20 amp Circuit - 14 awg wiring

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Old 06-17-08, 06:06 PM
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Question 20 amp Circuit - 14 awg wiring

This seems like an easy answer but I would like opinions. I know that the standard requirement for a 20 amp circuit (110v) is 12 awg but... Thinking I was working with a 15 amp cirucuit I have already wired some tight bends through conduit with 14 gauge and hate to redo it. I am using the additonal feed for low voltage lighting (12V), tying into an electronic dimmer controlling 2-60 watt transformers with it. I haven't picked a dimmer yet but assume that will also be rated for 15 amps. Should I play it safe and rewire or am I good?
 
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Old 06-17-08, 06:15 PM
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Opinions won't matter, here. You should drop the amperage value of the breaker to 15 amps. Lighting will usually be fine on a 15 amp circuit.
 
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Old 06-17-08, 07:12 PM
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You have two choices. Replace the wires with #12 or the breaker with 15 amp.
 
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Old 06-17-08, 07:26 PM
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...I have already wired some tight bends through conduit with 14 gauge and hate to redo it.
What do you mean by "tight bends"? Are you running type NM-B cable through conduit?
 
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Old 06-17-08, 07:57 PM
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I am using THHN stranded through 1/2 conduit. The only way I could tap into the box was by using a 90 connector. I can't put in a smaller breaker as it feeds my dishwasher. An electrician told me that wire is rated low for conservatism and that even 16 awg wire would be fine with a 20 amp breaker. I haven't bought the transformers yet but I assume they are rated even lower than the 14 awg wire and will blow before my wiring but it sounds like I should force the 12 awg through.
 
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Old 06-17-08, 08:21 PM
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- Are you attempting to pull solid or stranded wire? Stranded is much easier to pull through bends.

- Are you lubricating the wire?

- Have you considered using a "pull" elbow?


- Are you overfilling the conduit?

- Do you have too many bends (more than 360 degrees between boxes or other access) in the run?

- If you decide to do unpermitted work containing code violations, are you ready to have your insurance company decline coverage when the house burns down?
 
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Old 06-17-08, 08:36 PM
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Yes, you could use coat hangers twisted together and it likely would work just fine, and yes, a lot of people in the past have done 'less than code approved' work and many of the solutions they installed are still in use today... BUT, that's not a reason to install something new that's not done the right way. There's a reason the code is what it is, usually based on analysis after fires and deaths.

You should really go with a 15A breaker, or upgrade the all the circuit wiring to 12ga. There's most certainly a way to do it, and the fine people here will absolutely help you figure out how to best do it.

Good luck!
 
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Old 06-18-08, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by mbuchek View Post
An electrician told me that wire is rated low for conservatism and that even 16 awg wire would be fine with a 20 amp breaker.
I'd find another electrician.

Since you can't change the breaker, your only option is to pull new wiring.

Also, are you sure that dishwashers don't have to be on a dedicated circuit -- meaning you can't run lights off the same circuit?
 
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Old 06-18-08, 07:03 AM
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Maybe I'm wrong, but I think from a lot other posts that the Chicago area is one those places that if you are getting permits, you MUST use a pro. But with pros telling people things like it's OK to use 16g on a 20 amp circuit, maybe DIY should be required. It's not rocket science, but you do need at least half a brain. But then again, maybe I'm using the term "pro" loosely.

I mean no offense to the true pros out there. I've sure gotten my share of great help and tips here! AND I've got my rough-in electric passed Doing It Myself (OK, DIM instead of DIY, but you all know what I mean).

To the OP...take the advice you are getting here and Do It Right!

Good luck,
Tom
 
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Old 06-18-08, 11:57 AM
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What is the total number of wires that will be in the conduit when you finish this job? What type of "90 degree connector" are you using?
 
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Old 06-18-08, 01:27 PM
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Please don't allow your acquaintance to masquerade as an electrician.
Anyone that would give you that kind of advice does not deserve the name.
 
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Old 06-23-08, 06:15 PM
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Look in your electrical code book at 240.4(d) Then see if you believe the person that wants to put a 16awg wire on a 20a breaker
 
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Old 06-24-08, 01:15 PM
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An electrician told me that wire is rated low for conservatism and that even 16 awg wire would be fine with a 20 amp breaker.
Man, I really hate all that "conservatism". For my house, I prefer to be right on the hairy edge of a fire at all times.
 
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Old 06-24-08, 01:32 PM
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even better

Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
Man, I really hate all that "conservatism". For my house, I prefer to be right on the hairy edge of a fire at all times.
16AWG in copper will take up to 115amps or so in free air before it melts. So, if you account for voltage drop and encase the entire length in tempered glass, you should be fine!

(normally, we call these things fuses.)
 
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Old 06-24-08, 02:26 PM
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16 awg wire would be fine with a 20 amp

Let him live in your house and deal with your insurance company when you have a fire.

Related: I heard that an electrician said that it's OK to cut off the ground pin so you can plug into a non-grounded outlet because that pin is only there for mechanical stability.

The NEC has a longer memory and is wiser than any one living person.
 
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