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Old 10-18-2008, 11:14 AM   #1
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12-2 on a 15A circuit


I have two circuits in my box that are rated at 15A and have 15A receptacles but are ran with 12-2. Is this a problem? I mean, I understand that 15A circuits are supposed to be using 14-2 but and I could see where a smaller wire would be a problem on a heavier circuit but is there really a problem with a bigger wire on a smaller circuit?

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Old 10-18-2008, 11:19 AM   #2
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12-2 on a 15A circuit


This is not a problem, but it is unorthodox in most cases. One valid case is to counter voltage drop on long runs. In a typical home this is rarely an issue.

It is either that someone thought they were being "safer" by using larger wire than is typical, which is hogwash; or that someone somewhere put some #14 wire on that circuit which mandated reducing the breaker to 15A.

Unless you are in Canada, standard 15A receptacles on a 20A circuit are fine.

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Old 10-18-2008, 11:22 AM   #3
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12-2 on a 15A circuit


Nothing wrong with using #12 on a 15 amp breaker. A bit wasteful, but completely legal.

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Old 10-18-2008, 11:31 AM   #4
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12-2 on a 15A circuit


It's funny, I called my uncle who was an electrician for the Air Force for 20-some years and he told me that he wouldn't dream of using anything smaller than 12-2 for a house. Then again, he worked with 440v and who knows what kind of current so I doubt he saw many 15A and 20A circuits.
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Old 10-18-2008, 11:41 AM   #5
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12-2 on a 15A circuit


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Originally Posted by jheavner View Post
It's funny, I called my uncle who was an electrician for the Air Force for 20-some years and he told me that he wouldn't dream of using anything smaller than 12-2 for a house.
There is NO reason.......
aw, forget it.





Residentially, I use #14 for most all lighting and some receptacle circuits, unless code requires 20A circuits.
I simply lay out my circuits conservatively.

Commercially 20A is usually the minimum.
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Old 10-18-2008, 11:47 AM   #6
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12-2 on a 15A circuit


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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
There is NO reason.......
aw, forget it.
Believe me, I completely agree but he's old and I've learned that old people and young people know everything. I, on the other hand, know nothing.
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Old 10-18-2008, 01:22 PM   #7
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12-2 on a 15A circuit


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Originally Posted by jheavner View Post
Believe me, I completely agree but he's old and I've learned that old people and young people know everything. I, on the other hand, know nothing.

LOL !!...You have kids too then !!
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Old 10-18-2008, 02:13 PM   #8
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12-2 on a 15A circuit


I have in the past during rough-ins used short sections of 12/2 wg romex that I had left over on 15 amp circuits if the length would fit...simply to use it up. Scrap wire is money out of my pocket. And there is nothing wrong with the practice.
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Old 10-18-2008, 05:56 PM   #9
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12-2 on a 15A circuit


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Originally Posted by Tuckahoe Sparkplug View Post
I have in the past during rough-ins used short sections of 12/2 wg romex that I had left over on 15 amp circuits if the length would fit...simply to use it up. Scrap wire is money out of my pocket. And there is nothing wrong with the practice.
No, nothing "wrong" or non-compliant about it.

But...
In my personal opinion, and nothing more, it is poor workmanship. If I had to be concerned with using up 15 or 20 foot scraps I would then and there know I was not charging enough.
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Old 10-18-2008, 07:16 PM   #10
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12-2 on a 15A circuit


There was a time (which lasted for about 15 years) when I thought that 14/2 was no longer allowed for receptacles, even on 15A breaker. I don't know where I heard or read this, but it certainly wasn't in the NEC handbook.

I still prefer 20A, 12/2 branches for receptacles. It allows for future expansion. You just have to make sure there's no 14/2 on circuit.
Sure, 12/2 is a lot more expensive than 14/2, and it's harder to handle, but pulling cable in old work is tough, and I'd rather do less of it.
That said, when I was pulling cable from the basement to the attic, I decided to pull one 15A, 14/2 cable for lighting, and a light-duty receptacle for my network router. I didn't want my 20A lines to have so many junctions.
Maybe this is a bit obsessive, but I like clean, unbroken lines where ever possible.
I'm not going to the extreme of having one branch for each receptacle, but it's not so good to have the lights on the same branch as the receptacles anyway. Nice to be able to work on things with the lights still on

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Old 10-19-2008, 10:05 AM   #11
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12-2 on a 15A circuit


Will be glad when we all get on the same page!!!! Too many variations state to state.

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