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Old 12-06-2012, 06:37 PM   #1
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Electrical question


Can I use 14 guage wire for standard receptacles and lighting for a remodeled basement. There is currently 12 guage wire on the old outlets and I have removed them. The main feed coming in looks like 12 guage from a 20 amp circuit. Help!

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Old 12-06-2012, 06:45 PM   #2
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Not on a 20 amp breaker.

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Old 12-06-2012, 06:48 PM   #3
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I'd use 12ga with a 20A breaker for outlets and 14ga with a 15A breaker for lighting.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:50 PM   #4
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Can I change the breaker to a 15 amp
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:54 PM   #5
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Sure you can.
Bathrooms, laundry rooms and kitchen receptacles have to be wired with 20 amp breakers.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:59 PM   #6
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So I can pull the breaker and replace it with a 15 amp? Now some of the wire that comes in from the panes would still be 12 guage. Can I use that still as my main source? Run that to a junction box and run the receptacles and lights from there?
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:01 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by jbrod26 View Post
So I can pull the breaker and replace it with a 15 amp? Now some of the wire that comes in from the panes would still be 12 guage. Can I use that still as my main source? Run that to a junction box and run the receptacles and lights from there?
WHY bother???
Just use #12 for the rest of what you want to do on that circuit and use #14 for anything else.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:08 PM   #8
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Then I would have to run a new wire to the electical box in the garage and put a new breaker in to run the 14
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:15 PM   #9
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Yes, you can use a 15 amp breaker with #12 wire, you MUST use a 15 amp breaker with 14 gauge. If there is any 14 gauge wire in the circuit you have to use a 15 amp breaker.
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Old 12-06-2012, 07:28 PM   #10
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You can always add a thicker gauge wire. e.g. you can use 12g or 10g on a 15 amp breaker. Just keep in mind the main issue is heat buildup. The bigger the wire, the less heat buildup. The key is to make sure the breaker trips before the wire gets hot.

Obviously if 14g is allowed on a 15a breaker, and 12g is allowed on a 20a breaker, then 12g or 10g is allowed on a 15a breaker because those are even less likely to get hot before the breaker trips than 14g.

You can mix and match all you want, as long as all the wire is rated for the circuit. You can put 14, 12, 10, and 8 (or bigger) on a 15a breaker. You can put 12, 10 and 8 on a 20a breaker. You can put 10 and 8 on a 30a breaker.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:09 PM   #11
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Then I would have to run a new wire to the electical box in the garage and put a new breaker in to run the 14
Then just use #12.
I don't get all this. WHY bother changing wire sizes???
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:16 PM   #12
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I agree, use 12, the price difference is minimal if you have to redo it in the future, coupla daughters with blow dryers will prove it to you...
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:17 PM   #13
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Because I have 300 ft of it. To run a new wire to the breaker in the garage would take alot of fishing to get to the breaker and possibly opening walls to run it. So If half of my basement is a laundry room on 1 20 amp breaker and the other is a room that I am finishing and it had 12 guage wire running thru on a seperate 20 amp breaker. I took all the wiring out and now I have the main lead that comes from the breaker which is 20amp and a lead of 12 g wire. I want to use what I have or it will get even more expensive. So my question is can I change the breaker so I can use what I have or should I just spend more money and buy 12g. I want to run 2 lights and 4 outlets.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:20 PM   #14
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Yes, just pop in a 15 amp breaker, that will work just fine.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:24 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by jbrod26 View Post
Because I have 300 ft of it. To run a new wire to the breaker in the garage would take alot of fishing to get to the breaker and possibly opening walls to run it. So If half of my basement is a laundry room on 1 20 amp breaker and the other is a room that I am finishing and it had 12 guage wire running thru on a seperate 20 amp breaker. I took all the wiring out and now I have the main lead that comes from the breaker which is 20amp and a lead of 12 g wire. I want to use what I have or it will get even more expensive. So my question is can I change the breaker so I can use what I have or should I just spend more money and buy 12g. I want to run 2 lights and 4 outlets.
Well, this would have been good to know right from the start. All this confusion as to your motives would have been eliminated.

In this case FINE, use the #14 for everything but the laundry and change the breaker to a 15A.

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