Change single receptacle to a duplex?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by cej22, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. cej22

    cej22 New Member

    Messages:
    31
    Location:
    Midway, UT
    I've decided to install a high water alarm on my sewage basin, and that alarm should be installed on a separate circuit from the pump. The closest thing I have available is the outlet for the water softener, but it has a single receptacle. Is there any reason I can't change that to a duplex?

    My electrical experience consists of changing out outlets and switches and doing some low voltage work, so I really don't have any knowledge here. There is white Romex going from the receptacle directly to the panel. Does that mean this is its own circuit? Is this safe to do? It seems pretty benign, but I could be wrong.

    I will have an electrician coming over sometime in the near future to give me a bid on my unfinished basement. This can wait until he comes, but I'd love to do it myself if I can.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    From a practical viewpoint, it should work, but may not be allowed. Installation instructions would dictate. Often, the manufacturer calls for a dedicated circuit for their appliance. If so, adding a branch would mean it was no longer installed per the manufacturer's instructions, thus, not allowed by code. Also, in a basement, a change like this would require the circuit to be GFCI protected today (i.e, brought up to current code). You could do this either with a receptacle or a CB.
  3. cej22

    cej22 New Member

    Messages:
    31
    Location:
    Midway, UT
    Neither the softener nor the alarm mention anything about requiring their own circuits in the installation manuals, so that shouldn't be a problem.

    As for a GFCI, why would this change require one? Is that a new code? The house is only three years old and nothing related to this has been altered since it passed inspection. It's not really a big deal. I think I even have some spare GFCI's floating around the house.
  4. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
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    Location:
    North Carolina
    In the 2005 cycle a single receptacle that was installed for one piece of equipment did not require GFCI protection.

    The 2008 cycle has did away with this exception and all receptacles now require GFCI protection.

    I see nothing wrong with the changing of the single device to a duplex as long as it is GFCI protected.

    What I did for my pump was hire the local kids to watch and let me know if the basement starts to flood. The problem I am having is the kids have joined a union and now want a big screen TV with a Play Station III installed for them to use while they watch my pump.

    I determined that the pump was a waste of time in the first place so I just eliminated the pump so no more need for the kids.
  5. cej22

    cej22 New Member

    Messages:
    31
    Location:
    Midway, UT
    Treat your workers right from the beginning and they probably won't unionize. Lesson learned, right?

    My electrician came over tonight and I think he's just going to branch off that outlet and add a new one when he wires the basement. I'll just leave the alarm in the circuit in the meantime. The battery backup should be good until then. Thanks for the advice, everyone.
  6. cej22

    cej22 New Member

    Messages:
    31
    Location:
    Midway, UT
    Update

    I decided to not wait for my electrician and I went ahead and branched off the existing single receptacle and added a duplex in a more useful location. So currently the circuit has a single and a duplex on it. Is that code compliant?

    jwelectric's comments were slightly confusing to me.

    "In the 2005 cycle a single receptacle that was installed for one piece of equipment did not require GFCI protection. The 2008 cycle has did away with this exception and all receptacles now require GFCI protection."

    By "all", do you mean that all receptacles which have a single appliance on the circuit require a GFCI? I don't understand the meaning of "all receptacles now require GFCI protection."
  7. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,529
    Location:
    North Carolina
    210.8 Ground-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection for Personnel.
    (A) Dwelling Units. All 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacles installed in the locations specified in (1) through (8) shall have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection for personnel.

    (5) Unfinished basements — for purposes of this section, unfinished basements are defined as portions or areas of the basement not intended as habitable rooms and limited to storage areas, work areas, and the like

    Exception to (5): A receptacle supplying only a permanently installed fire alarm or burglar alarm system shall not be required to have ground-fault circuit-interrupter protection.


    Above is the verbiage of the 2008 code concerning any and all receptacles installed in a basement.
    Two Exceptions were deleted from the verbiage found in the 2005 code cycle. The two exceptions that were deleted are outlined below.

    Exception No. 1 to (5): Receptacles that are not readily accessible.

    Exception No. 2 to (5): A single receptacle or a duplex receptacle for two appliances located within dedicated space for each appliance that, in normal use, is not easily moved from one place to another and that is cord-and-plug connected in accordance with 400.7(A)(6), (A)(7), or (A)(8).


    Under the 2008 code cycle each and every receptacle that are installed in a unfinished basement now require GFCI protection even a single device that is supplying a single piece of equipment that is fastened in place.
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    To meet that requirement, you would have to do one of the following: replace the CB with a gfci version; install a gfci recepticle in the first location with a feed through protecting the second and subsequent recepticles; or not use a feedthrough gfci on the first (still must be gfci) and then install a second gfci at the second and subsequent locations. You do NOT want to put a daisy-chained gfci fed from a gfci protected line (i.e., the first gfci protecting a second one down the line).
  9. cej22

    cej22 New Member

    Messages:
    31
    Location:
    Midway, UT
    Thanks, guys. I'll replace the first receptacle with a GFCI.
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