Two questions regarding outlet wiring
I have one question related to my own home and one related to a project a friend would like me to help him with.
Question number one:
I'm planning on running a new circuit to my upstairs with just one outlet on it dedicated for use by a window air conditioner. I'm planning on using 12g and making it a 20A outlet, even though our current window AC model is very efficient and doesn't require this. I figure if I'm going to go to the trouble I may as well use the heavier guage for any possible future needs.
I happen to have an extra 20A GFCI outlet in my parts pile and I was wondering if I should use this or not. I don't know if this is recommend or not for window AC units, so I'd like to know what you guys think - GFCI or standard?
Question numero dos:
My friend recently had a new service drop and panel installed in his ~60 year old home. He has the old tar-paper insulated copper wiring with no ground still running throughout the house.
This is especially unerving in places like his kitchen, where he's been running items like his refridgerator and microwave that require a grounded circuit without any grounding. Actually, he had a range hood, coffee pot, AND his fridge all hooked up to a three-outlet expander that was in turn plugged into a two-to-three prong adapter. :eek:
If we were to run a few new circuits (I've been prompting him to run a seperate one dedicated to just the fridge), could we make use of the old outlet work boxes? In other words, could we disconnect and then cap off/insulate the old wiring and leave it unused but still present within the old work boxes, then run the new wiring in and make use of that with new outlets?
If not, what's the correct procedure for rehabbing old outlets? We could use new "old work" boxes, but this would be an extra hassle and in some instances look odd.
Any advice is appreciated guys!
It is quite alright to run the 20a circut to the A/C, however, make sure you don't use a breaker larger than allowed by the A/C. Over amperage could burn out the compressor and/or fan. The compressor starting up will probably kick the GFCI every time (they have a start mode and a run mode). Therefore, we usually like to use a standard (20a) receptacle.
I am in the process of re-wiring my home and have the same case. I have added several new circuts in the kitchen. In cases of an existing box we tie the new wire to the old one and pull it through. It gets hard as a dickens at times but it is a perfect route for the new wire. I personally would not like to leave and old wire; I would be afraid it would get mixed in with the live wires somehow and cause a fire or electrocution. I'm thankful for a full basement; it sure makes things easier.
Thanks for the reply Glenn. I was afraid that the AC might continually trip the GFCI, so I'll go with a standard.
As for the breaker, I was planning on using a 20A circuit breaker since I'd be using 12G wire. Shouldn't I match the protection on the circuit to the guage used and not the device?
If the AC motor decides to seize and burn up, what does it matter if it does this on a standard 15A breaker or a 20A breaker, so long as the protection provided by the breaker is matched to the wiring correctly?
In other words, isn't the breaker designed to protect the circuit wiring from damage, not the devices plugged into it?
As for my friend's house, I'd love to be able to use the old wire to pull new, but unfortunately we can't. His house is an old circa WWII cape cod and they didn't believe in taking the easy route back then. Even though he has easy access to any of the walls on the first floor through the basement ceiling, the builders instead ran the main runs up to the second floor first and THEN down through the walls to each outlet and switch.
So using the old wires is out since they have such complex runs that are all inaccessible. Unless we wanted to start pulling up his beautiful old oak floors on the second floor, but for some reason I don't think he'll go for that. ;)
So what's the best option? Since we can't easily use the old wiring to pull new and for the same reason can't remove it entirely, can we just tie it off and abandon it some way?
Hmm, that's weird. I posted a followup to this before the weekend, but the post isn't showing now. :confused:
Oh well, I'll try again. Thanks for the reply Glennjanie.
I'm a little confused on your advice about the AC. It's a 12,000 BTU window model that only requires a standard 15A outlet and is quoted to use ~1100 watts when running.
So you're saying that when I run the new circuit with 12G that I should still put a 15A breaker on the circuit instead of a 20A? Why would this matter?
As for my neighbor's home, unfortunately pulling the old wire isn't doable. His home is a cape cod and instead of running all the ground floor wiring along the basement ceiling and then up to the 1st floor outlets, they instead routed the wiring up to the second floor and then down. So pulling the old wire would entail ripping up old original oak flooring.
Since we can't do that, what would you suggest as the best route for running a new circuit into the old outlets?
If you oversize the breaker you risk burning out the compressor in the air conditioner.
I would locate the walls from the basement and run new wires from there. Just cut the old wires off and cap them with a red wire nut. Pulling new wire into an existing box is a real art. You can use a piece of heavy wire or sometimes a small chain works wonders. It takes two to do it this way though.
I actually have some fancy-dancy glow in the dark fiberglass pull rods for fishing new wire, so it shouldn't be too dificult. I've already done it a few times for new outlets in my house which is a very similar design and was built around the same period.
We'll do that then. I'll cap the old stuff and tape it up for extra protection.
Thanks again! :D
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