Can you put normal ceiling/hallway lights on a 20amp, 12 gauge circuit?


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Old 02-02-09, 12:45 PM
C
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Can you put normal ceiling/hallway lights on a 20amp, 12 gauge circuit?

I rewired all the outlets on the first 2 floors of my house with 12 gauge wire on a 20amp circuit around 6 months ago. Recently I decided I really wanted a ceiling light in one room and an additional hallway light in the hallway (both on the second floor). I utilized the before menioned circuit to provide the power for these lights. Is it OK to put lights on a 20 amp circuit using 12 gauge wire? Or should lighting be strictly for 15 amp circuit using 14 guage wire?

Also, if the 12 guage wire on the 20 amp circuit is OK, do I need a 20 am switch to control the light or is a 15 amp switch suitable? Appreciate any help I can get. Thank you.

Regards
 
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Old 02-02-09, 01:08 PM
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1) Yes, you can put your lights on the 20A circuit, as long as the total load on the circuit meets other code requirements.

If you think about it, almost every load you apply to a circuit will be intended draw less than the circuit's rated ampacity, for example you can plug a 100MW LED nightlight into a 20A receptacle on a 20A circuit protected by a 20A breaker.

2) Yes, the switch can be listed for 15A - as long as the load controlled by a snap switch does not exceed its listing.

3) HOWEVER, you need to use 12 AWG or larger on ALL wiring on a circuit protected by a 20A OCPD.
 
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Old 02-12-09, 08:37 PM
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Here's the way to think of this. What you have is 20 amps AVAILABLE. Whatever you plug in or hook up is going to take exactly the number of amps it needs. No more, no less. If your light only takes 1/2 amp, then great, you still have 19 1/2 to go before the breaker trips. You're not feeding the light more amps just because you up the breaker or wiring.
 
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Old 02-12-09, 08:53 PM
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What tpaairman said is good for going from 15 to 20 (in the US--are you in the US? for best advice, please fill in the location field of your profile). However, you cannot extrapolate this logic and go above 20. The code-making bodies of the US have decided that 20 is as high as you can go and still be safe for residential lighting. In other countries, you may not even be allowed to go to 20.
 
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Old 02-13-09, 10:37 AM
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I just meant that you are not going not going to overload the light just because you are now on a higher amp breaker. Many people have the misconception that if you up the breaker you are feeding more power to the light.
 
 

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