Mixing 14 and 12 awg wire

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  #1  
Old 11-12-05, 08:26 PM
noncom
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Mixing 14 and 12 awg wire

I am in the process of remodeling (expanding a bedroom.) Framing done, and approved by the local buidling department; The next phase is electrical. When I had last done some wiring in this neck of the house, I put in 12/2, why? I just thought it would be better, thicker and all that. Now, I need to continue that circuit I am adding 5 outlets, and two ceiling lights, and rather than spend the bucks on the 12/2, (which went up through the roof) I would rather use the 250 feet of 14/2 that I have on hand. My question is it ok to mix them (safe) and will it pass an electrical inspection?

One other question, for the ceiling lights, I was going to run a 2x4 between the ceiling joists (wide side down) and attach the box to the bottom of the 2x4 (for strength and just in case I ever wanted to hang a ceiling fan) Is this code (and safe) or does the box have to be attached to a metal cross bar?
 
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  #2  
Old 11-12-05, 09:03 PM
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code allows #12 and #14 on the same circuit, but you will have to use a 15A breaker if you do. However, I would recommend you NOT do this. Someone down the line may see the #12 wire at the panel box and assume it is OK to use a 20A breaker for the circuit, not realizing there is #14 wire on the circuit.

I too noticed that the 250' roll of #12 wire is WAY up in price. Still, there's less than $20 difference between it and a 250' roll of #14. Unless you need SEVERAL rolls to finish your project, I wouldn't skimp for $20 (and I'm cheap, lol).


As for the 2x4 question, what you propose should be OK, however, it would be stronger with the 2x4 on its side. Metal ceiling boxes should attach just fine that way. You may also want to look into the saddle boxes that allow a ceiling fan to be attached directly to a ceiling joist (or the afore mentioned 2x4) using lag bolts.
 
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Old 11-12-05, 09:04 PM
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If the circuit is 15A, it technically is okay, but generally is a bad idea, as it could confuse future sparkies.
 
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Old 11-13-05, 05:45 AM
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Adding 14 gage wire to a circuit already wired with 12 gage simply to save money is a bad reason to do so. Spend the money on 12 gage wire.
 
  #5  
Old 11-14-05, 08:47 AM
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I just bought a 250' roll of 12-2 at Lowe's for $49, which was exactly $10 more than I paid for the same roll a month ago. The 50' & 100' rolls were way more expensive per foot.
 
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Old 11-15-05, 05:04 AM
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Thanks for the info, I probably will go with the 12/2, despite how expensive the roll has gotten. I am going to go with the 2x4 flat side down, I will just double it up, it is going into a ceiling joist which is a 2x6 so there is plenty of room. This is the first electrical work that I am doing that will be inspected so I want to make sure it is done right.
For the framing inspection, I made sure that the site was clean and orderly, I think that made the inspector "think I knew what I was doing" ( I didn't sleep too well before it), that inpection turn more into a Q&A thing which really surprised me. How did you connect this? What type and size nail did you use here? Afterwards he just really took a glace at things, I thought he would really scour things over.
I have no idea what to expect with the electrical inspection, I found out that the town doesn't inspect, you have to call a company from a list the town gives you. By the way, do I just rough wire the outlets, switches and lights? or do I put outets and switches in the boxes and can I hang a pigtails from the ceiling light fixtures?
 
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Old 11-27-05, 08:38 AM
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By the way..went with the 12, and passed. The rough inspection, at least locally: wires to the boxes, stapled, wires cut to 6 inches to back of box, jackets off inside the box, ground screws in and all gounds connected, no devices connected.
 
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Old 11-27-05, 08:56 AM
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noncom - What are the ground screws that you refer to? Already screwed to the ground bar in the panel box you mean?
 
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Old 11-27-05, 11:30 AM
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EC,

I am guessing he used metal boxes for his installation which he grounded with a green pigtail & screw to the device box.
 
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Old 11-27-05, 07:27 PM
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Yep, I used metal boxes and the grounding screws attach the ground wire to the box and the incoming and/or outgoing wires and the device. I know that I could have used a plastic box, but the cost (Metal vs. Plastic) wasn't a whole lot different, and considering I grew up in NYC where even Romex or any NM cable is still verbotten, I cant bring myself to use anything else. Even the inspector mentioned that nobody uses metal usless they are forced to.
 
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Old 12-11-05, 10:52 PM
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I am now finally up to putting in the various devices to complete this project.. .

In reading Wiring Simplified, it says that in an outlet box, where you have 2 cables (one in and one out), inspectors rather see a pigtail of the those wires with connection to the outlet, rather than feeding both sets of wires to and through the oulet, Is this accurate?

I know that code requires there be 6 inches of wire from the back of the box, When making a pigtail, is there any rule reguarding the lenght of the wire running from the pigtail to the device?
 
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Old 12-12-05, 06:04 AM
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There is nothing wrong with running wires directly to a device rather than pigtailing. You of course have to pigtail if you have more than the number of wires the device can accommodate or in certain situations, but if you don't have to pigtail then don;t feel obligated to. As for whether inspectors would rather see pigtails, I can't answer that. I think they would rather a see a neat and well thought out job more than anything else.
 
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Old 12-12-05, 07:24 AM
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I have tried to do just that, I took my time at each step, running the wires, stapling, installing boxes, etc. I also took my time planning where to run the wires, where to place the various boxes, it is a "small" project (adding 200 s.f) so the architect (I was really disappointed in the plans I got and spent way to much time on the phone, seeking or verifying things which should have put down on paper) didnt really take too much care in the placement of the boxes.

Is there any rule pertaining to lenght of pig tails? (there are 2 boxes with 3 cables).

All this stuff "seems" so much easier when you dont have to pass an inspection! After "cutting my teeth" on this permit project, my next, which is on the other side of the house and more than double this one (planned for the spring) will be a piece of cake.
 
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Old 12-12-05, 07:29 AM
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You mentioned possibly installing ceiling fans later. Did you use fan-rated boxes for those locations?
 
  #15  
Old 12-12-05, 07:52 AM
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Your pigtails should be six inches.
 
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Old 12-19-05, 06:27 AM
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I passed the final inspection, thanks for the info. Racraft you were right, this time the inspector had a little more time and was a little more able to talk than with the rough inspection, he emphasised a reasonable neat and safely done job.

He told me that he can tell within the first 30 seconds of being on a jobsite whether it has probably been done right, and that there are very few jobs that is 100% code, he also said that he wouldn't fail someone for "shortwires" or an undersized box, unless it was a real safety hazard.

As for the ceiling box, I used a standard ceiling box (metal) but it is supported by double 2x4's laid out and attached as suggested by chirkware.
 
  #17  
Old 12-21-05, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Timinindy
I just bought a 250' roll of 12-2 at Lowe's for $49, which was exactly $10 more than I paid for the same roll a month ago. The 50' & 100' rolls were way more expensive per foot.

Hmmm. It's not any cheaper that that even if you buy more. I just bought a 1000ft spool of 12/2 about a month ago. Cost me 195.00 + tax
 
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