How much to install a 20 amp circuit? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 16 Old 01-01-2008, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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So I just ordered an Onkyo 805 receiver, which I hear uses 9.5 amps, only at max volume, but still, add to that my HSU VTF 3.3 which uses 3.5 amps, CRT TV at 1.5 amps, plus a computer with a 480 watt power supply and dual monitors, and a mini fridge (not sure how many amps that is). To top it off my brothers room is on the same 15 amp circuit! He does not have much, just a small TV and computer. Right now everything is OK, and hopefully will remain that way for now, esp when my brother is back at college and not home for break, then I don't have to worry about his stuff.

But during the summer, we both have AC's! Usually the breaker does not trip, but once and a while it will, with the 805 and new sub (used to have an STF-2) there is no way the breaker is going to stay on. What I normally do as ghetto as this is, is run the AC on an extension cord and plug it into the bathroom, which is on its own 15 amp circuit.

I really want to get a 20 amp or even just another 15 amp circuit for my AV gear so I don't have to worry about this crap tripping, I almost went with the 705 instead of the 805 because I am so worried about it, but I got too good of a deal on the 805 to pass up.

So does anyone have a rough idea of how much this will run to install? I really just need the wire run, I can wire up the outlet. I would think maybe a few hours of work and a few hundred, but I have no idea, it could cost much more. Also I only have a 100 amp main if that makes a difference.
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post #2 of 16 Old 01-01-2008, 08:40 PM
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I would recommend hiring a qualified electrician to come out and give you an estimate. Pricing varies a ton from one area to the next and each individual application will warrant a different price. I am currently in the same boat, when the original owner finished the basement he wired half the basement off one 20amp breaker. With all my lighting and equipment running it's right on the edge of popping the breaker. So I am getting ready to try and pull wires from one end of the basement to the other, which doesn't look like fun (requires tearing into my sauna room), to supplement.

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post #3 of 16 Old 01-01-2008, 10:30 PM
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give us more info.

do you have free spaces in your 100 amp box.

how many amps are you actually using (ie, is it just coincidence that most of the stuff you use is on that circuit or do you consume 80 amps 24 hours/day)

attic or crawlspace access?


WHen you have someone come for a quote....if the box has room and the runs are easy, ask them to run 2 or 3 extra circuits....you can leave them unhooked and terminated in a junction box in the attic and save them for future use...most of the labor is getting the romex to the main box....and pulling 1 wire is the same as pulling 10 once you have the first one in.
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post #4 of 16 Old 01-01-2008, 10:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longtimelurker View Post

give us more info.

do you have free spaces in your 100 amp box.

how many amps are you actually using (ie, is it just coincidence that most of the stuff you use is on that circuit or do you consume 80 amps 24 hours/day)

attic or crawlspace access?


WHen you have someone come for a quote....if the box has room and the runs are easy, ask them to run 2 or 3 extra circuits....you can leave them unhooked and terminated in a junction box in the attic and save them for future use...most of the labor is getting the romex to the main box....and pulling 1 wire is the same as pulling 10 once you have the first one in.

Thanks for the info guys, I just looked at the box, and I do not have any free breaker slots which sucks, but there is one in there that could be removed, it is a 20 amp that goes to an outside outlet that no one uses.

There is crawlspace access right behind the wall I would like to have the outlet installed on

As far as the actual usage, I have no idea. I just know that by poor design, both upstairs rooms share the same 15 amp breaker, I wish it was as easy as upgrading that to a 20 amp which might do the trick, but I think then all the wire would have to be replaced too.
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post #5 of 16 Old 01-02-2008, 09:47 AM
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Have you looked at swapping out a single breaker for a double-breaker? You can take that 20amp breaker, and replace it with a double 20amp breaker. Just make sure you keep a decent balance on each side of the panel.

I added 9 circuits recently, with only 5 open slots to my panel - this required double 15amp circuits and double 20 amp breakers.
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post #6 of 16 Old 01-02-2008, 10:04 AM
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i've seen some crazy quotes. if you are good at DIY things, home depot and lowes sell really good DIY electrical books with great big pics which is how i did it myself. overall cost was couple bucks for a junction box, i bought a nice ps audio outlet for $40, but there are ones for less, way less, a new circuit breaker for $6, and 75 ft of 12/2 romex which came out to about $30 i think. defineatley get someone to come give you a free quote, but get ready to spend $200-$300 or more for that one wire.

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post #7 of 16 Old 01-02-2008, 10:08 AM
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If the breaker you want to replace is a single pole breaker, you will have to replace it with a single pole breaker, if no slots are left. If you go with a double 20 amp breaker, they are used for 12/3 wire and used to feed two circuits off the same breaker (the black and the red wires would be hot and the white is common).

If you decide to wire it yourself (it's not hard at all), shut down the power at the main coming into the house, just for safety's sake. Pop off the front cover and you will easily see how things are wired. The hot wire (black) goes to the breaker. There is a bus that takes all the common wires (whites) and a bus for the ground (copper). THe breakers just snap in and out for most panels, like Federal Pioneer.

If you are AT ALL UNCOMFORTABLE, get an electrician. If you are planning on multiple outlets or split circuits, get an electrician as well. It isn't very hard to do once you've done it a few times, but it is dangerous if you make a mistake. Something as simple as using the wrong guage wire could start a fire.

Just be careful.
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post #8 of 16 Old 01-02-2008, 11:17 AM
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Sorry, I should've been bit more clearer. Convert a single slot into a double-pole breaker, with two independent switches for two independent circuits. Here's an example:

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...220&lpage=none


Was not suggesting 12/3 double-breaker. Good catch.
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post #9 of 16 Old 01-02-2008, 11:18 AM - Thread Starter
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I am comfortable wiring simple job, I have replaced outlets, grounded outlets, wired up lights, ect. But this is a bit beyond me, and I do not want to run wire from the basement to the second floor, so I will be getting an electrician to do it.
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post #10 of 16 Old 01-02-2008, 02:01 PM
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i think the guy that wrote that to you understands that, I think what he is saying is that if you put a double pole in you will need to run 12/3 instead of 12/2.

that is actually how my whole house is done, and how most commercial jobs are done. It saves at least 1 wire per circuit on average (makes for an easier to work with box (for every 2 circuits you have 2 hots and 1 neutral and 1 copper, vs 2/2/2, 4 vs 6).

it also allows you to have 220v at nearly any point in the house, which can be important, but usually isnt.

Quote:
Originally Posted by huntrm View Post

Sorry, I should've been bit more clearer. Convert a single slot into a double-pole breaker, with two independent switches for two independent circuits. Here's an example:

http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?actio...220&lpage=none


Was not suggesting 12/3 double-breaker. Good catch.

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post #11 of 16 Old 01-02-2008, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by longtimelurker View Post

i think the guy that wrote that to you understands that, I think what he is saying is that if you put a double pole in you will need to run 12/3 instead of 12/2.

that is actually how my whole house is done, and how most commercial jobs are done. It saves at least 1 wire per circuit on average (makes for an easier to work with box (for every 2 circuits you have 2 hots and 1 neutral and 1 copper, vs 2/2/2, 4 vs 6).

it also allows you to have 220v at nearly any point in the house, which can be important, but usually isnt.

That's right. The "best" (relative term, I know), most economical way is a double pole 20 amp breaker which allows 2 separate circuits on one wire. For example, if you wire an outlet, you can have the top plug on one 20 amp circuit and the bottom on another, all with one wire.

However, it's a moot point if you hire an electrician! LOL
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post #12 of 16 Old 01-02-2008, 06:53 PM
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So not to hijack the thread, but feel like some clarification is needed. For the type of dual circuit breaker that I URL'd above, why can't one simply run two separate 12/2 20amp wires (white, black, and ground) and then wire them independently into each of the two switches that make up the dual circuit breaker?
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post #13 of 16 Old 01-02-2008, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by huntrm View Post

So not to hijack the thread, but feel like some clarification is needed. For the type of dual circuit breaker that I URL'd above, why can't one simply run two separate 12/2 20amp wires (white, black, and ground) and then wire them independently into each of the two switches that make up the dual circuit breaker?

You can, but there is no point in doing so, it is cheaper and easier to run 12/3, then branch the circuit where convienient.

So lets say you want to feed two bedrooms, each with their own circuit, you run ONE 12/3 from the main box to a physical area between the two rooms (in the attic or whatever, then you drop it down to one of the eletrical box's....from that point on you branch the circuit out (using the outlet box as the jbox typically, instead of a jbox in the attic.....either way is fine, but you really want as few boxes as possible)...the savings in copper is phenomenal, i have no idea why it is not NEC mandated that all residential/commercial be multiwire branch circuits....
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post #14 of 16 Old 01-03-2008, 09:43 AM
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Thanks - got it. Okay, I ended up running two separate circuits with two separate wires, for which 12/3 wouldn't have made sense (due to the location of the mainline runs of the circuits). I just wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything.
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post #15 of 16 Old 01-03-2008, 01:53 PM
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I am a general manager of a tradeshow company and the defacto electrician that hooks up tradeshow electrical systems to run upwards of 800+ amps. Dual dedicated outlets/20 amp circuits to each booth in the show. Electric is not difficult if you have any technical know how but one mistake and you could be dead or set your whole house on fire.

Therefore, in my opinion, if you are not licenced on 100% positive and confident in doing it correctly, HIRE a pro.
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post #16 of 16 Old 01-04-2008, 10:26 AM
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I have been doing wiring on an addition and 12/3 wire is a little more than 2x more expensive than 12/2 (at least at the Home Depots in my area. Doesnt really make sense that it would be twice as expensive, but it is.
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