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I am working on slowly updating my house with new wiring and I have a question regarding proper circuit setup.

My house has 2 stories and currently, I work on the second-floor guest bedroom. There are 3 bedrooms on this floor (A main bedroom, a guest bedroom, and an office).

I understand that ideally I should have 2 circuits for each room - one for light and one for outlets, but that would take up a lot of space in the panel.

Is it OK to wire each room as if they have 2 circuits, bring all 6 circuit wires back to panel, and then combine them before connecting to the panel?

So let's say I have the main bedroom outlet circuit, the office outlet circuit and the guest room outlet circuits meet near the panel, their neutrals, hots, and grounds joined together and then from each pigtail to the panel itself, effectively making all 3 a single circuit with a single breaker.

This way, should anyone ever need to have a lot more dedicated power specifically in the office they can disconnect office outlet wires and add a dedicated office outlet breaker.

Is that safe and OK to do?

Thanks!

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  • Combining circuits as you describe is allowed. Two circuits for an entire three-bedroom upstairs is poor planning. You don't need six. 3 or 4 circuits would be good, with each room having at least two available.
    – jay613
    Jan 24 at 13:55
  • To your last point, structured wiring for electrical power sounds great. Yes technically and legally you can do it. But cable is expensive these days and you'll use at least twice as much as you need.
    – jay613
    Jan 24 at 13:58
  • As long as the bedrooms just use a couple of lights, radio/tv/pc type of of power use then it is okay. It is when you start using space heaters/hair dryers type of power that you might run into problems.
    – crip659
    Jan 24 at 14:02
  • Every home I've lived in always had lights and outlets on the same circuit, even multiple bedrooms. Lights don't need separate circuits as they don't take much power.
    – DJ.
    Jan 24 at 16:41

2 Answers 2

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what you are describing is legal assuming the junction box all the circuits diverge at is large enough and remains accessible and the breaker that feeds the circuit is sized for the smallest wire used in the circuit. Putting multpiple circuits on a single breaker in the panel is also allowed, but you'll have to check how many wires are allowed in the terminal, any extra must be pigtailed.

However instead of trying to save space in your panel this way, buy a bigger panel.

If you are sending a homerun from each room outlet circuit to your panel so you might as well give them a breaker already.

Or if you want to keep your existing panel, use a subpanel to join all the room loads into a single run to the main panel instead of an oversized junction box. That run from main to sub can (should) be beefier, put a large breaker to the subpanel, get a panel with plenty of spaces and separate neutral&ground bar (might be sold separately) and give each circuit that lands there its own appropriate breaker.

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  • Thanks! I have a pretty big panel but if I were to wire every room outlet as a separate circuit I would probably run out of even my panel's spaces. Good to know that I can combine them, should the need arise.
    – Zakkery
    Jan 24 at 13:49
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A separate lighting circuit for each bedroom is not normal. Lighting loads are very small. If you run 20 amps total to each room that would be a practical minimum. If one of the rooms might be used as a home office, then 2+ circuits would be great.

You could also run one common lighting circuit for several rooms and make it separate from the receptacles.

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  • Thanks for your response! Let's say I keep all the lights on a single circuit, but is it still OK for me to run each room's outlet circuit down to the panel and then join 2 bedrooms into a single circuit and keep the office as a second circuit?
    – Zakkery
    Jan 24 at 13:39
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    Yes it’s perfectly legal to splice in your panel box like that.
    – nobody
    Jan 24 at 13:47
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    Just remember there are practical limits considering how easy it is to draw more than 10 amps using a single appliance. Jan 24 at 13:49

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