20 Amp Breaker Upgrade

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  #1  
Old 08-01-06, 04:03 PM
Ponypower
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20 Amp Breaker Upgrade

My house is wired with all 12/2 wiring. The kitchen wiring is on 20 amp breakers and the lighting is on 15 amp breakers.
I want to install a eye level microwave over the stove but the existing wire at that spot is on a lighting circuit with a 15 amp breaker. The installation manual states that the draw is 14 amps and should have a dedicated 20 amp plug but that is next to impossible to do. It also says that if no 20 amp is available 15 amp is OK as it draws 1600 watts.
It seems like I would be very close to max if I leave the 15 amp breaker in place and have a few lights on at the same time.
Is it OK to swap up the breaker or am I asking for trouble?
Thanks in advance, PP
 
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Old 08-01-06, 04:47 PM
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If you are absolutely sure there is NO #14 wire on that circuit, and you know the circuit is not extremely long (such as over 100'), and you truly cannot run a dedicated circuit to the micro, yes, you can replace the breaker with a 20. There is no reason not to.

True, the micro should be on a dedicated circuit, but with no other recourse there is really no danger in doing this.


This is one of my pet peeves actually. People who think there is some safety margin, or they are "saving" 5 amps, or whatever, by putting an ALL #12 circuit on a 15 amp breaker.
The absolute only need to do this is for voltage drop reasons. Other than that you are throwing a potential 5 amps out the window and you wasted money on wire that is too big.
 
  #3  
Old 08-01-06, 04:48 PM
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Breaker

More than likely, your lighting circuit is 14 gauge copper wire or 12 gauge aluminum, which must be protected with a 15 amp breaker. You should not replace a 15 amp breaker with a 20 amp breaker, unless you are absolutely certain that entire circuit is wired with 12 gauge copper.
 
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Old 08-01-06, 04:51 PM
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Oops

Sorry, Petey,
You replied while I was still typing. You are absolutely correct. I did not mean to duplicate your reply.
 
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Old 08-01-06, 05:49 PM
Ponypower
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My panel is in the garage and there is no drywall on the ceiling as it is a 2" decking floor/ceiling above. I climbed up there and checked out every wire before it goes into the panel, it is all copper clad AWG 12 AL {CU-CLAD}/2 with ground Type NM 600V {UL}. there is some heavy cable but it doesn't go to any of the receptacles.
So I guess I'm good to go?
PP
 
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Old 08-01-06, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Ponypower
My panel is in the garage and there is no drywall on the ceiling as it is a 2" decking floor/ceiling above. I climbed up there and checked out every wire before it goes into the panel, it is all copper clad AWG 12 AL {CU-CLAD}/2 with ground Type NM 600V {UL}. there is some heavy cable but it doesn't go to any of the receptacles.
So I guess I'm good to go?
PP
whoa there pony.

you just stated you have aluminum wire albiet copper clad.

sorrry about the melt down. #12 aluminum is still rated for 20 amps. I had to go look it up real quick.

whoops, back to the meltdown. Aluminum 12 is to be terminated to a breaker no larger than 15 amp.
 
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Old 08-01-06, 05:59 PM
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Keep that WHOA!!
#12AL is NOT rated for 20 amps. 240.4(D) tells us so.

This is a BIG change in this story. DO NOT replace any breakers for any AL wire.

*edit- Nap, you snuck that edit in while I was posting.*
 
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Old 08-01-06, 06:11 PM
Ponypower
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So what your saying is, even though all of the wire is #12 the circuits that are on 20 amp breakers must be all copper wire?
I'm going to have to climb up there again and read the covers again.
PP
By the way, I appreciate all of the quick feed back.
 
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Old 08-01-06, 06:16 PM
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[QUOTE]
Originally Posted by Ponypower
So what your saying is, even though all of the wire is #12 the circuits that are on 20 amp breakers must be all copper wire?
absolutely. as posted, #12 aluminum is to be on no larger breaker than a 15 amp.
 
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Old 08-01-06, 06:32 PM
Ponypower
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Nap, I just checked it out again more closely. Your right of course, the other #12 wire is Romo Rolex [must be copper] on the #20 amp breaker. That's on a receptacle just a few feet away.
I should be able to come off of that box and make my plug in the cabinet for the micro. What's a few more holes in the drywall?
Thanks for keeping me from making a bad move.
PP
 
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Old 08-01-06, 07:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Ponypower
What's a few more holes in the drywall?
Thanks for keeping me from making a bad move.
PP
Enough work to keep a mudder busy for 1/2 a day???


We just try to help but you are welcome to send money if you feel truly indebted





just kidding of course. You're welcome
 
  #12  
Old 08-01-06, 07:37 PM
Ponypower
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Nap, how bout if you ever need any advice on drywall installation or how to make quick easy patches on it let me know.
 
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