20 amp circuit/15 amp rated wire/20 amp switch?

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Old 02-16-14, 05:43 PM
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20 amp circuit/15 amp rated wire/20 amp switch?

I have a 20 amp breaker in my box, a 14 gage/15 amp cable for a set of outdoor halogen lights. Can I place a 20 amp heavy duty switch on it and be within code and not have a safety concern? The switch doesn't pull 20 amps so I am still safe right?
 
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Old 02-16-14, 05:49 PM
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Doesn't a 20 amp breaker take 12 gauge wire?
 
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Old 02-16-14, 05:52 PM
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Change your breaker to 15 amp. Switches don't pull amperage, so as long as you don't underrate it, then you'll be fine.
 
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Old 02-16-14, 07:00 PM
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The switch needs to be sized for the load it is switching.

The breaker needs to match the wire size so a fire hazard is not created.
 
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Old 02-16-14, 07:41 PM
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Thanks all for the input. What do you mean by underate? Is the 20 amp wall switch os okay?
 
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Old 02-16-14, 08:03 PM
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So long as the rating of the switch meets are exceeds the load you are okay.
 
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Old 02-16-14, 08:03 PM
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A 20 amp switch is fine. Under rate would be installing a switch too small for the switched load.
 
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Old 02-16-14, 08:06 PM
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chandler means that your 20A wall switch is ok on a 15A circuit because it is rated to handle 20A. Generally though as pcboss said your devices match the breaker, so you should pop in a 15A switch.
It would be underrated if you installed a 15A switch on a 20A circuit.
 
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Old 02-17-14, 07:09 AM
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It is possible to install a 15 amp switch on a 20 amp circuit. The switch is controlling a known load like a light fixture with a 100 watt bulb. You do not need a 20 amp switch for that load.
 
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