Electrical Wiring in the Home/light circuit design


QUESTION: Hello Bob-
I am finishing my basement and will have 3 storage areas that I would like to have the lighting controlled by separate switches.  I've decided that I'm going to keep the outlets on different feeds from the lighting and add more outlets to entertainment area.  Nothing to be overloaded, just to have outlets available.  Items to be power will be entertainment system, treadmill, air hockey table, so I think this would be safest.  With that in mind, do I need to have a separate circuit for each light situation or can I run each room in parallel off one feed.  I understand that I have to be careful with the number of lights as to not overload this circuit as well.  I'm probably going to used the new LED lights or florescent where appropriate.

Thank you for your consideration


It would take a lot of lights to overload a circuit.  Especially if you are using fluorescents.  A 15 amp circuit will handle 1800 watts. Normally you would leave 20% margin, so that is still 1440 watts.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: My main question was regarding how to wire the 3 lighting loops off the one main circuit?  The intent is to control (on/off) each loop independently.  Each loop could have one or two lights; this is where a diagram would really help.


If you are going from switch to switch, then the black wire going to the light connects to one screw of the switch.  The black wire coming in and the one going out connects to each other, plus a short piece goes to the other switch screw.  All of the white wires connect together.  All of the bare ground wires connect together plus to any green screws and metal boxes.

If you are going from light to light.  The white wire going to the switch is really a hot wire. Put black tape on it and connect to the black wire of the light fixture.  All of the remaining white wires connect together.  All of the remaining black wires connect together. The bare ground connects together plus to any green wires and green screws and metal boxes.
About Electrical Wiring in the Home
This site answers questions related to home electrical wiring, home wiring, general electrical help,and other electrical questions related to aleternating current (AC). You can find help on the National Electical Code, home electrical issues, wiring electrical outlets, installing lighting, electrical grounding, and general electrical help for do-it-yourself projects not require an electrician. If you do not see your home electrical wiring question answered in this area then please ask your electrical wiring question here

Electrical Wiring in the Home

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Bob Sponaugle


Just about any home wiring question. (not appliance repair) I have done all kinds of home wiring for myself, including adding a new breaker box, etc. Please, questions from North America only. Please be specific with details.

©2017 About.com. All rights reserved.