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Old 08-10-2012, 12:17 PM   #1
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Can 14 gauge wire be used on 20 amp circuit?


I am redoing my basement, and i am making the electrical runs for the recessed lights in the ceiling. I am using 14 gauge wire, and i have 16 recessed lights with 65 watt bulbs in them, however they are rated at 75 watts max. assuming someone after us may put in the max bulb, the total watts would be 1200, equaling 10 amps. When all of the new wiring is done, i am going to have an electrician connect the circuits to the circuit breaker (using 15 amp breakers) however since i am not comfortable doing this myself, and i would like to use the lights now, can i connect them to the existing 12 gauge wire (this will not overload the breaker... i already checked what else was plugged in to the electrical outlets).

to recap:
The power draw will only be 10 amps at MAX. capacity
existing wiring is 12 gauge/ 20 amp breaker
electrician WILL connect 14 gauge wire to breaker using 15 amp breaker

*THIS WILL BE TEMPORARY*

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Old 08-10-2012, 12:28 PM   #2
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Can 14 gauge wire be used on 20 amp circuit?


You can probably connect the 12 gauge permanently, unless you have something else on the circuit that will overload a 20A circuit. My basement has mixed lighting/outlet circuits on 12 gage wire, so far as I know there are no specific NEC rules prohibiting mixed outlet/lighting circuits in the basement. There are rules about GFCI for basement locations, but those do not pertain to mixing lighting and outlets.

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Old 08-10-2012, 12:41 PM   #3
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Can 14 gauge wire be used on 20 amp circuit?


There are a lot of "temporary" things that are never changed and become permanent. If you use both 12 and 14 ga wire on the same circuit the opd must be sized for the smaller wire. It's not allowed....but obviously it will work. The purpose of the breaker is to protect the wire....period.
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Old 08-10-2012, 12:54 PM   #4
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Can 14 gauge wire be used on 20 amp circuit?


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Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
You can probably connect the 12 gauge permanently,
The 12 gauge wire is the old (existing) wire in the basement that will be replaced by the electrician when he connects to new 15 amp circuits. my wuestion is/was can i temporarily tie into this wire with 14 gauge (15 amp) wire untill electrician comes.
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Old 08-10-2012, 02:31 PM   #5
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Can 14 gauge wire be used on 20 amp circuit?


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Originally Posted by diyer111 View Post
The 12 gauge wire is the old (existing) wire in the basement that will be replaced by the electrician when he connects to new 15 amp circuits. my wuestion is/was can i temporarily tie into this wire with 14 gauge (15 amp) wire untill electrician comes.
A 15 amp breaker is the maximum size to protect 14 ga wire.
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:32 PM   #6
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Can 14 gauge wire be used on 20 amp circuit?


think of it this way. if there is a high resistance short and it draws 19 amps through the 14 gauge wire for hours/days on end, it wont end well or at least the new wire you installed will be damaged.
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Old 08-10-2012, 04:38 PM   #7
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Can 14 gauge wire be used on 20 amp circuit?


Im just curious why you wont make final terminations in the panel. Hell youve done everything else so why not land it?
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:49 PM   #8
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Can 14 gauge wire be used on 20 amp circuit?


Where are you from. You'd be allowed to do it in Canada. They've created a silly loophole/doesn't make sense bit of code in the new book that makes it grey area depending on conditions.
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Old 08-10-2012, 06:31 PM   #9
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Can 14 gauge wire be used on 20 amp circuit?


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Originally Posted by kevinp22 View Post
think of it this way. if there is a high resistance short and it draws 19 amps through the 14 gauge wire for hours/days on end, it wont end well or at least the new wire you installed will be damaged.
14 AWG is rated for 20 amps...

We just cant use it at that rating.
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Old 08-13-2012, 10:14 AM   #10
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Can 14 gauge wire be used on 20 amp circuit?


first, i am not a qualified electrician, and i have been working on all lighting/ outlets NO possible power to them (not connected to a power source). second, even when the reaker is turned off, you still have the power coming in from the street equaling 240 volts... not something to be messed with.

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