14 gauge wire on a 20 amp circuit ?

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  #1  
Old 10-18-05, 10:39 AM
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14 gauge wire on a 20 amp circuit ?

I am installing a 20 amp circuit - I'll use 12 gauge wire from the panel to a junction box and for all duplex outlets. This circuit will also provide power for some (4) recessed ceiling lights in a hallway which will be controlled by (2) 3-way switches. This branch would also be connected to the J-Box

Would it be ok to use 14 gauge wire for the lighting branch and switch wiring? I can't see any case where the lights would exceed 15 amp load.

Thanks, Joe
 
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Old 10-18-05, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Joe.Carrick
I am installing a 20 amp circuit - I'll use 12 gauge wire from the panel to a junction box and for all duplex outlets.

Would it be ok to use 14 gauge wire for the lighting branch and switch wiring? I can't see any case where the lights would exceed 15 amp load.

Thanks, Joe
No, it's a code violation.
 
  #3  
Old 10-18-05, 12:02 PM
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Joe,

Thinman is quite correct. You cannot do this.

However I just want to say that you are on the right track, and that what you are suggesting is reasonably plausible.

Generally, conductors are required to be protected by 'overcurrent protection', 'upstream' of the conductors. The OCPD must have a trip point that is less than the rated ampacity of the conductors. However there are explicit exceptions for this, where the _downstream_ load is considered to safely limit the current. Conductors used in this fashion are known as 'taps', and there is a confusing web of rules regarding their use. Your suggested usage, while plausible, does not IMHO meet the requirements of the various tap rules.

-Jon
 
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