etiquette and strategy question

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mikejurasw

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Hi everyone, I'm rehabbing and old bathroom (subway tile...one pull-chain light) and I need some electrical advice. While I do all my own plumbing, carpentry, plaster, etc. I know I will need a pro for the electrical. The question is: how much can I do by myself before I hire? I had one guy tell me the room needs a dedicated circuit (I don't disagree...) but he wanted to run it outside, up the brick wall of the house, and then back in. Not gonna happen.
I have a clear view of the basement from my ripped -up shower floor on the second story. My questions: can I just run 100 ft. of Romex...unconnected...from the basement, up through the chase to the bathroom ceiling and leave the coil there for an electrician? Would this be perceived as making the job simpler, or getting in their way?
Thanks!
MM
 

afjes_2016

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Yes, a bathroom needs at least one 20amp circuit. If the circuit will only feed that bathroom (not another one in addition) then that circuit may also feed the lighting for that bathroom.

Some find in rehabbing a bathroom to run more than one 20amp circuit to the bathroom. It gives them more flexibility. With only one circuit you are limited to what you can run at the same time. I don't know the size or members of your family. Example: Someone plugs in a hair curling iron to heat up and someone uses a blow dryer at the same time, the breaker will trip. If you have a combo ceiling fan, light, heater unit going in then that should be on its own 20amp circuit. It really depends on how much power you will need in that bathroom - but to code at least one 20amp circuit must be there and not go anywhere else in the house except to another bathroom.

How much can you do before you hire? Only you will know your limitations and what you feel you are willing to take on as a challenge. But I will give you advice. Many electricians will not pick up where a homeowner or even another electrician has left off. The reason is their liability insurance. They don't want to take on the liability of someone else's work. Many electricians follow this rule including myself before I retired.

Running 100feet of Romex yourself is really not going to save you all that much money. 100 feet of Romex you can expect somewhat of a voltage drop. Best if you think you can't do the entire electrical project to call in an electrician who is will to listen to your wants/dis-wants to do the job. However, you need to listen to them when they start talking code. Code limitations may prevent them from doing everything you want or the way you want something done.

Again, if you feel you want to save money by doing some of the grunt work yourself, first find an electrician who is willing to work with you like this.
 

mikejurasw

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Thanks, afjes! This is exactly what I needed to hear.
best,
MM
 

afjes_2016

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You're welcome :thumb:

If you have any further questions just let us know.

The other thing I wanted to mentioned quickly is obtaining a permit for the electrical work. You will need to pull a permit and have an inspection done. Your local codes may be more strict than the NEC. We don't know your location. Some local city/towns do not let the home owner do the actual work themselves. You need to find this out.
 

WasVilla

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Hi everyone, I'm rehabbing and old bathroom (subway tile...one pull-chain light) and I need some electrical advice. While I do all my own plumbing, carpentry, plaster, etc. I know I will need a pro for the electrical. The question is: how much can I do by myself before I hire? I had one guy tell me the room needs a dedicated circuit (I don't disagree...) but he wanted to run it outside, up the brick wall of the house, and then back in. Not gonna happen.
I have a clear view of the basement from my ripped -up shower floor on the second story. My questions: can I just run 100 ft. of Romex...unconnected...from the basement, up through the chase to the bathroom ceiling and leave the coil there for an electrician? Would this be perceived as making the job simpler, or getting in their way?
Thanks!
MM
If you're running a 100 foot ROMEX line on 20A, you should use #12 wire to minimize voltage drop. Take the time to learn how best to install that line and how to bring it into your main. If you are NOT comfortable with that, get a good handyman who is. You will pay a bit ... but it is money well spent.
 

afjes_2016

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If you're running a 100 foot ROMEX line on 20A, you should use #12 wire to minimize voltage drop. Take the time to learn how best to install that line and how to bring it into your main. If you are NOT comfortable with that, get a good handyman who is. You will pay a bit ... but it is money well spent.
I'm sorry, I don't agree with your advice if Mikejurasw (OP) can't do this project himself of calling in a good handyman to do it. This is not what he should do. He should contact a licensed and insured electrician for this project. I suggest he do this first. Discuss with the electrician what he wants done and what will be required by code both NEC and AHJ. The OP and the electrician can determine together if any part of the work to be done can be done by the OP. The OP should not purchase any materials or do any work on his own yet until this is done. Many electricians want to use/purchase their own materials to be sure everything is what it should be for the project.

I made the mistake of allowing a DIYer to purchase and install some of the materials himself to help him save money. This was against my better judgement but I was just trying to help him out. It was for his workshop in his barn. Long story short he wanted to install circuits for power tools around the barn (inside). When I returned after he called me and told me he went to Home Depot and purchased everything I gave him in a written out list and he installed it all I had a shock when I got there. He was to only run the MC and install the boxes and not install/connect the circuits to the panel or install the receptacles. I gave him of detailed list of everything he needed to buy and wrote out what he was to do in the way of labor.

This is where I never did this for any DIYer again. The guy at Home Depot suggested that instead of several 20amp circuits and buying so much more 12/2 MC that he should use 10/2 Romex. This way he only needed one circuit because you can put so much more on this circuit. URGH!!. So now he ran all this 10/2 Romex (surface mounted, exposed on the walls subject to physical damage), bought handyboxes instead of the 4x4 metal boxes, decided to save by not using Romex strain reliefs on each box, used 15amp rated receptacles (the cheapest they had) and made a total mess of the entire project. My mouth dropped and hit the floor when I walked into the barn. It was a disaster. He said everything went kind of smooth but it was a pain stuffing the 10/2 into those small boxes but he jammed it in there. URGH!! Lucky I made it quite clear to him when I made the agreement to let him purchase the materials (from my written list only) and do some of the grunt work that I told him quite clearly that if he deviates from my list or instructions I will not be held responsible and I have the right to tear out what is not correct at his cost. What a mess this entire thing was. Well, he ripped it all out. I bought everything, and installed it all my way and he was happier than a 4 year old at Christmas time.
 

Jeff Handy

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If you're running a 100 foot ROMEX line on 20A, you should use #12 wire to minimize voltage drop. Take the time to learn how best to install that line and how to bring it into your main. If you are NOT comfortable with that, get a good handyman who is. You will pay a bit ... but it is money well spent.
Your advice is misguided.
The issue is not the 100 foot length of Romex.
20 amps needs 12 gauge for even short lengths.
 

mikejurasw

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Thanks, all! I appreciate it. I am a DIY-er, but I know my limitations, and I respect that pros are expert in their domains. I don't want to be "that guy" who compromises a pro's ability to get the job done right (especially since, at some point in this project I know I'll be needing one!)
best,
MM
 

zannej

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Good luck to you, mike! I'm in the same boat as you in terms of DIY stuff. I'm not comfortable touching electrical (short of replacing light bulbs).

I'm curious, would 100' of 12/3 still work for a 20 amp? Are any special wires needed for bathrooms (wires that are rated for damp/wet areas?) And he metal boxes-- is that because they can be grounded or is it because they are less likely to melt if something sparks?

(not trying to hijack the thread, just curious about some of the info here).

In my town we have an electrician who "supervised" my friend installing wiring & hooking up switches & receptacles. Friend ran his own wires as directed by electrician while the electrician drank coffee and then electrician charged a fee and signed off saying the work was done. Friend is a certified electrician though, so maybe that is why.

afjes, I would have been so frustrated with that customer. If an electrician gave me a shopping list, I would get exactly what was on the list and if something wasn't available I would ask & list available options before substituting.
 

Jeff Handy

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I am not a pro, but I would say that 100 ft of 12/2 romex is ok for a 20 amp circuit that is only used occasionally and briefly.
Most power tools are only run in short spurts.
The problem comes if something is using almost the whole load for a long time, the wire heats up, and the insulation can start to deteriorate.
If the circuit was for an air conditioner, heater, or any other tool that draws high power for a long time, I would use 10/2, costs more but worth it.
And most tools with a big motor draw extra power as they start up, which can trip the breaker if they are not happy with the juice.
And motorized tools don’t do well with voltage drop.
If they are starved for volts, they can heat up and become damaged or shorten their life.
 

afjes_2016

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I basically brought up the fact of voltage drop mainly just to bring that to the OP's attention. If the OP had said 45 feet I would not have said anything. The OP said 100 feet so I felt that if the OP did not know anything about voltage drop and instead of 100 feet used 150 feet for whatever reason voltage drop would come into play more than likely. If the OP did not know about it then using 150 feet instead of 100 would not have put up a red flag to the OP.

This way at least the OP is aware of it.

Zannej: Whether it is 12/2 or 12/3 makes no difference if voltage drop is in play with the length of the conductors. Being so close to 100 feet may not make a difference.

Any special wiring, no should not be required in a bathroom just because it is a damp place sometimes with shower steam. Just need to be sure GFCIs are used, if a light fixture is in a water zone then it must be a damp rated fixture etc, and or GFCI protected. Many ifs thens and buts when it comes to a bathroom other than just a standard bathroom setup.

I worked for a GC once. Did a few reno jobs with him. His brother in law moved close by so he hired his brother in law to also do some electrical on his renos. Urgh!! Big mistake. Working only one day with this guy all this guy ever said to me is "why do you worry about code so much, all it does is cost extra money and time, no one will ever know if you don't follow code". Well, needless to say I told the GC about this and he told his brother in law not to do anymore electrical on his renos and left all the decisions etc to me. I made sure this guy never touched anything electrical on any job sites.
 

zannej

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Thanks for the responses. I should have clarified, when I asked about 12/3 I meant vs 10/3 or thicker wire. So having 100' or greater would have some voltage drop? That makes sense. I have more questions but I should probably create another thread. I won't be doing my own electrical but I at least like to know the rules so I know if something is being done wrong.

Oh man, people who say they don't have to follow code really piss me off. I refrained from hiring an installer for saying that to me before-- and I reported him to the inspector for it. He of course lied to the inspector when confronted. Said I misunderstood or something. But I heard him plain as day saying he didn't have to follow the rules. Sadly, there are GCs who will still hire people who cut corners & then you end up with electrical fires, breakers tripping, or lights flickering/brownouts.
 

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