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Old 04-30-2012, 10:30 AM   #1
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


Summary of what I'm doing:

Adding 2 outlets for above and below cabinet lighting. Lights are line-level and plug into an outlet. I want to install a single double-rocker switch to control each of these outlets.

All of the double rockers I can find are 15-amp. The circuit I am planning to use for power is a 20a. Am I sunk? Will I need to install 2 single 20a switches? I would only put 15a outlets in, obviously, but this doesn't seem like the right way. Are there 20a switches that I just can't seem to find?

This is what I'm looking for:


One other thing, the circuit I am using for this is GFCI protected. Should the lighting part of this circuit go to the load (to be GFCI protected) or is it advisable to put the lights before the GFCI?

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Old 04-30-2012, 10:33 AM   #2
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


If you are planning on tapping the 20 amp small appliance countertop circuits you need to change your plans.

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Old 04-30-2012, 10:33 AM   #3
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


Do you have 12G wire on that circuit?
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:34 AM   #4
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


Are those not allowed to run the cabinet lights as well (on countertop circuit)? Guess it looks like I'm adding (another) new circuit.

Yes, my countertop circuits (3 of them) are all in 12g.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:40 AM   #5
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


This is from the 2011 NEC.

(B) Small Appliances.
(1) Receptacle Outlets Served.
In the kitchen, pantry,
breakfast room, dining room, or similar area of a dwelling
unit, the two or more 20-ampere small-appliance branch
circuits required by 210.11(C)(1) shall serve all wall and
floor receptacle outlets covered by 210.52(A), all countertop
outlets covered by 210.52(C), and receptacle outlets for
refrigeration equipment.

Exception No. 1: In addition to the required receptacles
specified by 210.52, switched receptacles supplied from a
general-purpose branch circuit as defined in 210.70(A)(1),
Exception No. 1, shall be permitted.
Exception No. 2: The receptacle outlet for refrigeration
equipment shall be permitted to be supplied from an individual
branch circuit rated 15 amperes or greater.
(2) No Other Outlets.
The two or more small-appliance
branch circuits specified in 210.52(B)(1) shall have no

other outlets.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:43 AM   #6
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hyunelan2 View Post
All of the double rockers I can find are 15-amp. The circuit I am planning to use for power is a 20a.
Look elsewhere:

http://www.kyledesigns.com/product/5...-Switches.html


http://www.westsidewholesale.com/ele...on-5627-w.html

Last edited by hammerlane; 04-30-2012 at 10:48 AM.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:46 AM   #7
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hyunelan2 View Post
Are those not allowed to run the cabinet lights as well (on countertop circuit)? Guess it looks like I'm adding (another) new circuit.

Yes, my countertop circuits (3 of them) are all in 12g.
i put some of these in last year. lights centered under overhead cabinets. ran the cord under the cabinet toward the front of the cabinet and then ran along the bottom edge (so you can't see the cord). ran the cords back to one of the cabinets where i had some extra space and put the 'extension cord' in there to plug the lights in (three of them). the 'extension cord' included a rotary switch so i mounted that under one of the cabinets and plugged the receptacle into one of the kitchen countertop outlet. a nice, clean look and minimal installation fuss. it costs me a receptacle but there are plenty of those and if i really need the receptacle, i simply unplug the lights.

probably a nec violation in here somewhere since i am plugging in lighting rather than an appliance but i justify it by calling the lights 'heat lamps'.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:48 AM   #8
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


Thanks for the NEC numbers. The easiest solution here looks to be to push a new 15a circuit for the lights. Exploring all options, however:

I have an outlet in the cabinet for over-the-range microwave. Could that be used as a supply source. Honestly though, it's probably still easier to run the new circuit all the way back to the breaker box (it's all in conduit).
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:50 AM   #9
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


Quote:
Originally Posted by hyunelan2 View Post
Thanks for the NEC numbers. The easiest solution here looks to be to push a new 15a circuit for the lights. Exploring all options, however:

I have an outlet in the cabinet for over-the-range microwave. Could that be used as a supply source. Honestly though, it's probably still easier to run the new circuit all the way back to the breaker box (it's all in conduit).
see my post. if you are cool with local control and have the receptacles to spare, check out that option.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:53 AM   #10
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


Yeah, I want things on switches not having to plug them in. Thanks for the suggestion though.
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Old 04-30-2012, 10:55 AM   #11
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


I would add a new circuit, not tie into the MW.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:00 AM   #12
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


Thanks, looks like that's what I'll do. One more question - I have another project that I'll be running 2 new 20a circuits in 12g THHN. Can/should I run this new circuit in 12g also, so that I can just buy one size of wire for both? I know some don't like 15a circuits in 12g wire, but I suppose I could make this new kitchen cabinet lighting circuit 20a too?
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:00 AM   #13
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


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Originally Posted by hyunelan2 View Post
Yeah, I want things on switches not having to plug them in. Thanks for the suggestion though.
then i echo the other suggestions of running a new circuit with a new switch.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:26 AM   #14
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


Thanks, looks like that's what I'll do. One more question - I have another project that I'll be running 2 new 20a circuits in 12g THHN. Can/should I run this new circuit in 12g also, so that I can just buy one size of wire for both? I know some don't like 15a circuits in 12g wire, but I suppose I could make this new kitchen cabinet lighting circuit 20a too?

Only downside to using 12g on 15A is cost and if you have box fill limitations. I personally would just get a longer spool of 12g in this case. might actually cost less than trying to but the 2 separate gauges. circuit could be 20a - might add other lighting or other allowed uses to that circuit later.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:37 AM   #15
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Adding switch for cabinet lights - 15a switch?


There is no problem with using the #12 on a 15 amp circuit. You could still use a 15 amp breaker for the cabinet lighting.

The box fill has already been mentioned.

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