Garage remodel questions

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by cdwingjr, Oct 8, 2007.

  1. cdwingjr

    cdwingjr New Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    Hi there, I have some questions I would appreciate comment on.

    I am finishing up a garage remodel that has primarily involved building a proper loft, paneling the walls and painting. At the outset of the project I emptied the garage and removed all outlets and conduit back to the junction boxes at the back of the garage (also the firewall of the house).

    I am now getting ready to extend two circuits that I will call 7 and 12

    Circuit 7 (20A) is primarily used to power the garage lighting including carriage lamps at the front exterior of the garage (it also handles a hallway light in the house). I will also be adding outlets for a garage fridge, freezer and garage door opener. I'm comfortable this circuit is not being overloaded

    Circuit 12 (20A) is terminated into the garage and exclusively powers a 4 outlet box. This is used for the clothes washer, dryer (motor only...gas for heat) and sprinkler controller. I want to extend this circuit to the front of the garage where my workbench is so that I can plug in hand tools and a drillpress. Again, after looking at the devices on this circuit and how they performed in the past, I'm not concerned about this circuit being overloaded

    so, here are my questions:

    1) In order to conserve on the amount of conduit being run, I want to run hots from both 7 and 12 in the same this a bad practice?

    2) Do I need to keep the neutral for use with circuit 7 and circuit 12 seperated. That is to say where I am running 7 and 12 hots in the same conduit can I just run one neutral wire (wire nutted to both the 7 and 12 neutrals) and use it with both circuits or should I extend both the circuit 7 and circuit 12 neutrals (not sure how load capacity compes into pla with the neutral)

    3) If I am using all metal conduit and boxes, I have been told that these will provide a sufficient ground circuit (as long as it is actually grounded). If this a bad practice? Seems like it would work but I'm not sure it is the best way to go. I'm all for saving some money but if this is not a good practice I have room in the 1/2" conduit to run a 6th wire for gound.

    4) I am planning to use a GFCI circuit breaker on circuit 12 but was told that this is not a good idea and that it will always be tripping off. Seems to me like if it is tripping, then there is a problem that needs to be resolved...any reason why I should not use a GFCI circuit breaker on this?

    5) I am planning to NOT use a GFCI circuit breaker on circuit 7 because there will be a fridge and freezer on that circuit. I've already lost a freezer full of meat because the freezer got unplugged and we didn't know about it and didn't go into it for several days. My concern is that the GFCI trips and I don't realize it and loose all the frozen and refrigerated goods. I will have exterior carriage lamps on this circuit, althought they were not originally on a GFCI circuit and there was no problem

    I know this is long and lots of quests...Thanks for your input!
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    Outlets in a garage are supposed to be gfi protected. An exception is for washer/dryer. The washer/dryer are supposed to be on their own circuit, you aren't supposed to extend this with additional outlets. You don't want your freezer on a gfi protected outlet, and the garage door control should be. While you can probably split the power so the gfi isn't protecting the freezer, the manufacturer typically wants their major appliance on a separate circuit breaker. It is not safe to use a single neutral. You could overload it. The power needs a full circuit, and neutral is part of it. In theory, if the two circuits were on opposite sides of the split phase power, the neutral currents might cancel, but you can't depend on this and it isn't safe for what you are trying to do.

    I think you'll be happier if you run some new circuits. It is nice to have the lights separate from the outlets, but not absolutely necessary. That way, if you do trip something, you can still see to manueuver without falling over something.
    Last edited: Oct 8, 2007
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  4. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Jun 15, 2007
    1. Both circuits in the same conduit is fine.

    2. Run a seperate neutral for each circuit.

    3. Run a ground.

    4. Use GFCI

    5. Don't use GFCI on refer.
  5. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Oct 20, 2005
    New Hampshire
    You can use one circuit for the laundry area which may have a duplex outlet for the washer and dryer. 210.11(C)(2) refers to outlet(s). It shall have no other outlets beyond the laundry area. The circuit must be GFCI protected if it is within 6 ft of a laundry sink.

    You are planning to run 2 circuits and you should have at least 3. I suggest that you add 1 more wire and run two multiwire branch circuits which will give you 4 circuits. EMT is legal for the Equipment Grounding Concuctor but there is enough room in 1/2" EMT for 9 THHN conductors if you choose to add one. One ground will serve all of the circuits.

    Two MWBCs will require 2 grounded conductors (neutrals) and 4 ungrounded (hot) conductors. It is nicer but not required to have the different sides of the MWBC of different colors.

    The hot conductors corresponding to both sides of the Multiwire Branch Circuit (MWBC) (NEC 210.4) should be connected to adjacent breakers in the panel. It is NOT required to use 2-pole breaker, and it is NOT required to use handle ties unless both hots of the circuit are connected to the same yoke or strap.

    The easiest way to provide GFCI protection is with a GFCI outlet at the first outlet on a circuit. The neutral must be dedicated beyond that point if you use the LOAD connection on the GFCI to extend protection to the rest of the circuit.
  6. cdwingjr

    cdwingjr New Member

    Oct 8, 2007
    Bob, Al and Jim...thanks for the replys and info...I guess I will bite the bullet and bring things current rather than just replicate the the way it was before (which clearly was not up to snuff).

    Thanks again!
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