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Old 02-15-2010, 08:53 AM   #1
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Adding recessed lights in basement


Hi all,

Recently I volunteered to help a family member adding some more light in their basement. I also changed some outlets out as they were old black/brown ones and they wanted white ones. This house has 20 amp breakers and 12/2 running in the walls. For the new lights I will either use the feed from the existing light fixture (want to make sure not to put too much additional load on that circuit) or what I have done in the past is grab power from an existing outlet - feed it into my switch and then run that to my new lights.

Here is my question - I have read all over and spoken to electrcians - 20 amp breakers require the 12/2 wire. Understood. Does that hold true for feeding the lights - or can I run 14/2 off the outlet up to my lights? Or is 12/2 required everywhere?

Thanks - hope this made sense. I appreciate your replies.

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Old 02-15-2010, 09:16 AM   #2
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Adding recessed lights in basement


You will need to stay with the #12 wire if you wish to maintain htis as a 20 amp circuit. Otherwise you will need to reduce the breaker to a 15 amp.

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Old 02-15-2010, 09:32 AM   #3
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Adding recessed lights in basement


I do not need to purchase special recessed lights do I? (I already bought the - H7ICT ones). This is my first expereince seeing 12/2 used - so I am trying to find out all I can.

OK, I will return my roll of 14/2 for a 12/2 - hopefully the cans do not care what wire comes in.

Thanks for the reply - it is a big help.
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Old 02-15-2010, 10:49 AM   #4
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Adding recessed lights in basement


The cans will handle the #12 wire.
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Old 05-07-2011, 12:43 PM   #5
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Adding recessed lights in basement


I just bought the same cans, and it looks like they say right on them to use 20 amp anyway. Can someone clear that up for us? Exact wording from can below.

"MAXIMUM OF 8 NO. 12AWG
THROUGH BRANCH CIRCUIT
CONDUCTORS. SUITABLE FOR 90*C PERMITTED IN BOX
A.C. ONLY"

Does that also mean no more than 8 on one cicruit? I won't be using more than that anyway, but just for the "searchers" to know.
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Old 05-07-2011, 01:31 PM   #6
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Adding recessed lights in basement


The light fixture doesn’t say it has to be on a 20A circuit. It says you can add a maximum of 8-#12 wires (coming/going) in its junction box. In other words, a max of 8 wires and a max of #12 gauge.

You can have less wires as needed, and the only other allowable gauge wire would be #14, which is smaller and would have to have a breaker/fuse no larger than 15A.

Also, the wording on the fixture does not have anything to do with the number of fixtures on the circuit. That is found by doing a circuit load calculation (in the US…not sure about Canada).
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Old 05-07-2011, 09:23 PM   #7
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Adding recessed lights in basement


Understood. Thanks.
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Old 05-08-2011, 12:30 PM   #8
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Adding recessed lights in basement


and your first 12/2 is counted as three wires.
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Old 05-11-2011, 10:19 AM   #9
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Adding recessed lights in basement


Oh wait. You mean if I have power going into the can, and split that to 2 other cans, that would be a total of 9 wires? So that's not aloud?

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