Residential circuit wiring


Old 08-13-07, 06:44 PM
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Residential circuit wiring

Having 2000 sf(by developer near Ft.Worth, Tx) residence built and the electrical contractor has run 14 ga. to all of the outlets. The exception being into expected demand areas (kitchen/utility, garage outlet and exterior outlet). I'm not happy with 14 ga. outlets in den and bedrooms, especially with the longest runs into the bedrooms. In one of the rooms will be a treadmill with at least 10 amp.draw.

In a reply to a posting I just saw(I'm new subscriber) there was mentioned 14 ga. cannot be used for outlets. Is this national code or choice of installer?

Help will be appreciated.
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Old 08-13-07, 07:46 PM
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Running 14gage wire for receptacles is very common and is perfectly legal.

The only exceptions are that there needs to be at least 2 20amp circuit dedicated to the kitchen countertops, and bathroom receptacles.

I would recommend installing a 20 amp circuit for the treadmill.

I'm not a pro, but that is my opinion.
Old 08-13-07, 07:56 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
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You learned a lesson. You should have specified 20 amp circuits. A good contractor would have quoted that and done so. You apparently either settled for a low bid or didn't read the fine print.

My advice is to fix it now, before you regret it.
Old 08-13-07, 10:48 PM
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: orange county
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I live in Orange County Ca. where there are a lot of "Condos". I quite often see !4G wire for general purpose receptacles. My career as a small fry electrician is however, very short. I would "at the very least make sure the wires to the receptacles are wrapped around the sceews and not "backstabbed" Backstabbing the wire into the back of the receptacles is a very poor practice and will almost for certain lead to problems in the future.
Old 08-14-07, 07:40 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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I wouldn't be too concerned about the 15 amp gp circuits. I have been running a treadmill on a 15 amp circuit nearly every day for the last 15 years. I also have a TV on in the room at the same time.
Old 08-14-07, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
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If you don't specify otherwise, you can be sure that any work you contract for will be done to the minimum standards required by code. Almost everybody does it that way, except in very high-end homes. There's just no incentive at all to do otherwise, and doing something above the minimum is money directly out of the contractor's pocket. Most of them don't freely throw away money.

You can request that the connections be wrapped around the screws rather than backstabbed, but chances are the contractor will refuse unless you agree to pay more. Doing things above code that haven't been requested by the customer (and won't be appreciated by most customers) is a good way to lose business as another contractor will surely underbid you.

If it's not too late, you may be able to now pay for the upgrades you desire. A treadmill is not a standard piece of equipment, and electricians do not automatically plan for it unless other arrangements are made. It can work fine (as cwbuff's experience shows) as long as you don't put much else on the circuit. Nevertheless, it's always wise to plan specifically for special needs if you are aware of them and willing to pay for them.

I agree with Bob. I would remedy this now if still practical. Expect to pay more, and do it gladly.
Old 08-14-07, 08:01 AM
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> mentioned 14 ga. cannot be used for outlets.

General purpose receptacles may be wired with #14 wire with the exception of kitchen countertops, bathrooms and laundry areas which must have #12. There are some areas of the country which have "outlawed" #14 in new construction, but the vast majority allow it based on NEC.

> Is this national code or choice of installer?

The installer will always choose the cheapest option (#14) unless you have specified otherwise in the work contract or building plans.
Old 08-16-07, 06:51 AM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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I'm not sure where your house is in the construction process, but it would probably be a lot easier and cheaper to have a dedicated 20 circuit installed at a later date. Before you opt for that though you should seriously consider what sort of loads you expect on the circuit containing your treadmiill.

Asking a GC to have his electrical sub redo all the GP circuits to 12 ga will not only cost a bunch (much more than it would have cost if written into the original contract - he might even bump the cost out of aggravation) it could impact on the completion date of your new house.

IIWM I would live with the 15 amp circuits like 200 million other people in the country. If your treadmill load proves to be too much, call an electrician to run a new 20 amp circuit.
Old 08-16-07, 07:57 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 433
They did nothing wrong.

What this really comes down to is your failure to either read the fine print and do your homework to understand whats being done or your simply failed to inform them ahed of time of your desire for a 20 amp circuit.
Old 08-17-07, 08:46 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ontario, Canada
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In most parts of Canada, 20A circuits are pretty rare, they are allowed as an option for kitchen counter circuits now, and installed elsewhere where there is a need. Unless you're planning on running a grow-ops, you'll have plenty of juice.
Old 08-17-07, 12:57 PM
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 85
14AWG is passe nowadays

And back in 1964 they scoffed and laughed at me for wiring a friend's house (outlets) with all 12 AWG. They still do when I install outlets in most rooms every 4ft. or so (some with dual duplex boxes in anticipation of future equipment coming on). These days there are so many gadgets and systems, even in my 12' X 13' "media room" my pre-planning fell short. What some consider "overkill" and overspending in wiring is actually worthwhile considering the reduced probability for future upgrading and its inherent enhanced efficiency.

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