Need some quick help to avoid a problem


Old 06-18-05, 07:20 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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Need some quick help to avoid a problem

I'm remodeling my basement, and have nearly completed the wiring. I bought two different color wires yellow for 12 - 2 and white for 14-2 so that I wouldn't have to look at them while I was working. Turns out that someone misplaced a 14 -2 wire on the shelf with the 12 -2 wires. My plan was to wire the entire basement with 12 -2, but with the mix-up, I ended up running 14 - 2 connecting five recessed lights, then 14-2 from the lights to the switch - then sheetrocked over it.

The switch connects directly to the panel with 12 -2.

I haven't sheetrocked the walls, so I can replace the 12 -2 with 14-2 and run it to the box.

But please tell me that I don't need to take down the ceiling and remove the 14-2 and replace it with 12-2.
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Old 06-18-05, 07:49 AM
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As long as the breaker in the box is a 15 amp you should be fine. Also, if any outlets on the circuit must be 15 amp and not 20 amp ones (20 amp ones accept a 20 amp plug while 15 amp do not). You might want to put a note on the wall for that circuit indicating that part of the circuit is 15 amp wire and that breaker should not be increased to a 20 amp even though the wire entering the box is 12 gauge. My advice is not based on code; merely practicality. I'm sure if it offends the NEC someone will comment.
Old 06-18-05, 08:00 AM
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ok - thanks. i confirmed that it is 15 amps.
Old 06-18-05, 08:06 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
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You are OK, as noted; but I was wondering how you mixed this up since you knew the white jacket was 14 ?
Old 06-18-05, 08:51 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
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when i bought the romex, i grabed a few 250' length rolls from the shelf that were all yellow. turns out that someone had put a 14-2 on the shelf with the 12-2. since they were all yellow, i didn't notice the color change. and i wired the lights and switches on two different days, so i didn't notice the difference in the wires.
Old 06-18-05, 10:02 AM
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Label the card for that circuit and highlight 15A only.
Old 06-18-05, 02:40 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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You are allowed to mix 12g and 14g wire on a circuit, as long as it is protected by a 15 amp breaker. This means you will be legal if you use a 15 amp breaker.

However, many people frown on this, especially with the 12g wire at the panel. The problem is that someone may see 12g wire and think that they can switch the breaker to a 20 amp breaker. They might want to do this if they continually trip the breaker, such as might happen with receptacles on the circuit. The breaker is not likely to trip if all you have on the circuit are lights (especially only five of them), unless someone tries to use really really high wattage bulbs.

If this were my project, I would replace the piece of 12-2 with 14-2 to the panel. If you do keep it as it is, put a note in the panel that there is 14g wire on the circuit.

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