Gauge of circuit vs gauge of fixture

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Old 05-05-15, 03:13 PM
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Gauge of circuit vs gauge of fixture

Two questions for recent home I just purchased.

1) I am installing a ceiling fan in what used to be a simple ceiling light fixture. I have installed and secured the box for the fan and had the fan mounted as was about make my wire connections when I noticed a note on the fan that said 14-22 gauge wire only. I checked and the circuit is definitely run with 12 gauge wire, on a 20 amp breaker. I am looking for some advice here. Also, note that there is another ceiling fan on the same circuit, and I do not see any such restrictions for wire gauge on that one.

Can I install the light on this circuit as is? Or would I does it make sense to move the circuit to a 15 amp breaker (it's only lights and ceiling fans). I am assuming that the 14 gauge rating is more about the amperage it can handle than the physical wire connection size...

2) I have another circuit that is a mixture of 12 gauge and 14 gauge. It is a on a 15 amp breaker. It unfortunately feeds lights and outlets. I realize that this is not ideal and wouldn't be allowed in new construction, but short of a very large project, I am unable to change this. Is this a safety concern or will it cause operational problems? I currently have the wire marked at the main panel as "15 amp only!" to avoid mistakenly thinking the whole thing is 12 gauge.

Thanks!
 
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Old 05-05-15, 03:26 PM
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Fixtures, appliances, electronics, etc. for use on ordinary 120 volt branch circuits and/or have standard 15 amp plugs and are Underwriters Labs rated, may be wired to or used on circuits up to 20 amps unless explicitly restricted to a lesser amperage circuit. Such a restriction will not be worded indirectly using a wire gauge instead of amperes.

It is possible that the junction box provided with the can light or other fixture or fan is too small to hold 12 gauge wires. Or clips provided with the fixture wires to facilitate wiring to the feed wires may be too small for 12 gauge wires. A scrap piece of #14 wire (pigtail) may be used as a jumper between a 12 gauge feed conductor and the fixture wire clip if needed.

2. A seemingly unnecessary #14 gauge pigtail may be inserted between the 12 gauge circuit wire entering the panel and the breaker terminal to signify that the circuit needs a 15 amp breaker.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 05-05-15 at 03:44 PM.
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Old 05-05-15, 03:27 PM
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about make my wire connections when I noticed a note on the fan that said 14-22 gauge wire only.
Don't have a clue what they meant but I do know #12 on a 20 amp breaker is okay.
 
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Old 05-06-15, 04:23 AM
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I have never seen a fan with that warning. It would be very strange since building wiring needs to be at least #14.
 
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Old 05-06-15, 07:08 AM
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Re:

Thanks for the help. I don't get the fan label either. Anyways I've got installed with a 14 gauge pigtail. I also like the idea of an "unnecessary" 14 gauge pigtail at the breaker to signal it needs to be a 15 amp circuit.
 
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