Building a house with help from two friends who disagree on how to wire things. One worked as an apprentice electrician in the 70s (and is dyslexic) and refuses to do any actual work (or go to the house) but is doing the circuit design, and the other has ‘read the code’ and knows how to wire things but I am not sure he knows what is acceptable to an inspector. It is my house and I am feeding wires, fetching tools, and trying to make sure things are done right.
First question - how would an inspector like the main panel wired?
Square D QO 100A panel, with 10 spaces for breakers on each side and I think it is 8 screws on each side at the bottom and 8 cutouts below those (places to punch holes). Each breaker will accept two wires. The box is installed with the numbers upside down because it is on an enclosed porch rather than a basement, and I labelled breakers ABC… on the left and JKL… on the right from top to bottom. The cables from the house are coming in through the bottom (through crawlspace then through a cellar under the porch). I forget where the main cable comes in - I think also the bottom. I could post a photo. We have one 2-pole breaker on each side and spaces for 8 1-pole breakers.
Friend No. 2 says you can put only one wire through each cutout and if you run out of cutouts on the bottom, you have to use the cutouts on the top. Friend No. 1 says to put two wires through each cutout (most of which are 1/2" but some can be 3/4").
Friend No. 2 has been putting the white (neutral) and bare (ground) wires from one breaker into one ground screw and says you cannot put more wires into one screw.
He was also bringing in the cable on either side of the box and then attaching the black wire to a breaker on either side randomly and the white and bare wires to a grounding screw on either side (which meant long black wires looping over the top or bottom of the area of breakers). I noticed this after he ran out of grounding screws on the right side which had very few breakers in use, and I made him redo everything so the black, white and bare wires ended up on the same side where the cable entered the box (from the bottom). There are now large loops of wires on either side but nothing crossing sides.
Friend No. 1 says you should ground the white wires on one side of the box and the bare wires on the other side. If this is the case, do the white wires go on the left or the right side? (Screws are below breakers since box is upside down). Friend No. 2 says all the panels he has seen have white and bare wires from one breaker combined in the same ground screw, and this is simpler to wire and to understand and if he has to redo it some of the wires may be too short to reach the other side.
Friend No. 2, because he thought there was only one cutout and one ground screw per breaker (though the breakers will take two black wires each), removed the No. 14 wire from the first breaker and attached it to a junction box (to which four other No. 14 wires will be attached for a lighting circuit) and put in a No. 12 jumper from the breaker to the junction box, which I made him replace with a No. 14 jumper so that the next person would have a better idea of what is going on (and which Friend No. 1 said is also code).
We will have five No. 14 cables (for a 15A lighting circuit) coming to the junction box (or we could have one go to the breaker if we can put two cables through one cutout and use one ground screw for both pairs of white and bare wires).
A circuit tester shows that all our outlets are properly wired and everything seems to work, but I would like the box to look more logical and be more predictable for anyone working on it in future, as well as passing inspection.
Where would an inspector like to see the cables, black, white and bare wires relative to the breakers? I may hire a licensed electrician to make it look better.
The cables going through the walls are also twisted - does an inspector care? We eventually rigged up a broom handle over two milk crates on which to unroll the coils of cable and untwist before I fed the cable through the holes.
Second question - have I properly interpreted code regarding outlets?
(1) Tamper-resistant TR 15 and 20A outlets within 5 1/2’ of floor (even GFIC ones)
(2) AFIC TR bedroom outlets (AFIC breaker)
(3) GFIC TR outlets (or first in series) or breakers for all bath and laundry outlets, and in kitchen above counters, but not for kitchen refrigerator (even if within 6’ of stove - we put it at 67" and made it TR anyway). Supposedly older refrigerators do not like GFIC. GFIC outlets in cellar, porches, outside (two outlets required). No outlets required in attic or crawlspace.
(4) Weather-resistant (WR TR) outlets outdoors and on porches, in WR boxes.
Porch outlet boxes must resist weather when nothing is plugged in. Outdoor outlets must resist weather even when something is plugged in.
We will be doing some surface wiring in 1/2" conduit with standard metal boxes (THHN wire from a junction box fed with romex), and also to surface boxes on the wall (wired with romex from inside the wall), with cement board walls (hard to cut rectangles, easy to cut holes). You can use 9 No. 12 THHN wires. Can two circuits share one ground in conduit?
We plan to have two separate lighting circuits (15A) with 11 light fixtures on each circuit, mostly with standard porcelain light sockets into which we can screw LED or other bulbs. Is an inspector likely to object? With 100W bulbs this is only 1100W.
Are 150W incandescent bulbs even made now? I bought a bunch of 12W LED bulbs for $13 each. LED fixtures are at least $55.
Many thanks from a non-electrician DIY-er.