14 / 2 for house wiring and capacity


Old 11-11-01, 01:38 PM
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Am I able to use 14/2 for some additional wiring I am adding in a room I am converting into an office downstairs in my house? The fellow at Home Depot told me to use it however now I am reading a couple of forums and I keep hearing 12/2 - please advise as I am well on my way already.... use will be for some potlights (4) and some double wall receptacles (4).

Also typically what is a good guide for the number of double wall outlets / lights that can be used on one 15A circuit ?
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Old 11-11-01, 02:09 PM
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You can use 14-gauge wire if the circuit is protected by a 15-amp breaker. You can use 12-gauge wire if the circuit is protected by either a 15-amp or a 20-amp breaker. Many people here suggest not using any 14-gauge wire, but you certainly don't have to follow that advice. Most electricians still use 14-gauge wire on 15-amp circuits, simply because it saves them a few bucks and it's not their home.

Code does not restrict the number of receptacles and lights on a circuit, except that you must provide at least one 15-amp circuit for lighting and receptacles for every 600 square feet of floor space.

The normal rule of thumb is 8 receptacles on a 15-amp circuit, and 10 receptacles on a 20-amp circuit. Adjust this up or down to match your situation, depending on what you think you might plug in.

You can normally put about 1440 watts of lighting on a 15-amp circuit, or 1920 watts of lighting on a 20-amp circuit. You can mix receptacles and lighting on the same circuit if you want (although I don't like to). Adjust accordingly.

I am concerned about this project. You are asking some pretty basic questions. If you are wiring a whole room, you should have read a book or two on home wiring before you start. The answers to these questions are only a very small fraction of what you need to know to do a safe job. Don't get all your advice in the aisle at Home Depot. Read a book or two. Be safe.
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