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Circuit and wire question

Circuit and wire question

#1
12-04-02, 12:37 PM
starburst
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Circuit and wire question

I have a room that I want to hook up to a new 20amp circuit. Currently the room is on a 15amp that is also carries the lights in the basement. The 20amp is a spare. The load is pretty light currently and there are 5 recepticals and 3 lights.

The recepticals and lights are on the 15amp. I want to add/replace the lights with better ones and also put more load on the recepticals. Since I have a spare 20 amp circuit, I would like to move the recepticals and the lights to the 20 amp.

I understand about the loads and such and I am not going over the safe loads but I want to be tied up to the 15amp in the future.

My question is the recepticals and lights are already wired with 14/2. Do I have to re-wire with a diff gage to transfer the recepticals and lights to use the 20amp?

Is it possible to have the correct gage come from the 20amp breaker to one receptical and then have 14/2 the rest of the circuit? The recepticals are 15a 125V rated. All lights new and existing will be standard ones about 75 watts each. There will be nothing fancy on the circuit like a dryer or anything.

Thanks.

#2
12-04-02, 12:46 PM
winkleal
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The minimum gauge for a circuit protected by a 20 Amp breaker is 12. This means that there cannot be ANY 14 gauge wire on the circuit between enclosures.

This means that the answer to you question :

"Is it possible to have the correct gage come from the 20amp breaker to one receptical and then have 14/2 the rest of the circuit?"

Is a resounding NO.

Tony

#3
12-04-02, 12:56 PM
starburst
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Crap. I thought that would be the answer. So I guess my solution is to either replace the wire or stick with 15amps and risk running out.

#4
12-04-02, 02:30 PM
starburst
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Forgot to ask. If I were to wire for the 20amp circuit, do I need to replace the 15a 125V recepticals? I thought I read in this forum that it is ok to use those with a 20 amp circuit.

Thanks.

#5
12-04-02, 03:01 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Brethren, Mi
Posts: 1,564
you dont need to replace any recepts. It isnt a matter of how many recepts that is on a circuit its how much is it using. Its hard to overload one with lighting. Just for the heck of it consider one amp for each light light and see how far you go. I might be tempted to leave that 15 a circuit alone and if I needed to add new loads, especially heavy ones put them on the new 20 A circuit. Leave the original one like it is, no point in rewiring that one,, just add a new one if you need it.

#6
12-04-02, 05:12 PM
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Location: welland ontario
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Leave it alone and continue to use as is unless you have some specific new loads you are adding that you expect to overload the circuit. If that is the case then create a new circuit for the new loads.

#7
12-04-02, 07:33 PM
P Michael
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You could replace the ugly black 20 amp breaker with a nice, shiny new 15 amp breaker and continue to use the 14 guage Romex. Then just add your additional receptacles.
Hint: Most receptacles aren't used that much - the ones behind the couch and the one powering the electric clock. Total up the amps and see what you get.

#8
12-04-02, 10:19 PM
kevin3277
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re: Circuit and wire questions

If you only have five receptacles and three lights on this 15 amp ckt you should follow Joed's recomendation, "leave it alone". As for Sherry277's advise, "It isn't a matter of how many receptacles that is on a circuit it's how much is it using". Be careful on this one! If you do the proper calculations Joed has the right idea. If you take into account 8 outlets on one ckt rated at 180 VA and allow for continious loads you come up with an acceptable load of 8 outlets on a 15 amp ckt. A good rule to follow for branch ckts in a house is to not put more than 8 outlets on a 15 amp ckt and no more than 10 an a 20 amp ckt. (general rules only please). In following these general guidelines you will not overload your wiring in your house. Take into consideration that you will not know how future homeowners will use these outlets you are installing. You also ned to be aware that if this ckt is used for a dwelling unit bedroom the circuit should be protected by an arc-fault circuit interrupter. Granted this a new code requirement and my own home does not have them installed, but i would advise you when remodeling to put them in if you are replacing all of the outlets and swithes in this room.

Good luck

#9
12-05-02, 06:16 AM
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Location: Brethren, Mi
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The reason I suggested to look at the actual load instead of counting recepts is that you could overload a 15 a circuit with only 2 on it or you could have no load with a hundred on it. The formula is fine for general design,, but now that its in service the actual load can be determined.

#10
12-05-02, 03:50 PM
starburst
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Thanks for all of the reply's. I really appreciate all of your help. I should have been more clear about the recept's before. I am not worried about the number but how much stuff I might be plugging in (a.k.a load)

Anyway, my main concern is that this is family room and I will be placing dimmer switches and recessed lighting on the current or new circuit as well as have a 53" tv with surround sound system, DVD, gaming system, fish tank, a computer may be placed down there also, etc, etc.

Since it is easy to get at the wiring, I am going to replace it with 12/2 and use the 20amp. It maybe over kill but I am only paying \$20 bucks for wire and I will have the piece of mind of not worry about it later down the road if I want to put a mini frig by the lazy boy. Just kidding. ;-)

The 15amp also runs the basement so if I plan on finishing that portion, I don't have to worry about the load.

Thanks again. This is a great forum.

#11
12-05-02, 04:13 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Brethren, Mi
Posts: 1,564
You will overload a 20 a circuit also,, why replace it is what we are wondering? Why not add a new circuit for the new loads? In fact 2 new circuits wouldnt be overkill if you are adding puter. I like that on its own.

#12
12-05-02, 05:28 PM
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I agree. Why get 5 extra amps when you can get 20 extra amps for the same work and cost?