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# 14/2 vs. 12/2

## 14/2 vs. 12/2

#1
03-07-02, 01:10 PM
jpbaker10
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14/2 vs. 12/2

i am running a new cuircuit for outlets in my basement. I plan on using a 15A and 14/2 romax for them and will have a total of 10 outlets. The lighting circuit is already existing with a 15A breaker and 14/2 there are currently only four lights hooked up but I plan on putting in 9 recessed receptacles and a track light with low voltage, as well as a light for say the pantry, one for the bathroom and one in the storage area. Do I need to upgrade the breaker to a 20A and run 12/2 or will the 15A and 14/2 suffice?

#2
03-07-02, 01:43 PM
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You're treading on the edge. 14/2 will probably suffice, but for the trivial difference in cost I'd go with 12/2. No sense risking overloaded on a brand new circuit.

Well, to be truthful, I'd add two or three new 20-amp circuits. But then I do tend to overdo things.

#3
03-07-02, 02:00 PM
jpbaker10
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I would also like to add more breakers but there is only room for one more in my panel...

#4
03-07-02, 02:20 PM
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If by "running a new circuit" you mean a new cable from the panel to the outlets I advise using 14/3 which gives two 15amp circuits and installing a sub-panel off the existing panel.You'll eventualy need additional circuits in the future.Good Luck

#5
03-07-02, 02:24 PM
jpbaker10
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Yes that is what I mean by a new circuit. So I would split the outlets into 2 different circuits by using red as one black as the other and white as the return I would assume? Or are you saying use one as the lighting and the other as the outlets? If the latter is your answer would I be OK with the load as far as the lighting scenario I mentioned above is concerned? (using 14/3 and a 15A)

#6
03-07-02, 02:39 PM
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You're probably OK on the lighting circuit, and since this circuit already exists there is probably a good deal of 14/2 wire in place, possibly behind drywall. You can run a fair amount of lighting (1400W+) before you start really stressing the circuit (where really stressing is defined as >80% capacity). Just don't allow anything but fixed lighting on this circuit.

Since you only have one empty breaker slot, I would use a 20A breaker and 12/2 for the wall outlets.

#7
03-07-02, 02:56 PM
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Be careful with the advice to use 14/3. There's a lot more to it, and there's no way you can hook 14/3 to one single-pole breaker. I recommend that you set this advice aside.

PATTBAA's subpanel is the best idea, and will relieve your space problem. You could also probably use tandem (aka skinny) breakers to allow more circuits.

But if you're only going to go with one circuit, then make the best of it by going 20 amps and 12/2.

Lighting load is easy to figure. Just add up the watts of the bulbs.

Receptacle load is harder to figure, since nobody knows exactly what you might plug in there.

#8
03-08-02, 10:44 AM
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If you "run"14/3 which gives two 15 amp. circuits follow this procedure;terminate the 14/3 in a receptacle outlet box----bring two 14/2's into the same box,each 14/2 being a seperate 15 amp circuit-----wire-nut the Red of the 14/3 to the Black of any 14/2 and "stow" this connection inside the box----wire-nut together the Black of the 14/3,the Black of the other 14/2,and an 8" Black lead.-----Wire-nut together the White of the 14/3, the two Whites of the 14/2's, and an 8" White lead-DONE!The Black and White leads connect to the receptacle.Divide the load as equally as possible between the two 14/2 circuits.The 14/3 hook-up is equivilent to one 30 amp, 120 volt circuit as compared to one 20 amp,120 volt circuit, a difference of 1200 watts.

#9
03-08-02, 11:46 AM
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PATTBAA, you didn't tell him how to connect this 14/3 at the panel. And remember he only has one free slot in his panel.

The 14/3 offers you nothing that two 14/2 cables would not.

#10
03-08-02, 02:10 PM
jpbaker10
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I think I am going to stick with the 14/2. Now for a simple basic wiring question. Off of the 15A breaker I want to have three separate swithces/dimmers (in different locations in the room) controlling different clusters of lights. Do I run a main line from the breaker box to one of the switches and then just feed the other switches from that main, or should I put some sort of connection box in the middle and run all switches to that or would that just be extra work? What's the norm...

#11
03-08-02, 02:14 PM
jpbaker10
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By the way i am only going to be using 9x60W bulbs so I think I will leave the 14/2 in place instead of rewiring completely for the lighting. I am going to use 12/2 with a 20A breaker as per John's suggestion for the outlets. Thanks!!

#12
03-08-02, 04:22 PM
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I think most people do not wire extra junction boxes if they can simply make their connections in the existing fixture boxes. So I'd just run the 14/2 to the first switch box, from there to the second switch box, and from there to the third. Out of each switch box will be another 14/2 cable carrying switched power to the lights. Buy the big boxes so you'll have plenty of room to work -- even though technically an 18 cu in plastic box will do, get the 22.5 cu in box anyway.

#13
03-11-02, 07:10 AM
jpbaker10
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Great thanks, now when running the wiring for the 10 outlets...should I run them all in series (one to the next) or should I split it into two different routes. Not sure that it matters but just curious.

#14
03-11-02, 09:57 AM
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You're right -- it doesn't really matter. Unless you have some reason to split it, daisy-chained (what you call "series" -- a term some would object to) is fine.

Daisy-chained has the very slight advantage of reducing the crowding in the box you might use to split the paths. Spliting it has the very slight advantage of shortening the wire length to the last outlet, thus very slightly reducing voltage drop. Neither of these considerations is worth losing sleep over.