please clarify something (amperage)


Old 09-06-06, 06:32 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Maine
Posts: 119
please clarify something (amperage)

I posted a few days ago about my basement wiring project. I'm going to be running a completely new circuit to a set of lights in the basement to be controlled by two three way switches. Only lights will be on this circuit. You guys answered my questions about how to run the wiring, but I have a question about the amperage.

I already have 12/2 and 12/3 wire, so I don't want to run out and get 14 gauge wire. I also have a handful of 15amp 3 way switches in my toolbox. So my question is this, should I go with a 20 amp circuit breaker which means I would have to go out and by 20amp three way switches, or can I throw a 15 amp circuit in there and use my existing 15 amp 3 way switches? Like I said, I will not be adding anything (other than a possible light) to this circuit, but I want to do whichever would be preferred by a building inspector should I decide to sell the house. One of the previous responders to my original post said the following:
"very few lighting ckts will take twenty amps (speaking residential here) "
that comment is what brings me back here for your advice. how do I do this with the wiring I have in hand? thanks
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Old 09-06-06, 07:16 PM
Sthrnamp's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Mid TN
Posts: 188
12g wire is good for up to and including 20 amp ckt. thus you could easily put a 15 amp breaker on 12g wire all you are doing in essence is over rating the wire size for the necessary amperage. Hence14g-up to 15 amps 12g-UP TO 20 amps.
I would say that you're good with what you have. put the 12g on a 15 amp breaker and good to go... all my best.
Old 09-06-06, 07:17 PM
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: welland ontario
Posts: 5,663
Since you have #12 wire you can use a 20 amp breaker. You are allowed to use 15 amp switches on the 20 amp circuit.
Old 09-06-06, 07:25 PM
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you can use a 15 amp breaker on 12 wire no problem. you can't go with a 20 amp breaker on 14 wire. so youer good to go.
Old 09-06-06, 07:51 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Use a 20 amp breaker and all 12 gage wire. Use 15 amp switches unless the load on any switch will be greater than 15 amps.

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