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Old 06-16-2013, 07:59 AM   #1
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Can I run 14-2 ?


I'm updating our bathroom. I have some 14-2 wire to use. The existing circuit breaker is a 20 amp, and the existing wire is 12 ga.

There's a GFI fed with 12 wire, and I want to feed a switch for a new light (100 watts max) from that, probably 3 foot of wire, using 14-2

I also have a switched light, using 12 wire, which I want to replace with a ceiling exhaust/light combo, and want to run probably 2 feet off that, using 14-2.

My question is, I'm pretty sure it isn't code to have 14 wire on a 20 amp circuit, but if the tap, extension, etc. - is limited to lights, that will use less than 15 amps, not variable like a plug, meaning the load at those points (the new fan/light on 1, the new light on the other) is less than 15 amps at those points, and no points beyond, what's the science behind not being able to use 14-2 there?

So even though it's not code, is it reasonably safe to do?

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Old 06-16-2013, 08:19 AM   #2
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Can I run 14-2 ?


You will not live in this house forever and someone may come along in the future and add something off that switch box. You are correct, it isn't to code, and it is NOT ok to do what you are thinking about doing.

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Old 06-16-2013, 08:24 AM   #3
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Can I run 14-2 ?


If you used 14/2, you would be required to change the breaker to 15 amps. This isn't allowed, however, because bathrooms must be on 20 amp circuits. You could use the 14/2 if you have a 15 amp lighting circuit you could tap into, if this is practical. Then the bathroom lights would just be on a lighting circuit.

It's quite possible nothing would ever happen if you ran 14/2, but it is still a major code violation. You can buy 12 ft of 12/2 at the big box store for very little, and save the 14/2 for something else.
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:26 AM   #4
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Can I run 14-2 ?


Running 14 romex on a 20a circuit, no, its a hazard.
With 14 romex being rated at 15a (2011) the problem isn't so much the load but it there's a short/fault and the 20a breaker does not trip.
What you have now is a 14 romex acting as a heater in your walls.
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:48 AM   #5
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Can I run 14-2 ?


What I'm looking for the 'science' of what I was considering. Let me redefine the question - please ignore the previous.

If I'm at the end of a 20 amp circuit, using 12 wire, and I connect a fixed single device at that point that uses less than 15 amps, using 14-2 wire, will more than 15 amps pass through that extension circuit - I'm looking for an "in theory, under ideal conditions" answer - under just those conditions. Without consideration for exceptions, such as faults, codes, etc. I totally understand this wouldn't be recommended, code, etc. Let's say I'm asking a hypothetical question...

Thanks for the replies so far.
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:54 AM   #6
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Can I run 14-2 ?


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What I'm looking for the 'science' of what I was considering. Let me redefine the question - please ignore the previous.

If I'm at the end of a 20 amp circuit, using 12 wire, and I connect a fixed single device at that point that uses less than 15 amps, using 14-2 wire, will more than 15 amps pass through that extension circuit - I'm looking for an "in theory, under ideal conditions" answer - under just those conditions. Without consideration for exceptions, such as faults, codes, etc. I totally understand this wouldn't be recommended, code, etc. Let's say I'm asking a hypothetical question...

Thanks for the replies so far.
14 bare copper will handle the 20 a breaker, the insulation won't.

Hypothetical: would you risk someones life to save a dime?
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:55 AM   #7
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Can I run 14-2 ?


.

Agree with everyone above, from both a safety (down the road issues) and code.

However, as a sidenote only for discussion, in older construction, I seem to run into alot of 14 switch/light loops on 12 circuits at 20 breakers.

Someone told me that code used to allow a light loop to run a 15 amp loop on a 20 A circut.

Anyone know for certain... just curious.
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Old 06-16-2013, 08:57 AM   #8
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Can I run 14-2 ?


I am not going to be the one who gives you the answer you are looking for.

It is not code, do not do it. Someone opening that box to say, install a fan/heat lamp will see the #14's and extend that circuit further with #14's. Now there is alot more than 100W on that piece of 14/2.

You cannot have #14 on a 20A breaker unless its for some very specific applications which code will allow. Bathroom lighting is NOT one of those applications.
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:27 AM   #9
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Can I run 14-2 ?


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I am not going to be the one who gives you the answer you are looking for.
I already have several answers of, "it's not code, don't do it, it's a hazard, etc." - along with yours.

Again, I'm looking for one scientific, theoretical answer to my last question. I'll restate it for clarification:

------------------------
Is it possible for more than 15 amps pass through the end of circuit with a less than 15 amp load if that circuit is supplied by a circuit having the capacity of 20 amps?
------------------------

Thanks.
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:35 AM   #10
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Can I run 14-2 ?


There have been a couple answers to your question already. You are either overlooking them, or ignore them because it isn't an answer you like.
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:40 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by tbaker0 View Post
I already have several answers of, "it's not code, don't do it, it's a hazard, etc." - along with yours.

Again, I'm looking for one scientific, theoretical answer to my last question. I'll restate it for clarification:

------------------------
Is it possible for more than 15 amps pass through the end of circuit with a less than 15 amp load if that circuit is supplied by a circuit having the capacity of 20 amps?
------------------------

Thanks.
Yes, it is possible for 15 amps to pass through, even if the load is smaller.
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:42 AM   #12
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There have been a couple answers to your question already. You are either overlooking them, or ignore them because it isn't an answer you like.
I have seen several posters, ask a question, not like the answer, then its "let me ask it this way"
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:54 AM   #13
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Yes, it is possible for 15 amps to pass through, even if the load is smaller.
Well there's a start finally...

Would you mind explaining?

Thanks.
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Old 06-16-2013, 09:55 AM   #14
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Can I run 14-2 ?


You could run it with doorbell wire if you felt like it, but it would still be illegal and unsafe. Electrical code does not deal with "hypotheticals". The circuit breaker is designed to protect the entire circuit, and you will lose this protection for that end of the circuit if you use 14/2. It is very bad practice, and can cause a lot of headaches for a future homeowner.
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Old 06-16-2013, 10:08 AM   #15
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Can I run 14-2 ?


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Yes, it is possible for 15 amps to pass through, even if the load is smaller.
TBaker.... Stripping out my personal opinion and codes subjective judgement, AFAIK, I believe the THEORETICAL answer is NO.

However, from a PRACTICAL AND REALISTIC consideration YES... I think very easily in cases of 1) eguipment malfunction (a ground short for instance) or 2) mistaken human intervention (subsequent party wires in a bath fan and heater for instance)..... both very realistic occurances

Code, my, and appears everyone else's opinion evaluates
the risk tradeoff is absurd for the sake of a trip to the local hardware.

That's just my attempt to directly answer your question.

Please note, I am not a Sparky, I am a GC and as such always open and appreciative of any corrections to my opinion.

Best

Peter

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