Electrical Questions - Please help

I have a few electrical questions that I hope someone can help me with. I am sorry for being lengthy. I tried elsewhere before posting here, but short of going to the county office, this is the best bet out there.

1.) I have read on codecheck(which sounds like info may be flaw after some research) that any wall greater than 2 ft must have a receptacle unless the wall is not useable. Is this true? I have a wall that is 38" long from corner to entrance opening (no framed door) and the only purpose placing a receptacle there may serve is for vacuuming. This wall is actually in the dinning room.

2.) If I have to put a receptacle on that wall, can I get away with branching a second line off of another receptacle to power the added receptacle. This rec, would have a power wire, a wire going to a second rec, and then a third going to new recepticle. All boxes are 20.3 In. cubed. All wiring is new 12-2.

3.) When the term “wall” is used, does that mean on that particular side of the wall? I have a recepacle on the opposite side of the wall that could easily be accessed through the room entrance.

4.) I have a rather odd kitchen (House was added onto at some point and the rooms were changed around). The kitchen is 9X9 wall to wall and U shapped layout. The kitchen has only one light above the sink and is controlled by a switch that requires you to walk to the opposite side of the room to turn on. I am replacing this light, plus adding a central light. Because of the layout, the only place to put a switch at room opening is on the hallway wall right before you enter the room. Does this sound like an acceptable practice?

5.) Also, I am planning on moving my kitchen in 5-7 yrs, but I am planning parts of the circuit now. Is it acceptable to have both the kitchen and the dinning room lights only on the same circuit? Keep in mind I am in full understanding (I think) of the rest of the kitchen circuit reqiurements, but I am unclear on lighting. To me, It sounds extremely overkill if I am required to have a separate circuit for both the kitchen and dinning room lights.

6.) Does anyone see any showstoppers with what I describe above that I would be required to fix if I sold my house? My intent is to re-wire these areas as correctly as possible so when I sell, the buyer has most correct house instead of the rats nest I am dealing with.

7.) If a room is remodeled, what is the code requirements now for that particular room? Is it grandfatered, but recommended to update to current code?

Thanks for all your help.

Well, Adam…you really are full of questions, aren’t you? You sound pretty handy, and I can answer all your questions, but I encourage you to get yourself a copy of the 2006 International Residential Code, and the NEC (National Electrical Code). They make for boring and ambiguous reading, but there is a lot of good info in there for the amateur remodeler that may save you some heartache down the road. The answers to your questions, in order, are:

  1. Yes. An exception is that there is another receptacle within 6 feet of any appliance that may be located on the 38" wall, so you may be ok.

  2. NO! nuff sed

  3. Yes. Always, it is the SURFACE that is considered, not the whole structural unit.

  4. That’s ok—but is there REALLY NO place to locate a switch inside the kitchen? Why not control both lights with the existing switch leg? This should not create a load problem, as switches are general rated at 15 amps. I know of no lighting you might locate in a kitchen that would come near that.

  5. Yes, as long as the total amps for your lighting circuit does not exceed 80% of the listed load capacity of the overcurrent device. For instance, if you are using a 15 amp breaker, make sure that the total lighting load does not exceed 12 amps, or 80% of 15.

  6. The inconvenience of having the kitchen light switch located outside the room might turn some buyers off, especially the person who is going to be IN the kitchen the most. We know who that usually is, and if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.

  7. This depends on the requirements of your local authority. Check with them about permit requirements. Some jurisdictions have no local restrictions or permit requirements at all.

Hope this helps. And make sure you know what you are doing BEFORE you begin!

Thanks for the response! It has helped me a lot. I am sorry for so many questions! I was worried no one would respond because of it. I need to get a copy of those codes bad! I want to do things the right way. Let me know if you know a shortcut to finding it. I am going to look on this site. I like this site and I am glad I ran across it.

This kitchen is wierd. There is a switch in the kitchen, but you have to walk through the kitchen to get to it. Right now, we naturally turn the light on in the dinning room (accross the hall) so we can see the kitchen switch at night. When you walk in, the left wall is lined with the fridge then the pantry. On the right side you have the stove and 2 ft of counter on each side. Maybe I can get a switch in there some how for the general lighting and leave the over sink light switch where it is at. Is there any code requirements for distance of switch to actual sink. I know it all needs to be GFI.


You might want to think about a motion controlled light in the kitchen. That makes the location of the switch less important. It also keeps the wife and kids from using the refrigerator as a night light. I have them everywhere.

Why the no answer to question #2. Adding another receptacle to an existing circuit is perfectly acceptable in most situations. In the dining room, I don’t see a problem as long as the receptacle is added to a 20 amp circuit, since all dining room circuits are required to be 20 amps. The box fill would be 20.25 cu.in. which would not exceed the limit on the box.

Here are my REPLIES- They are in RED

This one is for Steve Mc.

Steve, the reason I said no stems from the description of how it would be done. As I understand what was said in the original question, the receptacle that would be wired FROM already in in the line of an existing circuit…meaning, wiring in, wiring out already in place. The poster is talking about feeding a THIRD receptacle for the dining area from that receptacle, which means that he would either have to pigtail out. Actually, I was afraid he might try to backwire it out, and that the wired-from receptacle might eventually get cooked!

As for the short wall, the way I read the post, the room comes to a corner from the door, and there is a receptacle on the right angle wall within 6 feet, which makes him ok on that. Maybe I read it wrong. IF the wall space is broken, and that 38" stands alone, then one should be installed.

Isn’t it amazing how one or two words can change the whole meaning of things? My brother, an ace auto mechanic, calls me about electrical stuff all the time. He has his cell in one hand, tools in the other while I try to take him through stuff. Sometimes it gets agonizing, because his terminology and descriptions aren’t “trade”, but somehow we have managed to succeed most of the time. Managed to trouble shoot his heat system about two months ago…my knowledge, his eyes and hands, step by step…once we knew we were on the same page with words.

Language made civilization possible
EFFECTIVE language makes it possible to work smoothly.

I still don’t see a problem, yes it would have to be pigtailed and I didn’t think about back stabbing because back stabbing 12awg is not allowed, but I should have included that in my answer. I also should have included that he should have the work performed by a licensed electrician.

After all that, “good stuff”, I completely agree, he should have the work performed by a licensed electrician. Homeowners can only get so far before they get out there to far. Then the branch breaks…