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Room Addition Wiring Needs

Electrical wiring circuits you'll need

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A photo of wiring in a room addition.

Wiring a Room Addition

Photo: David Paul Morris / Getty Images

When space in your home suddenly becomes an issue, think about converting a basement or attic into useable space as well as a room addition. It is likely that as you family and needs grow throughout time, you’ll likely need an additional bathroom, bedroom, family room, or study. There are general outlets and lighting needed throughout these rooms, but there are also other additions to consider. Smoke detectors, ceiling fans, bathroom vent fans, air-conditioner receptacles, electric heaters, telephone jacks, computer jacks, and television jacks are all usual additions to these types of areas. Speaking of computers, it is a good idea to add an isolated-ground circuit specifically for your computer. It protects this sensitive equipment and the addition of a surge protector will ensure that power surges will not harm them. Don’t overlook the possibility of adding a subpanel to make distributing the circuits in the new area more easily accessible.

Then there is the addition of thermostats for heating and cooling control. In some cases, you may have separate heating and cooling to an independent area of your home. There is also the possibility of baseboard heating that requires a thermostat to turn the units on and off.

Closets are another area to remember to add lighting to. Remember to consider placement of shelving and required clearances for light fixtures in this area.

Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors will help protect you and your family. Hardwire smoke detector systems connect all of the smoke detectors together throughout the house. If one sets off an alarm, they all sound to warn you in all areas of the house so that you can get out in time. In the event that you are sleeping in an upstairs bedroom with the door closed and a fire starts, you may not hear an alarm in the basement of the house. This way, you will be warned no matter where you are.

Don’t forget about adding three-way switches on opposite ends of the staircases. This way the stair lights can be turned on from upstairs or down. And speaking of switches, switched outlets add a nice addition to turn on a room’s desk lamp.

Ceiling fans add comfort to a room, so don’t cheapen out when wiring this area of your home. I suggest pulling two switch legs to the ceiling opening, one for the light and the other for the fan. Whether you choose t add a light or a light/fan combo, you’ll always have a switch leg to accommodate your choice of ceiling fixture.

Remember, receptacles should be placed no farther than 12 feet apart. The rule of thumb is that appliances come with 6 foot cords. This means you can get from one outlet 6 feet and then plug into the next for the other 6 feet. Obviously, this is the maximum distance allowed by the code.

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