12/2 and 14/3 combo in 3-way switch

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  #1  
Old 07-29-04, 07:47 AM
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12/2 and 14/3 combo in 3-way switch

I have a 3-way switch situation that has 12/2 wire running in for power to switch, 14/3 traveler from switch to switch, and 12/2 from switch to light. Is it acceptable to combine 12/2 wire and 14/3 when wiring on a 15 amp circuit?

Should I change the 14/3 to 12/3 wire to keep all at 12 guage wire? Am worried about code violation.

Thanks -
 
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Old 07-29-04, 07:52 AM
Tesla
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Leave it alone. Your smallest wire size is #14. A 15A breaker is the proper size to protect #14. This will properly protect the #12 (or any other larger sized wire) as well.
 
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Old 07-29-04, 07:57 AM
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If the breaker is a 15 amp breaker then this is fine. However, if the breaker is 20 amp then you have a probmlem that should be addressed.

If you are adding new wiring or replacing wiring then I suggest that you use all the same gauge wire on a circuit. This avoids confusion later on.

In your case, someone may be confused by seeing 12 gauge wire at the panel and a 15 amp breker. They may not know that there is 14 gauge wire somewhere in the circuit (or check each and every junction box) and think they can simply change the breaker to a 20 amp breaker.

At the very least, in your case, if the wiring at the panel is 12 gauge, I recommend making a note at the panel that there is 14 gauge wire on this circuit.
 
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Old 07-29-04, 09:17 AM
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You can leave it alone, but make sure you write that fact down somewhere (on the panel for example). The next person who comes along and sees 12 guage wire on a 15 amp circuit may decide to run more receptacles off of that first light in the circuit in parallel, and swap in a 20 amp breaker not knowing the traveler in the circuit is actually on 14 guage wire. It would take a hell of a lot of light receptacles to require this, but who knows...people do the wierdest thing with their wiring sometimes. That's why there's an NEC code.

Someone ran an independent 14 guage wire as the traveler huh? Is it shielded, or just a single 14 guage insulated wire? I'm assuming the original circuit wasn't on 3-way switches, so to make it 3-way they swapped in some 3-way switches and ran whatever wire they had for the traveler: 14 guage. Hopefully they left the shielding in tact and just trimed the neutral and ground instead of pulling the shieling off...

If you have access to all of the wire replace it. If you don't note it and move on.
 
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Old 08-09-04, 09:59 AM
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Thanks for the advice. I ended up rewiring the entire circuit - moved lights & added some switches during a remodeling - used all 14 guage 2 & 3 wire with 15amp switches - also got to replace some old cloth type wires. Works great and 14 guage is alot easier to work with.
 
 

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