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Thread: Wiring Questions For Small Bath Remodel

  1. #16
    DIY Junior Member bosscogg's Avatar
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    Really appreciate the interest so far, guys. Have to head out of town for a couple days, but will jump on that other box first thing Sunday.
    -Dell

  2. #17
    DIY Junior Member bosscogg's Avatar
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    Finally had a chance to crack open that other box. Found a small fuse panel with one 30a fuse in place. The wires leaving the fuse appear to be #10, but I can't say for sure. Also, if I didn't mention it before, the right hand box has #6 wires exiting through the top that bypass the left fuse box altogether.

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    There doesn't appear to be another junction before the wires head up to the attic. I tried to track the wires once in the attic, but it's an absolute rat's nest of mixed types--knob and tube, metal conduit, older sheathed cable, and Romex. I now doubt I'll be able to find where (or if) the wires step down properly and safely to #12, so have to assume they're at least on that 30a fuse, or worse yet on that 40a breaker.

    We've never had a hint of electrical problems in our 9 years here, but this is obviously a bit worrisome. I'll be contacting a pro soon to get to the bottom of this thing.
    -Dell

  3. #18
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The only time you'd probably notice a problem is if the wire became overloaded and then started to overheat. Depending on your usage, that may not happen. It's still wrong, and potentially dangerous, and, should be fixed. Having a known fault gets messy with insurance and claims, and, whenever you want to sell the place.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  4. #19
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bosscogg View Post
    . I'll be contacting a pro soon to get to the bottom of this thing.
    Now you are on the right track

  5. #20
    DIY Junior Member bosscogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    The only time you'd probably notice a problem is if the wire became overloaded and then started to overheat. Depending on your usage, that may not happen. It's still wrong, and potentially dangerous, and, should be fixed. Having a known fault gets messy with insurance and claims, and, whenever you want to sell the place.
    I think you're exactly right (if this turns out to be an actual issue and I simply haven't missed something). We don't have many outlets in this old house, which is what that 40a breaker appears mainly to control...with the known exception of my current bath project. Most of our high-draw items are on dedicated circuits, which could explain why there hasn't been an issue. Yet.

    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric View Post
    Now you are on the right track
    Yup, when I got a good look in the attic I realized this was a couple notches above my pay grade.

    As for my current bath project, I'd like to move forward in the meantime if possible. I plan to tap into the sub panel in the house, which is properly powered and has plenty of capacity. It is unaffected by the breaker in question, so I feel reasonably comfortable moving forward on that front. Referring to my original post and what I plan to run fixture-wise, am I better off installing a gfci breaker at the panel, or simply a gfci outlet in the bathroom itself? Both? I know there are myriad threads out there on bath wiring, but was hoping for a suggestion specific to this project if at all possible.
    -Dell

  6. #21
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    There are pros and cons to the location of the GFCI...a GFCI breaker is more expensive, but it will easily control everything you wire to it. Depending on how far away it is, it is usually more of a pain to reset it if it does ever get tripped (shouldn't happen, but certainly can). Having the GFCI device in the bathroom means, it is more visible and accessible, and you might actually test it periodically like you should, plus, if it does trip, you don't have to out in your birthday suit to reset it. Depending on where the things like light and fan are, they may or may not need to be fed from it. This means more planning to make sure you get the feed from either the line or the load side of the GFCI receptacle, should it be required. Some don't like the look of the GFCI, and a breaker can move it out of sight, as can a GFCI designed to fit into a wall box that may be more out of sight.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  7. #22
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    .
    Any and all receptacles in a bathroom must be GFCI protected and the one required to be within 3 feet of the sink must be on a 20 amp circuit. A single duplex is two receptacles on one yoke so the receptacle can be rated at 15 amps.

    If a 20 amp circuit supplies nothing but one bathroom then the lights can be on the same circuit.

  8. #23
    DIY Junior Member bosscogg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Depending on where the things like light and fan are, they may or may not need to be fed from it. This means more planning to make sure you get the feed from either the line or the load side of the GFCI receptacle, should it be required. Some don't like the look of the GFCI, and a breaker can move it out of sight, as can a GFCI designed to fit into a wall box that may be more out of sight.
    OK, so sounds like I could go with either. I'd prefer the gfci outlet as opposed to breaker merely for the convenience you mentioned.

    I have a wet area approved LED can in the shower stall, a light/fan combo just outside in the ceiling, and a vanity light and said gfci outlet at the sink. From everything I've read so far, most recessed lights approved for wet locations don't require gfci protection if the manufacturer doesn't expressly require it. Does this sound right? If so, I'd think the only place I'd need gfci protection would be at the outlet itself. Am I in the ballpark?
    -Dell

  9. #24
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    As I understand it, that's correct, but then I'm not a pro. Properly designed devices should work fine either on or off a GFCI.

    If you're regularly using high wattage devices, you may want to get a (more expensive) 20A GFCI receptacle, not that I'd expect you to have an actual 20A device, but that you might have something like say heated curlers and a blow drier running at the same time. Otherwise, it is okay to use a 15A device on that 20A 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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