15 and 20 amp wiring on the same circuit

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  #1  
Old 12-16-06, 11:23 AM
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15 and 20 amp wiring on the same circuit

Can you connect a 15 amp (14-2 wire) lighting circuit branch to a 20 amp circuit that is otherwise served by 12-2 wire?
 
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Old 12-16-06, 11:52 AM
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If you have ANY #14 wire on a circuit, you must protect the entire circuit with a 15A breaker. So, to do this, you'll have to replace the 20A breaker with a 15A one. Since you are adding additional load to the existing circuit, I doubt you want to decrease its capacity by downgrading from 20A to 15A.

Are you trying to combine two existing circuits (if so, why?), or just trying to use some #14 material you have rather than buying 12-2?
 
  #3  
Old 12-16-06, 01:11 PM
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In the US, there are also certain circuits that cannot have both receptacles AND lighting, such as a kitchen countertop (small appliance) circuit.
 
  #4  
Old 12-16-06, 02:55 PM
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These are two existing first floor lighting branches that are tie into the basement lighting circuit (15 amp) which apears to be overloaded. There are several 20 amp circuits in the basement that I can reroute the two lighting circuits to and eliminate the overload. I suspected that as you mentioned I would have to downgrade the new combined circuit to 15 amp with a new 15 amp breaker.

Why does it seem to be common practice to use a 15 amp switch on 20 amp lighting circuit? Shouldn't that downgrade the circuit?
 
  #5  
Old 12-16-06, 03:20 PM
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A switch only needs to be rated for the load that the switch controls. As long at the lights controlled by the switch draw less than 15 amps, a 15 amp switch is fine.

Do the right thing. Run a NEW circuit from the panel for the lights you want to split off.
 
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