Halogen recessed lighting wire gauge


Old 05-01-04, 06:13 PM
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Question Halogen recessed lighting wire gauge

I am installing halogen lighting in a ceiling that previously had incandecent fixtures. The existing wiring is 14 gauge. is it safe to use this or do I have to replace this wiring with 12 gauge? I am planning on using 6 or 7 cans on each circuit.
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Old 05-02-04, 08:25 AM
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halogen lamps

14 gauge wire is fine to use, As long as you don't exceed the ampacity of the wire. Make sure to add up your wattages on each circuit and don't install wattages exceeding the manufactures recommendations.
Old 05-03-04, 03:40 PM
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I ran into the same question when installing a couple of Halo-brand recessed light fixtures - these were the small size for light bulbs of maximum 75 watts.

The Halo instructions stated that the circuit should be 12-gauge wire. Also, while written in poor English that was hard to understand, the instructions seemed to say that no more than 4 fixtures should be installed on a circuit.
Finally, the instructions said that cable in flexible metal conduit must be used.

Lagunavolts has already responded on the question of 12 gauge vs. 14 gauge
wire. I would also be interested in opinions on whether flexible metal conduit must be used in wiring a string of recessed fixtures. I thought non-metallic cable would be OK since all wiring is in the attic?

Finally, depending on the responses, I'm curious why a manufacturer (Halo in this case) provides instructions that seem to be overkill?
Old 05-03-04, 03:49 PM
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Kray, you are misinterpreting what you are reading. But you are in good company, because many people make exactly these same misinterpretations.

What you interpreted as a requirement for #12 wire and a limit of four cans is actually a limitation of wires in the junction box. All Halo is telling you is that the box is only big enough to hold eight #12 wires. This instruction is not telling you to use #12, nor is it restricting the number of cans on the circuit. Finally, they aren't telling you to use flexible metal conduit up to the box. They are telling you that flexible metal conduit is required between the box and the fixture--but Halo has already provided that.

Bottom line is that you can use 14-gauge NM-B cable, and you can put as many cans on the circuit as you want (subject to the wattage limitation of the circuit).
Old 05-03-04, 05:28 PM
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Thanks, John. Your explanation of Halo's unclear (to me) instructions is appreciated. Since the advice received here is so helpful, I cannot resist another question while on the subject of Halo's fixtures:

Over the past few years, I have installed their recessed fixtures in three different rooms in my house (using NM-B cable which I'm glad is confirmed to be OK!). I have used the Halo fixtures designed for remodeling projects - you can add fixtures to a circuit without going to the attic (as long as you can get the cable from hole to hole from below - not too hard if the distances are short). My concern is that I had occasion to go to the attic for something else, and my Halo projects look a little sloppy from up there. A little bit of excess cable in some cases, a few short diagonal runs, and cable running from fixture to fixture (maybe 5 feet) without being clamped to anything in between. Just wondering - how much "imprecision" is acceptable? (Some areas of the attic are inaccessible so some of what I am describing would be hard to cure.) I've used appropriate cable and connectors, have not overloaded any circuit, and took care to keep insulation away from the fixtures. So I feel these installations are "safe," but just don't look neat in the attic.
Old 05-03-04, 09:23 PM
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There are a number of codes that specifically address wiring in an attic. You should install guard strips (a 2 by 4 will do) to protect any cable that crosses the joists and might get stepped on (staple the cable to the side of the 2x4), and you should staple the cable to framing members when running parallel to them. These simple steps will neaten up your job and bring it into compliance.

You can leave the inaccessible parts of the attic alone. Besides, if they are really inaccessible, you have no choice anyway.

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