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We bought a house in April that's about 5 years old. When it was built, the outlets for a large portion of the house (including master br, office, and living room) were all wired to a single 15 amp GFCI breaker (can't figure why GFCI was used). Because of different usage patterns due to WFH for COVID and my mom moving in, we are having that outlet tripped at least once a day (if not more).

I want to move some of the load off of that circuit by adding some new circuits to the panel, and running new outlets next to the originals (I have access from below in the basement). Due to the spread out nature of the rooms, though, it seems easier to me to pull individual circuits / runs instead of trying to daisy chain everything around the basement ceiling.

Other than being more expensive and wildly over-speced, are there any reasons that adding a bunch of "dedicated" runs/outlets is a bad idea from a panel perspective?

EDIT:

Just wanted to add a couple of responses to the excellent comments that I've received..

  • Current breaker is 14awg, so no way to change out the breaker.
  • Proposed circuit(s) were planned to be 12 awg/20 amp
  • The main culprit is the portable ac unit (that I hate) in the master bedroom. I would run just a dedicated outlet for that, but it's on the 2nd floor, and crawling around the attic isn't on my todo list, so wanting to take everything else off instead and leave that by itself.
  • The two new proposed outlets will be to power all of the tv/entertainment stuff in the living room (one circut) and all of my wife's computer/office stuff in the office (second circuit), which are on opposite corners of the house, hence making wiring more complicated.
  • I have a mostly empty 20 space subpanel that was already installed, so spaces aren't a problem.
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  • Have you checked the wire size to verify it's #14 AWG. It could possibly be #12 AWG and you could increase the breaker to 20 AMP. how many spaces are available in your panel?
    – JACK
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 16:23
  • Nothing forcing you to serve multiple outlets per new breaker but the "problem" is wasted time and money as you suggested! There are probably two or three devices causing your issues. Those SHOULD get their own circuits, and then you can stop work and go play. Maybe it's a hair dryer and a vacuum cleaner, or a window A/C and an iron. Or whatever ... you get it? You can follow your plan, but only where it's really needed. You may even be able to just run new wires to the existing outlets rather than put new ones "next to" them. What do you think?
    – jay613
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 16:37
  • Another thing, that hopefully the Pros can express more eloquently than me: What you are proposing may be safe from a Code perspective, but is bad design. It consumes a valuable resource (panel space) in a lazy effort to serve immediate needs with no regard to future expansion and maintenance. Bad design is always bad, in every walk of life.
    – jay613
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 16:43
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    @GeorgeAnderson we are in agreement. A new circuit labelled "New MBR outlet for iron" would be good design and good solution. Lots of new circuits all serving phone chargers would not only be "over-speced" as OP says, but would require an electrician doing a future expansion to get into OP's head long after he's gone ... that's what I mean about bad design.
    – jay613
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 17:10
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    Responding to the edited question: So just run one new circuit in a conduit up the outside wall to knee-level in the bedroom where you come back in through the wall and install a new dedicated outlet for the A/C. Oversize the conduit so you could later upgrade to a 220V wall unit or mini split if you choose just by pulling appropriate wire. One new circuit, clearly fit for purpose so nobody has to wonder why later.
    – jay613
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 22:14

2 Answers 2

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This is perfectly fine. And actually a great idea. A couple of things to consider:

  • You may want to run 12 AWG for 20 Amp circuits instead of 14 AWG for 15 Amps. That will cost a little more in wire but allow for more stuff on each circuit at a time.

  • You probably need AFCI (but not GFCI unless the receptacles are in garage, basement, bathroom or kitchen). AFCI is generally best done at the breaker rather than at the receptacle (GFCI is perfectly fine at the first receptacle in a chain).

  • Watch out for the total panel spaces. If you have a lot of spaces available then go for it. If you only have a few spaces available then consider a balance between circuits and receptacles. Modern lighting typically uses very little power, so putting a receptacle (or two) on the same circuit as lighting is almost always fine (i.e., won't lead to overloads), especially if you use 20 Amp circuits. Alternating receptacles between circuits - e.g., half the receptacles in 3 rooms on one circuit and half on another circuit - is also often a good way to balance things out and minimize overloads.

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  • When I added a few new circuits a couple of years ago the inspector said that AFCI have to be in the breaker as they protect the wires as well as the receptacles
    – Eli Iser
    Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 22:25
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    @EliIser That is 99% correct. The remaining 1% is: (a) you can put a deadfront (an AFCI in a regular junction box the size of a standard receptacle) right next to the breaker panel (that works for situations with old breaker panels that don't have AFCI available or if you only have half-size slots available for breakers) and (b) in at least some places if you use metal conduit then you can put AFCI/receptacle at the first receptacle in the chain (because the conduit will protect against arcs). Commented Jun 28, 2021 at 22:45
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You're not required to daisy-chain it. Wiring allows a "tree" topology, so you can branch anywhere you have the cubic inches in the box to accommodate the wires. They usually just daisy-chain because it's cheap and simple (so the apprentice will understand it lol).

Feel free to sever the chain in as many segments as you please. Then feed each segment (from anywhere along the segment) with a new home-run cable going back to the panel.

A circuit which contains any #14 Cu wire (or #12Al) is a 15A circuit. A circuit with all #12Cu (#10Al) is a 20A circuit. You're always allowed to run bigger wire; I don't even own any #14 myself (why tie up capital in a second spool when #12 will do everything).

If you have pre-existing aluminum, certain steps are needed to mitigate mistakes made in the 1970s. Not a big deal.

Also feel free to "sever" the circuit string halfway across a room. That is, the vast majority of people think it's "neat" to have 1 circuit per bedroom. I couldn't disagree more: I want each room to have access to as many circuits as possible, because you never know where your load will be. You might have a furnace quit and need 3 heater-fans in the bedroom. The home office might appreciate having access to 3 circuits for laser printer, gaming PC and air conditioner. So I do my best to spread the love, and give each room access to at least 2 circuits.

This is not vast overkill. We are not electricity's servant. It's the other way 'round, electricity serves us. It does our bidding. The material is cheap, put in whatever you need.

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