Changing 50 Amp to 20 Amp Circuit

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  #1  
Old 02-17-06, 04:09 PM
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Changing 50 Amp to 20 Amp Circuit

I disconnected my electric range and am installing a new gas range and over-counter microwave. The old connection had a 50 amp 220 volt receptacle. I want to wire the new microwave and the new gas range possibly using the old 220v 50 amp cable. Can I change the circuit breaker to two 110 v breakers and use the existing cable (I believe it is no. 10 wire) taking one hot wire for the micro and one hotwire for the range (gas) and using the common for both. I believe the new 110 breakers need a single throw switch since the common is common to both. My contractor was reluctanct to use the large (#10) cable for the two new connections which normally require a #12 with 20 amp breakers?
 
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  #2  
Old 02-17-06, 04:35 PM
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If it presently is a 50 amp breaker it had better be larger than 10 gage wire.

Is this a four wire cable? Does it have two hots, a neutral and a ground? If not, what wires does it have?
 
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Old 02-19-06, 09:15 PM
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Using Large Guage wire for smaller appliance

THanks for replying. I wasn't sure what size wire is in there currently. I assumed #10 but it might be #8 or larger. But my concern is using a large diameter wire for the Micro and the Range since they normally require only #12. I realize that you can't go to a smaller diameter wire as that would generate heat or trip the breaker. So, is it alright to use a #10 or larger for smaller requirements. Yes, there are 4 wires, two black, one white common and one green ground.
 
  #4  
Old 02-19-06, 11:52 PM
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You can splice the larger conductors to #12 jumpers before landing them on the receptacle or the breakers. Not the cleanest, tidiest installation, but safe and effective if it is not convenient to change out the entire cable. I've done this exact change before in a couple remodels.
 
  #5  
Old 02-20-06, 04:31 AM
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Yes, you can use larger wire than is called for. This is sometimes done for long runs to reduce voltage drop, and is not a code violation.

Most of us here don't recommend larger wire in general because it may confuse someone later on into thinking they can increase the breaker size, when they really can't.

In your case you can make a multi wire circuit from the wires you have. Instead of two 120 volt breakers, I recommend that you use a 240 volt breaker (20 amp). Using a 240 volt breaker will guarantee that you get the two hot wires properly connected. With separate 120 volt breakers you might incorrectly get the same half of your incoming service, which would not be a good thing.

You will need to use pigtails at the end of the existing cable. Most duplex receptacles cannot accept # 6 wire.
 
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