a window A/C / heater and/or a baseboard heater.

    Then so far as outlets go, the general thinking is duplex outlets spaced every so many feet apart in a room. Looks nice when looking at an empty room, but in reality, this does not work!

    There are two critical areas in a living room. The TV/stereo area and the "commanding general's" recliner, remote control, and potato chip eating area.

    My TV area has about 10 things which need to be plugged in.

    And my recliner area has phone, lamp, HEPA air cleaner, sub woofer, cell phone charger, and a back massager all plugged in there.

    So might want to install several quad outlets in these areas rather than using power strips.

  8. #8

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    The Black & Decker book on home wiring says that a living room should have two 20-amp dedicated circuits
    They pulled that out of their posterior orifice.

    A living room is generally not even on a circuit of it's own. It is generally on a 15 amp general lighting and recep circuit along with another close by room or two.

    Unless you have specific loads you want, like audio/video gear, you don't need anything special for a living room.

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    DIY Senior Member chris8796's Avatar
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    I would want 2 receptacles circuits available to the LR, although they need not be dedicated to only the LR. Another big power user in the LR is a vacuum cleaner, most use 12 amps. I have a central vac and the powerhead still uses 7 amps.

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    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    Also depends upon what the "living room" is
    Growing up the living room was the "show" room & kids wer enot really allowed in except on Christmas
    We spent all the time in the "family" room & that is where the TV is

    My wifde calls our main room the living room now
    We have a dining room
    No more "show" room in our age for us
    DIY Handyman (not 4 hire)
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