#12awg on a 15 amp circuit

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Old 06-07-10, 05:55 PM
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#12awg on a 15 amp circuit

i'm adding some recessed lights in a hallway and my house is currently wired completely with #12awg (on 15 and 20 amp circuits). is it safe to use #14awg on the new recessed lights. (they'll be on a 15amp)
 
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Old 06-07-10, 06:02 PM
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No Pro...but all wiring on a circuit has to be able to support the max rating. So 12ga at the end of a 15A run wired with 14ga is OK (I think..but its bad practice), but you can't put 14ga at the end of a 12ga run....

Doesn't matter what the breaker says..it's the wire that matters.

Wait for the experts...but I think thats pretty accurate....
 
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Old 06-07-10, 06:30 PM
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To answer your question your can as long as that #14 wire is on a 15 amp circuit breaker. Also, please make a note of this on your wire at the circuit breaker just in case someone comes in your home thinking that he could put a 20 amp breaker on this circuit because it has #12awg wire on the breaker not knowing you have #14 in this circuit. BUT I beleive the correct way to do this is to finish them up with #12 wire. This will also give you more room to add to this circuit if you wanted to put a 20 amp breaker on the circuit. Good luck!

Jim

 

Last edited by stickshift; 06-08-10 at 11:14 AM. Reason: removed unnecessary quoting of entire post
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Old 06-07-10, 08:17 PM
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If your house is wired entirely with #12 wire, then there's a good chance you have a local code that requires it. I would stick with the #12.
 
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Old 06-08-10, 10:34 AM
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the town uses the 2002 National Electric Code

anybody know if this scenario complies?
 
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Old 06-08-10, 10:42 AM
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2002 code does not require #12 for an entire house. Your local codes might require it in addition of wiring methods such as metal conduit. A call to your local inspector would clear this up much faster then us guessing where you live and why you have circuits that are under fused. (15 amp on #12 wire)
 
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Old 06-08-10, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by creativomjh View Post
anybody know if this scenario complies?
Your installation exceeds 2002 NEC which would allow the smaller #14 wire on 15A circuits. The fact that someone used the more expensive #12 makes me think that it may be required by a local code above and beyond NEC. It could just be that your electrician had a bunch of #12 on his truck.
 
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Old 06-08-10, 11:07 AM
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they may have been the case in 1975 when the house was built. Brand new homes in the area use 15amp for lights with 14awg so I know it's not a code on top of the NEC. must have been a 1975 thing.


Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand View Post
2002 code does not require #12 for an entire house. Your local codes might require it in addition of wiring methods such as metal conduit. A call to your local inspector would clear this up much faster then us guessing where you live and why you have circuits that are under fused. (15 amp on #12 wire)
 
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Old 06-08-10, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by creativomjh View Post
they may have been the case in 1975 when the house was built. Brand new homes in the area use 15amp for lights with 14awg so I know it's not a code on top of the NEC. must have been a 1975 thing.
mixing 12awg and 14 awg is disgusting. Use 12 gauge
 
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Old 06-08-10, 06:21 PM
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they may have been the case in 1975 when the house was built. Brand new homes in the area use 15amp for lights with 14awg so I know it's not a code on top of the NEC. must have been a 1975 thing.
I don't suppose there is a possibility the 12 AWG conductors could be aluminum? If so, 12 AWG aluminum must be protected at 15 amps. I believe aluminum wiring was still being used some in the mid 70s.
 
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Old 06-08-10, 06:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Danny7633 View Post
mixing 12awg and 14 awg is disgusting. Use 12 gauge
Mixing #14 and #12 on the same circuit is disgusting. Using #14 on a 15 amp circuit is just fine.
 
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Old 06-09-10, 03:57 AM
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Mixing 12 and 14 for the sheer fact that you already have the wire, or dont want to spring the extra $10 or so for #12 is ridiculous.

OP, why wont you stick with #12
 
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Old 06-09-10, 06:20 AM
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Newer, larger house? In such cases 12AWG is sometimes installed on 15A circuits to reduce voltage drop (usually on outlet, not wiring, circuits though).
 
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Old 06-09-10, 10:35 AM
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it's not aluminum, it's copper.. thanks for the replies. i'll use #12.

my reasons were because i had the #14 and it's easier to work with most of the time.
 
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