My project this weekend is to get my garage repowered so my tenant will be able to plug his car in during the winter months. When I bought my house it was recently renovated by house flippers who made the basement into a suite and I suspect they used the circuit that was going to the garage to power the new bathroom's lights/fan.

The Problem

The circuit to the garage has no power and I have a few options to connect it up but I'm not sure if the easiest option is bad.


Proposed solution

It looks like the there used to be a light fixture immediately outside of what is now the basement bathroom's door. The only other thing on the circuit is the washing machine. (Not the dryer it has it's own circuit) I am thinking I simply connect this wire to my garage wire and presto my garage has power. As a bonus, my garage circuit has a switch in the laundry room so if there is an issue with having both on, one could easily switch off the garage and do their laundry.

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Is this a bad idea? Could putting both on the same circuit lead to damaging something or safety issues?


It turned out the "hard" solution wasn't that hard at all. I added a 15amp circuit breaker to the panel and ran a new 14/2 cable to the switch. Easy peasy.

  • Is the garage attached, or detached?
    – Tester101
    Oct 19 '12 at 18:47
  • Detached garage, my plan it to use the power for the single light fixture in the garage and to power the plugs so my tenant can plug in his block heater on his car. Oct 19 '12 at 18:52
  • @BiffMaGriff - If you are powering outlets they should be wired with 12awg cable.
    – Michael Karas
    Oct 20 '12 at 19:04
  • @MichaelKaras I was under the impression that 14 AWG was sufficient for a 15amp circuit. What is the reasoning for having the thicker wire for the receptacles? Oct 21 '12 at 1:00
  • @BiffMaGriff - You are correct that a 15 amp circuit could use 14 AWG wire. I always use 12 AWG wire for outlets because the heavier wire helps eliminate voltage droops that can happen when a motor starts up. Even though the circuit may be breakered at 15 amps you never know what could be plugged in and how much surge that a motor type device may cause. Even though the motor could be well within the 15A rating during its running. I also use 10 AWG wire for runs in my garage that go from the power panel over to the over to a junction box that may branch out to several outlet boxes.
    – Michael Karas
    Oct 21 '12 at 15:59

In general, all fixed appliances are supposed to be on their own circuit.

Thus, by code, you can't have something else on the same circuit as a washing machine. You can check your local building codes but I'll bet that's what they say.

  • That makes sense, I guess I'll have to go the harder route. Thanks! Oct 19 '12 at 19:06
  • 1
    Can you please reference the "code" you are referring to?
    – Tester101
    Oct 19 '12 at 19:28
  • Your local electrical code. It varies and so depends on where you live but some things are pretty common. Oct 19 '12 at 20:05
  • Although not a bad idea, I have never seen any code requirements that refer to a normal 120vac washer needing a home run. Oct 20 '12 at 12:39
  • 1
    @BrianWhite I understand codes vary by region. But it would be nice to have a reference to the "code" you are referencing, so curious folks like me could read the actual text as it was written.
    – Tester101
    Oct 31 '12 at 17:36

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