12-2 vs 14-2

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Old 12-11-06, 05:42 PM
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12-2 vs 14-2

Hello,

I'm new to this forum, so this has probably been posted here already. I am starting to wire my basement and my father bought my electrical supplies for me. He ended up getting me 12-2 instead of 14-2 wire. I don't have the receipt for the purchase yet and was wondering if it is okay to use the 12-2 if i have the 20 amp outlets, other receptacles and a 20 amp breaker. Advice would be greatly appreciated!!!
 
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Old 12-11-06, 06:09 PM
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14-2 can only be used for 15A circuits.

12-2 can be used for 15A circuits or 20A circuits.

If you are in the US, you can use 12-2, a 20A breaker, and 15A receptacles (as long as you have more than 1 receptacle on the circuit).

-Jon
 
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Old 12-11-06, 06:11 PM
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Its fine for 15 or 20 Amps.

You can use the #12 American Wire Gage (AWG) Copper wire for any circuit carrying twenty amperes or less. Under some special circumstances it can even carry twenty five amps but that never applies to ordinary house branch circuits. The only drawback to using the #12 AWG wire is that it is somewhat harder to work with. You do not have to use 20 ampere receptacles on a twenty ampere circuit in the US unless it is the only receptacle one that circuit. Even a single duplex receptacle can be a fifteen ampere type. If this is not clear enough just ask some more questions.
 
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Old 12-12-06, 05:47 AM
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I wouldn't use 12 ga on a 15 amp circuit - it is allowed, but it can lead to some confusion down the road, since 12 ga normally implies 20 amp circuit.
 
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Old 12-12-06, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by mitch17 View Post
I wouldn't use 12 ga on a 15 amp circuit - it is allowed, but it can lead to some confusion down the road, since 12 ga normally implies 20 amp circuit.
Thanks all for the advice! So, if I have a 20A breaker, 12 ga wire, and everything else is 20A or less, I should be fine? One more question then, "What is a good limit of recepticles/switches/lights for a given 20A circuit? Please advise.
 
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Old 12-12-06, 08:46 AM
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About 1800 watts (a real electrician will be more precise) of load regardless of how many outlets/lights.
 
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Old 12-12-06, 09:52 AM
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> if I have a 20A breaker, 12 ga wire, and everything else is 20A or less

That's okay.

> What is a good limit of recepticles/switches/lights for a given 20A circuit?

Lights should be counted based on the total wattage of the fixtures. A 20A circuit can supply 2400W; however if the lighting is "continuous use" (expected to be on more than 3 hours at a time), you cannot exceed 80% of the circuit rating or 1920W. Add up the max bulb sizes for each light fixture you're installing and there's the total lighting load. I don't like to mix lights and receptacles on the same circuit; but you are allowed to do so.

Receptacles depend on their intended use and location in the house. Bathrooms and kitchens, for example, are special cases. Please post back if you are working on either of these areas as numerous special rules apply. If the receptacles serve specific appliances, like a fridge, freezer, huge home theater or sump pump, there are also considerations. For general purpose receptacles throughout the house, about 10-12 per 20A circuit is common practice. If the receptacles serve bedrooms, the number may be adjusted to account for AFCI requirements.
 
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Old 12-12-06, 09:53 AM
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So, I should be fine if I have a 20A breaker, 12 ga wire, and everything else is 20A or less then?
 
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Old 12-12-06, 10:41 AM
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Sorry ibpooks, I must have just missed your post. That is what I needed to know. No bathroom/kitchen wiring for now anyway. When that time comes, I'll post back. Thank you for the information! Thanks all for the help!!!
 

Last edited by EVSpanther; 12-12-06 at 11:04 AM.
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