14g on 20a lighting old home

Reply

  #1  
Old 12-04-13, 05:49 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 365
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
14g on 20a lighting old home

Husband was looking at our Kitchen circuit. The lighting and the outlets are both on it. Connected to the 20A breaker is 12g wire. All of the outlets are fed with 12g wire. However, he noticed that the switch legs to the lights and switches is 14g.

We know the code requirement but are wondering if this situation was ever allowed. This house was built in the mid 50's.

Is this a big safety concern? Is it common to see 14g on a 20a on lighting in an old home?
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 12-04-13, 06:29 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,301
Received 43 Votes on 35 Posts
Connected to the 20A breaker is 12g wire. All of the outlets are fed with 12g wire. However, he noticed that the switch legs to the lights and switches is 14g.
That was quite common and a compliant method in the '60s and '70s, probably in the '50s too. The code is changed and updated every 3 years. I wouldn't do it like that today just like today the lights and countertop receptacles in a kitchen cannot be on the same circuit. I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it. That being said, if you do any remodeling in the kitchen, I'd make the necessary changes.
 
  #3  
Old 12-04-13, 06:53 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,999
Received 40 Votes on 35 Posts
I don't know if this was ever allowed. I don't remember this practice being used when I started in the early 80's. This would not be allowed now.

If only the lights are fed with #14 it is probably less of an issue since the load from the fixtures is a known quantity. If the #14 was in the middle of the circuit I would be more concerned.

I too would suggest changing this if a remodel of the area is done. Many light fixtures call for 90 degree rated insulation anyway.
 
  #4  
Old 12-04-13, 07:18 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,301
Received 43 Votes on 35 Posts
If only the lights are fed with #14 it is probably less of an issue since the load from the fixtures is a known quantity.
From what I recall, that was only allowed on switchlegs and switchloops on 20 amp circuits, nowhere else. I think that's also what the OP says her husband has found.
 
  #5  
Old 12-05-13, 05:53 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 365
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
CASUAL JOE
From what I recall, that was only allowed on switchlegs and switchloops on 20 amp circuits, nowhere else. I think that's also what the OP says her husband has found.
Yes thats what we believe. #12 is connected to the 20A kitchen breaker in the panel. It serves 4 outlets in the kitchen, all have #12 connected to the outlets. However, in the switch boxes and at the ceiling boxes with the lights there appears to be #14.

FWIW: The constant load is a 6.5A fridge. There is also a microwave and coffee pot that are used periodically. There is a ceiling fan and about 100W of lights total on that circuit.

So do you think its common to find #14 on a 20A as described?
If no kitchen remodelling/rewiring is planned, do you think this is something safe to leave as is indefinetly?
 
  #6  
Old 12-05-13, 07:07 AM
ray2047's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 33,597
Received 13 Votes on 11 Posts
If you can find where the first #14 for lighting connection originates you may be able to run a new 15 amp circuit to that point and disconnect the current feed. That could mean minimal or no opening of the wall to fish new cable. You have less load on the SABC receptacles and code compliant wire for the lights.
 
  #7  
Old 12-05-13, 07:56 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,301
Received 43 Votes on 35 Posts
So do you think its common to find #14 on a 20A as described?
If no kitchen remodelling/rewiring is planned, do you think this is something safe to leave as is indefinetly?
Yes, I think it's quite common for homes wired in the '60s and '70s. Microwave ovens didn't start becoming popular till the late '70s and they use a lot of power. Having two small appliance branch circuits for countertop receptacles wasn't in the code back in those days either. You might have some problems tripping the circuit breaker when the microwave and coffee maker are used at the same time. Unless you are having problems tripping the breaker, I believe I'd just leave it alone. If you are having problems tripping the breaker, you might try Ray's suggestion of adding a new 15 amp circuit for the lights.
 
  #8  
Old 12-05-13, 08:40 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 365
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
CASUAL JOE

Unless you are having problems tripping the breaker, I believe I'd just leave it alone.
Tripping of the 20A breaker has not occured with the loads I described. Micro and coffee has never ran at same time. Fridge and lighting is only things used cotinuous.

----------

If the 20A breaker is connected to #12 and the outlets are connected to #12 is it safe to assume the #14 at the lighting would not be in the middle of that? Meaning, the loads on the outlets are not passing thru #14 lighting and then back to the panel on the #12.... does my description makes any sense???
 
  #9  
Old 12-05-13, 08:50 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,301
Received 43 Votes on 35 Posts
If the 20A breaker is connected to #12 and the outlets are connected to #12 is it safe to assume the #14 at the lighting would not be in the middle of that? Meaning, the loads on the outlets are not passing thru #14 lighting and then back to the panel on the #12.... does my description makes any sense???
If the wiring is as you described earlier, just the switchlegs are #14. That would mean the switches are fed with #12, but only the wire from the switch to the lights is #14. In this scenario, the #14 wire would not be between any receptacles.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: