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#99463 - 12/04/05 02:09 PM Unfinished Basement Requirements  
Squintz  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Jul 2005
Posts: 9
Harford, Maryland
I am using a 2002 bode book but the city just adpoted 2005 and I heard that some codes may have changed for the basement

What are the minium requirements for an unfinished basment?

The laundry area is located in the first floor of the house. The only think in the basement is the furnace.

2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides

#99464 - 12/04/05 03:18 PM Re: Unfinished Basement Requirements  
Roger  Offline
Joined: May 2002
Posts: 1,716
Go to this link and read article 334 for changes concerning NM istallations in basements.


#99465 - 12/04/05 03:47 PM Re: Unfinished Basement Requirements  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
An unfinished basement requires at least one GFI protected receptacle. In almost every case, the basement is a "damp" location, so ordinary boxes can be used.
The furnace -even if it is gas heat, with only a small blower- needs to be on its' own circuit. It does not need to be GFI protected. Indeed, where a spark igniter is used, I would worry about nuisance tripping of the GFI here.
While there is no code requirement, I would suggest a separate circuit for any sump pump that might be present.
Assumint this is a basement- and not a crawl space- the lights can be part of any lighting circuit, and need not be GFI protected.

#99466 - 12/04/05 05:38 PM Re: Unfinished Basement Requirements  
markp  Offline
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 60
Kent, WA, USA
Where I grew up (Ohio) basements were considered a damp area. Now that I'm in Seattle, every one gives me a funny look when I suggest that a basement is a damp area. Maybe its because the whole area is damp so what is damp to you is normal for us. Perhaps its because many basements here are daylight basements (one wall at grade level). But most here seem to consider damp areas to be REALLY damp areas, like the area under a dock or maybe an unheated building.

[This message has been edited by markp (edited 12-04-2005).]

Kent, WA

#99467 - 12/05/05 09:00 PM Re: Unfinished Basement Requirements  
Speedy Petey  Offline
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 173
Upstate, NY
"In almost every case, the basement is a "damp" location, so ordinary boxes can be used."
I have never heard this. Obviously a local thing.

Speedy Petey

"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new." -Albert Einstein

#99468 - 12/07/05 08:33 PM Re: Unfinished Basement Requirements  
yaktx  Offline
Joined: Feb 2003
Posts: 288
Austin, Texas, USA
Well, one might argue that I am unqualified to comment, since basements are rare as hen's teeth around here, but I've lived in basement territory and I can read the NEC, so here goes:

1. You have to have at least one lampholder, switched from the top of the stairs. If you choose to have more than one light, the remainder can be pullchains if you so desire (I recommend having them all on one switch, but that's just me). Lighting does not have to be GFCI-protected, and indeed I don't recommend it.

2. My understanding is that the NEC considers finished-basement spaces to be dry locations, and unfinished spaces to be damp locations. You know and I know that that all depends on how well the basement is built, but finished spaces do not require GFCI-protected receptacles, and unfinished spaces do.

3. Other than the GFCI requirement, the damp location thing doesn't affect the selection of wiring methods or enclosure types. I have never heard of dry-location boxes being rejected in a basement, unless they were in a sump area. Unprotected NM below ceiling level, however, is usually rejected on the grounds that it is "subject to physical damage". If you sleeve the NM in EMT wherever it drops down a wall, this is usually satisfactory.

4. Nothing but the receptacles are required to be GFCI-protected. Reno's comment about an individual branch-circuit for a combustion appliance applies regardless of whether or not it is located in the basement, and GFCI protection is not required. If you have a washer, dryer, refrigerator or freezer down there, you may have a single (not duplex) receptacle for it, which does not have GFCI protection (not all jurisdictions enforce single receptacles). If you have more than one general-purpose receptacle in the basement, it must be GFCI-protected.

5. The GFCI requirement only applies to 125V, 15- and 20-A receptacles. If you have power tools down there that require 240V, GFCI protection is not required by the NEC, but I do recommend it anyway.

Hope this helps.

#99469 - 12/08/05 10:12 AM Re: Unfinished Basement Requirements  
Ryan_J  Offline
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,374
West Jordan, Utah, USA
I would consider almost any basement a dry location.

Ryan Jackson,
Salt Lake City

#99470 - 12/08/05 03:34 PM Re: Unfinished Basement Requirements  
renosteinke  Offline
Cat Servant
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,316
Blue Collar Country
The reason I referred to a basement as a 'damp' location is because the NEC includes, in its' definitions of damp locations, a reference to masonry (or concrete) in direct contact with the earth. In an unfinished basement, this would more than likely be whaer a receptacle would be mounted.

#99471 - 12/08/05 07:42 PM Re: Unfinished Basement Requirements  
Ryan_J  Offline
Joined: Aug 2003
Posts: 1,374
West Jordan, Utah, USA
John, that is under "locations, wet", but it is refering to the inside of the concrete.

Ryan Jackson,
Salt Lake City

#99472 - 12/08/05 10:38 PM Re: Unfinished Basement Requirements  
gfretwell  Offline

Joined: Jul 2004
Posts: 9,124
I haven't been in a basement state for years either but they always used the "running board" to isolate wiring/equipment from "damp" concrete in an unfinished basement.

Greg Fretwell

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