Mixing 12 & 14 gauge in a branch cicuit


Old 04-03-05, 06:34 PM
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Mixing 12 & 14 gauge in a branch cicuit

I think I know the answer but just want to verify. If I use a 20 amp breaker feeding a 12 gauge home run line going to a switch box, and I have various lighting loads going off in different directions, can one of those be a 14 gauge piece if it is just going to a single swicth the feeds a single light fixture like an outside light? Do I need to keep every inch in the entire circuit 12 guage? Is this called a "tap" or is that something else? I guess it is easier to just run 12 gauge everywhere (it is only $36 more for a 1000 feet at HD). Less voltage drop, but more box fill and harder to work with.
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Old 04-03-05, 07:25 PM
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If this is new construction/renovation, there is no reason whatsoever to mix wire sizes. Tap rules DO NOT apply here.
If you do mix 12 with 14 then you must protect the whole circuit with a 15 amp breaker. A waste of 5 potential amps IMO.

Many guys like to use all #12. Say it's easier to stock just one size. Crazy if you ask me. I do all my residential lighting in #14, for the reasons you stated; box fill, ease of switch wiring, ease of fixture wiring. If you do enough of this stuff you'd know what I am talking about. Try wiring a 3 gang box with a 4-way and two dimmers with all #12 wire.

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