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Old 08-28-2013, 04:51 PM   #16
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


In my case, all the 20A circuits in the kitchen are connected to 20A receptacle and all wiring to/from the receptacles are 12/2 cables.

I don't understand the purpose of distinguishing between a small-appliance-branch-circuit and any other branch circuit. I don't see anything wrong (or dangerous) with plugging in a "small appliance" in any receptacle regardless if it a SABC or not. For that matter, I don't see anything wrong with plugging in a light in any SABC.

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Old 08-28-2013, 05:04 PM   #17
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


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Originally Posted by rojo527 View Post
In my case, all the 20A circuits in the kitchen are connected to 20A receptacle and all wiring to/from the receptacles are 12/2 cables.

I don't understand the purpose of distinguishing between a small-appliance-branch-circuit and any other branch circuit. I don't see anything wrong (or dangerous) with plugging in a "small appliance" in any receptacle regardless if it a SABC or not. For that matter, I don't see anything wrong with plugging in a light in any SABC.
The SABC rule for kitchens exists because people are likely to use high power countertop appliances there, and they want to make sure there is adequate dedicated power available for that purpose. It's a silly rule, but a good practice.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:10 PM   #18
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


There is more to my story .. I am installing a replacement hood/fan over my stove and I connected it to an existing 20A kitchen circuit (a small-appliance-branch-circuit). An electrician asked me if the hood will have both a fan and microwave. I said no, it will have just a fan and light. He then told me that I can't hook it up to a 20A kitchen circuit. I have to hook it up to one of the 15A light circuits.

This makes absolutely no sense to me. If I install a microwave/hood I can connect it to a SABC but since it is just a fan, I can't!!
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:35 PM   #19
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


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If I install a microwave/hood I can connect it to a SABC...
If he said that, you need a new electrician.
I think you are assuming that. If you replied yes, he should have said that you need a 20 amp dedicated circuit for an over the range microwave.
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Old 08-28-2013, 05:52 PM   #20
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


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The SABC rule for kitchens exists because people are likely to use high power countertop appliances there, and they want to make sure there is adequate dedicated power available for that purpose. It's a silly rule, but a good practice.
Let me see if I understand you. Since there is no way of determining the load on a circuit that has receptacles, NEC is trying to say that we must provide more headroom in estimating max load for SABC vs. other branch circuits.
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Old 08-28-2013, 06:11 PM   #21
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


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If he said that, you need a new electrician.
I think you are assuming that. If you replied yes, he should have said that you need a 20 amp dedicated circuit for an over the range microwave.
I'm guessing that this is related to the restrictions on small-appliance-branch-circuits. That is, we can't have any other outlets tied to a SABC and the electrician believes that hooking up a fan/light to a SABC is not unlike hooking up a light to a SABC and therefore not allowed.
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Old 08-28-2013, 09:41 PM   #22
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


You can plug a light into a SABC, but you can't hardwire a light. You can plug a counter top MW into a SABC, but not an OTR MW.
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:55 AM   #23
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


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The breaker is sized to fit the wire and devices. If everything is wired with #12, and all the outlets are rated at 20A, ok...but if one outlet or switch is rated at 15A, either the breaker or the device has to be changed.

Not exactly, you do not need 20 amp rated switches for a 20 amp rated circuit.... switches are rated for the intended load they are to be used with.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:19 PM   #24
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


When I started this thread, I understood my electrician to say that all lights had to be wired with #14 and I took that to mean lights cannot be connected to a 20A circuit. That is, I assumed that if I used #14 on a 20A circuit, I had to downgrade the circuit to 15A.

This thread taught me that the code violation is not about using #12 for lighting nor about hooking lights to a 20A circuit. The violation would be about connecting my kitchen lights to a small-appliance-branch-circuit.

Regarding the selection of wire gauge - my electrician also told me that I shouldn't have used #12 wire to connect an outside light to the 20A circuit in my dining room. He said that I should have used #14.

NEC does state that #14 can be used for a tap on a 20A circuit. (Ref: Table 210.24 Summary of Branch-Circuit Requirements). My electrician seems to think that this is a requirement but my interpretation is that it is "allowed", not "required". Besides saving a little money and making it easier to work with, why would anyone use #14 on a 20A circuit?
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:56 PM   #25
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


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NEC does state that #14 can be used for a tap on a 20A circuit. (Ref: Table 210.24 Summary of Branch-Circuit Requirements). My electrician seems to think that this is a requirement but my interpretation is that it is "allowed", not "required". Besides saving a little money and making it easier to work with, why would anyone use #14 on a 20A circuit?
That is incorrect... sorry.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:57 PM   #26
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


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Regarding the selection of wire gauge - my electrician also told me that I shouldn't have used #12 wire to connect an outside light to the 20A circuit in my dining room. He said that I should have used #14.
He is entirely incorrect. #14 wire cannot be used on a 20A circuit in that circumstance.

Quote:
NEC does state that #14 can be used for a tap on a 20A circuit. (Ref: Table 210.24 Summary of Branch-Circuit Requirements).
A tap is a very particular thing, and not just any connection to an existing circuit qualifies as a tap. In fact, almost none do. There is essentially no circumstance where you could use #14 wire as a tap from a 20A circuit in a residential setting.

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My electrician seems to think that this is a requirement but my interpretation is that it is "allowed", not "required". Besides saving a little money and making it easier to work with, why would anyone use #14 on a 20A circuit?
It's not even allowed. The only time you'll find #14 wire on anything over a 15A breaker in a residential setting is for HVAC circuits, where very different rules apply for some very specific reasons.
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Old 08-29-2013, 07:57 PM   #27
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


The taps rules rarely apply, especially in residential work. The #14 on the 20 amp circuit is not allowed. Your electrician should know this.
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Old 09-04-2013, 06:23 PM   #28
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


Thank you, everyone, for your help.

I questioned my electrician a few times about using #14 on a 20A circuit but he insisted that he knew what he was doing. He even pulled out #12 wire on a couple of 20A circuits (the wire connected to lights) and replaced it with #14. When I told him that I didn't want him to change what was already in place, his response was that since his name was on the permit, he's required to do it to his standard. I should have fired this guy awhile ago.
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Old 09-04-2013, 07:32 PM   #29
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


????????? That doesn't make any sense. Is this being inspected? Does the inspector realize what's going on?
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Old 09-04-2013, 08:29 PM   #30
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Connecting lights to 20A circuit


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????????? That doesn't make any sense. Is this being inspected? Does the inspector realize what's going on?
The rough wiring should be ready for inspection next week. I plan on being there when the inspector comes so I can ask some key questions.

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