How to run a second circuit to a room with only one?

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Flyover

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Right now my office has basically two outlets: one at the base of the bare-bulb light in the ceiling, and one on the wall. Both of these are split from the same junction box (also in the ceiling) and are "full". To get more room without daisy-chaining power strips, I'd like to add another outlet, preferably on its own circuit (partly for safety/load reasons, partly to reduce hum when I've got electrified musical equipment going).

Problem is, I have no clue how to do that. Seems maybe easy enough: buy some romex, attach somewhere on breaker box, run along studs/joists, attach to new outlet mounted on wall or wherever, try to follow code. Right?

I'm reasonably intelligent and handy, but maybe this is always something you need a certified electrician for?

Help please.
 

Eddie_T

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I think I have 6-8 outlets on each breaker. If you have space in your panel you just add a breaker and do as you say. If you don't have space you can use a tandem breaker to add another circuit.
 

Snoonyb

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Both yourself and ET inhere the correct I deal.

How about some photos of the service panel, both intact and with the dead front panel removed, the path and the proposed destination.
 

bud16415

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We don’t know the power requirements for your office or what the load of that circuit is now. It may be lightly loaded and there will be no problem adding another outlet. The equipment plugged into the same circuit as some sound system stuff should not be a problem and if you are getting a hum of buzz that is another problem to look at and is likely a ground loop. If you need a feed off another breaker you can also look at a nearby room that is on another circuit and branch off that.

Adding a new circuit and breaker would be a last resort for me when adding an outlet.
 

Sparky617

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What is the access like between your breaker panel and your office? Do you have an unfinished basement between the two? Or an attic? Access to the top or bottom of the wall is key if you don't want to cut a bunch of holes in your walls to pull wires. A 15 amp circuit can handle around 1500 watts of continuous load, 1800 watts of load total. 15watts x 120 volts = 1800 watts. Number of outlets is somewhat immaterial, but it is limited by code depending on the application. A refrigerator, microwave, and dishwasher should all have dedicated 20amp outlets. Kitchen counters need to have 2 20 amp circuits to handle the load of small appliances like coffee makers, instant pots, electric frypans, toaster overs, air fryers, etc.

So to determine whether you need another circuit you need to figure out how much of a constant load you'd have while using the office. If you're like me, you might have a couple of flat panel monitors, a printer (or two), two lap tops (work and personal) and a flat panel TV set. These are all things in my bonus room/home office today. Oh and a treadmill, that I occasionally use while the other stuff is on. I have never tripped the breaker in my bonus room. Now I probably am never going to be printing on both printers, on my treadmill, with the TV on all at the same time. I very easily will have a TV on, with the treadmill, both lap tops and two external monitors.

So, I'd look at everything you're running and add up the wattage and seeing if you're getting close to 1500 watts of continuous usage on your 15 amp circuit. If you're lucky you might have a 20 amp circuit in which case you're good for 2400 watts peak, 1920 watts continuous.

As to whether you can run this yourself, it depends. I can, I can even pull the permit to do the work. But, I went to vo-tech to be an electrician a "few" years ago and know my way around an electrical panel. Some areas (Chicago for one) require EVERYTHING in EMT conduit. Call it the unionized electrician employment security plan.

Give us a few more details on the route from your panel to the room if you decide you need to run another circuit.
 

Flyover

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If you need a feed off another breaker you can also look at a nearby room that is on another circuit and branch off that.
Good advice. I'll have to figure out which if any nearby rooms are on a separate breaker. But, I doubt I have easy access. (See response to next quote)
What is the access like between your breaker panel and your office? Do you have an unfinished basement between the two?
My office is in the unfinished basement, in fact I have a clear line of sight to the breaker box maybe 20 feet away. If you've learned anything about me at all on this forum you know I love me some exposed studs and joists!
So to determine whether you need another circuit you need to figure out how much of a constant load you'd have while using the office. If you're like me, you might have a couple of flat panel monitors, a printer (or two), two lap tops (work and personal) and a flat panel TV set. These are all things in my bonus room/home office today. Oh and a treadmill, that I occasionally use while the other stuff is on. I have never tripped the breaker in my bonus room.
Heh, the name Sparky checks out.

The most I'd ever be running at once in my office is two 21" monitors, two laptops, a 50 watt guitar combo amp, a guitar effects processor (not sure of amperage), and a vocal effects processor (1A). Possibly a 14V speaker amplifier too. Oh, and a light bulb.

I've come close to running all that as it is now and never tripped a breaker, though in an adjacent room that is I believe on the same circuit, my wife has tripped the breaker by running the treadmill, Roku, 33" TV, and light bulb at the same time. But it would probably never be the case that both of us are running all of those things at the same time.
 

afjes_2016

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My office is in the unfinished basement, in fact I have a clear line of sight to the breaker box maybe 20 feet away.
Well now this makes it so much easier than fishing cables thru walls etc. :thumb: :thumb:

Problem is, I have no clue how to do that. Seems maybe easy enough: buy some romex, attach somewhere on breaker box, run along studs/joists, attach to new outlet mounted on wall or wherever, try to follow code. Right?
In your case, yes, it is much easier to accomplish what you want to here in your office.
You can run a dedicated circuit to your office.
Step one - Do you have any space available in your panel for a breaker at this time?
Do you have a clear line of sight (nothing you have to remove) from the panel to your office.
A 20amp circuit would be fine. Romex or MC can be used depending on the route of the cable.
Also if the office is not completely finished this circuit may require that it be GFCI protected which is not a big deal.
If this circuit that you want is a convenience circuit then you can run 12 gauge with a 20amp breaker. In this case I would feel that a load calculation is not required due to what this circuit would be powering. You can run the circuit to your office near your computer and even make it a isolated ground circuit and use this circuit for your computer and then use the other receptacle (existing) for the other things you are now powering in the office. It can be stupid-simple or you can complicate it with other options depending on what you want to achieve in the end.

Tell us what you end goal is and we can guide you from there.
 

Flyover

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Thanks, afjes.

When I look at my office now, I see the one socket (with something plugged into it) at the base of the light bulb in the ceiling, and one 2-socket wall outlet completely full (something plugged into the top socket, a power strip plugged into the bottom one, each socket on the power strip full as well) and that just gives me the heebie-jeebies: all occupants of those sockets lead to devices that might be powered on simultaneously, and I wouldn't want to trip the breaker, especially in the middle of work or something. Additionally, what if I want to plug in one more thing? Hopefully that gives you a sense of my goals.

Stupid-simple solutions are usually preferable in my book.
 

Sparky617

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I haven't watched the whole video, but this shows running a new circuit in a garage from the panel. They used MC/BX cable for this, you don't likely won't need to do that. Romex will be fine, I'd do a 20amp rather than a 15 amp, and use 12/2. Also, per the code today you need both GFCI and Arc Fault on new outlets. I used dual function breakers for my basement project. In my basement I have 5 separate 20 amp circuits for all the outlets and 2 15amp circuits for lighting.

 

Eddie_T

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Just thinking · · · if you don't want the extra protection no one will know that it's a new circuit.
 

Sparky617

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Just thinking · · · if you don't want the extra protection no one will know that it's a new circuit.
I had to do the Arc Fault / GFCI because my basement is fully permitted. You could get by with just a GFCI if you're not pulling permits. If I were just putting in a new circuit I wouldn't bother pulling permits and had I done my basement prior to the code change a home inspector wouldn't ding me for not having both. I don't have to replace all the breakers in the panel for the rest of the house with Arc Fault/GFCIs. Good thing because I'd have to replace the panel or add another sub, there isn't enough room for the larger breakers. Electrical work isn't rocket science but if you screw up you can cause issues including fire, electrical shock and even death. A panel isn't a place for someone to hop into without some knowledge.
 

afjes_2016

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We really should not encourage or suggest DIYers to engage in electrical projects in their homes that are not to code and that a permit/inspection is not obtained. Both of these are for reasons mainly safety.

.
 

Eddie_T

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We really should not encourage or suggest DIYers to engage in electrical projects in their homes that are not to code and that a permit/inspection is not obtained. Both of these are for reasons mainly safety.

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For adding an outlet or two in an open stud situation there seems to be little reason to pull a permit. I wouldn't even add a GFCI. I don't have any (and never have).
 

afjes_2016

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My opinion is that especially a DIYer should pull a permit and have an inspection done.
A DIYer especially has not had the training and field experience of a licensed electrician and is more apt to possibly make a mistake which could cause personal or property damage. An inspector may spot a serious error in an electrical project of a DIYer at their home. It may be considered an inconvenience but could save lives. Especially those DIYers who are working with the electrical on swimming pools and spas.

Some towns/cities like the one I live in a DIYer can do their own work, an electrical permit is not required but an inspection is. I think this is a good safety feature.

GFCIs are good because they provide a level of personal safety from electrocution and really should be used especially in a home that does not have grounded circuits.
 

Eddie_T

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Not saying it hasn't happened but in my lifetime a home electrocution has never made the news. Grounded circuits actually make it easier to get a shock. Otherwise our clunky chinese shoes keep us pretty well insulated. I value personal freedom over the rules we are forced to live under. And yeah I won't even mention my generator cord.
 

Snoonyb

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My son was thinking of an office in the backyard, so I suggested a ground loop. But he wanted to use steel studs so thought he would get shocked, and I mentioned it mite glow, in the winter.

He didn't see the humor.
 

BuzzLOL

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When I look at my office now, I see the one socket (with something plugged into it) at the base of the light bulb in the ceiling, and one 2-socket wall outlet completely full (something plugged into the top socket, a power strip plugged into the bottom one, each socket on the power strip full as well) and that just gives me the heebie-jeebies
LameStreamMisleadia likes to show an outlet with half a dozen things plugged into it when talking about over loaded circuits but as Sparky points out, you have to add up all the actual power usages to see if it is actually overloaded... for example, an electric clock is only about 2 watts of power usage...
 

afjes_2016

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Not saying it hasn't happened but in my lifetime a home electrocution has never made the news. Grounded circuits actually make it easier to get a shock. Otherwise our clunky chinese shoes keep us pretty well insulated. I value personal freedom over the rules we are forced to live under. And yeah I won't even mention my generator cord.

Eddie - I don't really feel it is of this forums thought overall to discourage safety. If your opinion is that you prefer to take chances then that is your right and freedom to do so but I would not discourage DIYers from taking safety precautions. Especially ones that have a much lower understanding of basic electrical theory. The purpose of a forum like this is to guide a DIYer with some knowledge - our knowledge and while doing so impress safety along with it.
Some people may read a post in their search in google and come across a post in a thread stating that an unsafe installation does not matter because no inspector will ever see it. That would not be the point. The point is safety. I prefer to stress safety in my replies on this forum and I see many other members are also which I believe is the right thing to do.

Some DIYers may not know the real ramifications of an installation that is not done to code and because of this could cause a fire or even personal injury. Whereas someone not wanting to wear their seat belt in a car is more well known to most people that it can be very hazardous not to wear one compared to wearing one but that is personal opinion. When it come to electrical theory it is a little different.
 

Eddie_T

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In general I agree but I think with this one (or more) outlet installation it becomes a just a choice of whether or not to add a simple or complex receptacle for office use. I see no need for complication just because the code has changed. The wiring in my house is not out to get me and I have had to explain to licensed electricians that electricity is not really seeking the shortest path to ground.
 

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