Did I Screw Up? .....Under Cabinet Light Installation. Don't Want A Fire Hazard! - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


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Old 08-25-2009, 10:47 PM   #1
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Did I screw up? .....Under cabinet light installation. Don't want a fire hazard!


Hi, all- Hope the more experienced here can help me. What concerns me is if I've made mistakes now that the walls are closed back up. I thought all was right based on talking to supposed "experts", but now I am not so sure.....

Power source: Existing ground fault protected outlet near sink. Guy at local hardware store electrical dept said it was Ok to tap this with via a separately switched 14/2 wire, even though the existing was 12ga. I was hesitant, but saw no other ways to reach 120v power due to the lack of other readily available sources. Figured that since the 14/2 would ONLY feed a few lights I should be OK. Now I am not so sure, but what is done is done.

Next, I ran 14/2 romex to the various lights. The lights themselves are about 8-10"out from the walls (close to the cabinet edge) and would thus require about 8-10" of romex to be fastened to the underside of the cabinets, possibly in wiremold to the extent possible.

Bottom line: How badly have I screwed up? What else do I need to do? Suggestions? Thanks SO much to all in advance!

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Old 08-26-2009, 12:38 AM   #2
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Did I screw up? .....Under cabinet light installation. Don't want a fire hazard!


Damn, I am ticked. I "think" I erred by doing things as I did. It was apparently an error to ran a 14ga pigtail from a 20A 12ga circuit. I fear some tear out is soon to be in order......

Comments? Suggestions?

Wow, am I ever TICKED!!!

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Old 08-26-2009, 12:49 AM   #3
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Just change the 20A breaker for the circuit to a 15A. It might even be 15A already, never know 'til you check...

you can tap off 12ga wire with 14ga no problem, so long as you use proper rating breakers, wire mold it for sure.

14ga - 15amps
12ga - 20amps
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:01 AM   #4
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Did I screw up? .....Under cabinet light installation. Don't want a fire hazard!


Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyboy View Post
Just change the 20A breaker for the circuit to a 15A. It might even be 15A already, never know 'til you check...

you can tap off 12ga wire with 14ga no problem, so long as you use proper rating breakers, wire mold it for sure.

14ga - 15amps
12ga - 20amps

Thanks for responding. It is indeed a 20A breaker.I'll probably do it "right" & re-wire everything, since I found a 14ga wire feeding a single over the sink light. No doubt it's a part of another circuit, but I can certainly tap into it. Too bad this'll mean some tear out.....

It I have 2 14/2 wires into each fixture (1 on, 1 out), will both fit in a wiremold rail? Are there better alternatives? Different kinds of wire to run that need NOT be covered?

Thanks again!
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:09 AM   #5
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Did I screw up? .....Under cabinet light installation. Don't want a fire hazard!


Why wouldn't you just spend $10 and five minutes and replace the breaker with a 15A?

I don't know anything about covering wire, I don't know what code is but any wire will have to be protected when exposed like that.
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Old 08-26-2009, 01:13 AM   #6
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Did I screw up? .....Under cabinet light installation. Don't want a fire hazard!


I ran 14 gauge "speaker wire" rated for in wall use when I installed my undercabinet light wiring. All 4 runs go directly to the cabinet under the sink where they connect to a low voltage transformer. This way I only have one wire to each light under the cabinet, and no wiremold is nessecary (you have to look under the cabinet to see the wire and the light). Keep in mind I did this with a Low Voltage transformer based cabinet lighting, this would not be acceptable for line current (120 volts).
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Old 08-26-2009, 07:43 AM   #7
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Did I screw up? .....Under cabinet light installation. Don't want a fire hazard!


Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyboy View Post
Just change the 20A breaker for the circuit to a 15A. It might even be 15A already, never know 'til you check...
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnnyboy View Post
Why wouldn't you just spend $10 and five minutes and replace the breaker with a 15A?

I don't know anything about covering wire, I don't know what code is but any wire will have to be protected when exposed like that.
Johnnyboy. Might I suggest you refrain from posting advice in the electrical forum. You really have no clue what you are talking about. Here in this very post you admit that.

In the US kitchen receptacles circuits MUST be 20A. If this is the case then by replacing the breaker with a 15 would create a violation and would be a very dumb move. Do you realize the reason they are required to be 20A. How about the typical appliance that is used in kitchens?

All this to cover up a rookie mistake?


Also, wire does NOT always need to be covered. As long as there is no danger of physical damage it is fine to run most cables exposed.
Under a cabinet is not typically an area that is "subject to physical damage".


jws, the guy at the hardware store was incredibly wrong. For the life of me I don't know why folks still listen to these guys.

You CANNOT tap off the counter circuit for ANY lighting, not even a range hood. I think you also got the point that the #14 on the 20A circuit was VERY wrong.

PLEASE find a 15A lighting circuit to feed your new lights.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:02 AM   #8
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Quote:
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Wow, am I ever TICKED!!!
i know that feeling.... stand on left foot, kick self in a$$ with right foot.

if i were you, i'd listen to speedy petey.

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Old 08-26-2009, 08:44 AM   #9
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Did I screw up? .....Under cabinet light installation. Don't want a fire hazard!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
In the US kitchen receptacles circuits MUST be 20A. If this is the case then by replacing the breaker with a 15 would create a violation and would be a very dumb move. Do you realize the reason they are required to be 20A. How about the typical appliance that is used in kitchens?

All this to cover up a rookie mistake?


Also, wire does NOT always need to be covered. As long as there is no danger of physical damage it is fine to run most cables exposed.
Under a cabinet is not typically an area that is "subject to physical damage".


jws, the guy at the hardware store was incredibly wrong. For the life of me I don't know why folks still listen to these guys.

You CANNOT tap off the counter circuit for ANY lighting, not even a range hood. I think you also got the point that the #14 on the 20A circuit was VERY wrong.

PLEASE find a 15A lighting circuit to feed your new lights.
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer, much less so completely.

You confirmed my suspicions...... I'll be tearing out the sheetrock just installed between the upper/lower cabinets previously removed for new tile & lighting. Damn glad I found this out BEFORE all the expensive marble went up! Right now it is just damned annoying & the loss of a few hours of work.

Better to fix things now rather than have the error staring me in the face every damned time I walk into the kitchen!

There is a 15A lighting circuit in with a 20A counter circuit in a double gang box. It feeds an over the sink light. That is where I will tap into, since it is already a lighting circuit & totally separate from the others.

Should never have listened to the "electrical" guy in the contractor dept. Lesson learned. I was considering calling an electrician, but the physical work is simple enough. The code, however, I was unsure of. Had I been able to get a guy to return calls & not charge college tuition rates for a simple task I might have done this differently. But..... what is done is done. Time to go buy some sheetrock & chalk it up to being a

Thanks again. Incredibly helpful board here. Wish I could return the favor.
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:45 AM   #10
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Did I screw up? .....Under cabinet light installation. Don't want a fire hazard!


Quote:
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i know that feeling.... stand on left foot, kick self in a$$ with right foot.

if i were you, i'd listen to speedy petey.

DM
I am indeed taking his advice. Will re-do it the right way & have peace of mind. Don't want that error in my face every time I walk in the kitchen!
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:47 AM   #11
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Did I screw up? .....Under cabinet light installation. Don't want a fire hazard!


Quote:
Originally Posted by theatretch85 View Post
I ran 14 gauge "speaker wire" rated for in wall use when I installed my undercabinet light wiring. All 4 runs go directly to the cabinet under the sink where they connect to a low voltage transformer. This way I only have one wire to each light under the cabinet, and no wiremold is nessecary (you have to look under the cabinet to see the wire and the light). Keep in mind I did this with a Low Voltage transformer based cabinet lighting, this would not be acceptable for line current (120 volts).
Thought about low voltage, but in the end didn't want a transformer & due to the limited work area (only removing backsplash sheetrock) didn't want to tear more up. Sigh..... Nothing is ever easy!
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Old 08-26-2009, 08:57 AM   #12
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Did I screw up? .....Under cabinet light installation. Don't want a fire hazard!


yup, it never is....do it to code or better and you'll sleep well at night.....
most projects we start end up with a few unthought of glitches to work through.
but at least with the help we get here, they always work out well for us.

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Old 08-26-2009, 09:37 AM   #13
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Did I screw up? .....Under cabinet light installation. Don't want a fire hazard!


JWS3 - As an electrical newbie, I have greatly benefitted from the richness of experience that is represented in this forum. As you said, the labor isn't really the hard part, it's the planning and code compliance. You've got alot to learn, but the resource is here.

For your next project consider posting your plan on the forum for comment. I posted a basic diagram and got a correction that was necessary to be code compliant and many suggestions that made the install easier.

I would also recommend giving your electrical inspector a call and ask some questions (I can get ahold of mine by phone, but only if I call before 7:15AM!). Things like: What is the most common mistake you see homeowners make? What do you look for during an inspection?
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Old 08-26-2009, 05:48 PM   #14
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Can you/should you
run 12v through the Romex and change to 12v lights, with a 'former upstream?
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Old 08-26-2009, 06:57 PM   #15
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Quote:
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Can you/should you
run 12v through the Romex and change to 12v lights, with a 'former upstream?
I already bought the lights & started to mount and @ $50 each or so I don't want to eat that! I'll just rip out the rock & do it right.

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