Switch leg

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  #1  
Old 09-28-07, 06:14 PM
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Switch leg

Hey guys, I'm new to the forum and I have a question. I'm rewiring and old house (1920) that has already been rewired back in the 60's. The wiring is 14/2 romex without a ground and is off of a federal panel (I already know that federal panels are bad) with a mixture of 20 & 15 amp breakers. I'm going to be adding some new 20 amp breakers along with all new 12/2 wiring. My question is, the wiring for the 3 way switch for the stairs is pretty inacessable and is the original wiring for the house, would It be permissable to use a 20 amp breaker or should i use a 15 amp breaker. From what i have been reading a 14 gauge switch leg on a 20 amp breaker is permissable. If anyone can give me the code section that permits this I would really appreciate it. I've been going through the code book but I can't find it anywhere. Thanks for the help in advance.
 
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  #2  
Old 09-28-07, 06:33 PM
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Without there being a ground wire (as I'm assuming) I'd keep the breaker at 15 amp max. Especially if it's inaccessable (without ripping out walls and ceilings) and being as old as you're describing.

Do check the wiring for any discoloration of the insulation and the wire itself that might indicate over-heating or age.
 
  #3  
Old 09-28-07, 06:39 PM
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The wiring for the 3 way switch has the old cloth covered wire. I'm assuming it's knob and tube. Just out of curiosity what gauge was knob and tube generally ran in?
 
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Old 09-28-07, 06:51 PM
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You cannot have 14 gage wire on a 20 amp circuit.

You cannot leave the old wiring intact, based on the scope of this project. Replace ALL the wiring with new, unless you run into good condition NM type cable with a ground.
 
  #5  
Old 09-28-07, 06:57 PM
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Thanks guys. Can anyone give me the code section where it is permissable to have 14 gauge switch legs with a 20 amp breaker?
 
  #6  
Old 09-28-07, 06:59 PM
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No, we cannot, because it is NOT permissible.
 
  #7  
Old 09-28-07, 07:06 PM
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Oh, well I guess thats why I couldn't find it then. There is some 14/2 with ground that they used for the switch legs. But it is nearly impossible to find stablok breakers without paying big bucks for them. I guess i'll just change all of the wiring including the switch legs to 12/2.
 
  #8  
Old 09-28-07, 07:14 PM
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2005 NEC Article 240.4(D) should answer your question.
 
  #9  
Old 10-01-07, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by kingjd7 View Post
But it is nearly impossible to find stablok breakers without paying big bucks for them.
That's because U.S. Federal Pacific Stablok breakers and panels are a known fire hazard that should be replaced ASAP. There's no chance I would take on the liability of selling one, and I bet most suppliers feel the same.
 
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