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Old 09-20-2007, 06:11 AM   #1
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More bathroom wiring

My post is similar to SS396's 09-16-2007, 7:12 pm post, with one addition.

I'm wiring a 1/2 bath with the power source going into a GCFI receptacle, then out to two switches (light and fan). I could do it in reverse, or other ways, etc, but for simplicity, I've chosen this route because my source wire, coming from the breaker, is only long enough to make it to the GFCI. The entire bathroom will be powered by one 20A dedicated circuit.

My question: Once I send my 12G wire from the breaker box into the GCFI, can I then use 14G wire to go to the switches and fixtures?

My reason for wanting to do this is to avoid using 20A rated switches, which are typically big, bulky, and a bit unsightly. I also have a boatlaod of extra 14G wire, so it would also save me a bit of money (sorry...I'm on a budget!)

Thanks in advance for your time and effort!



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Old 09-20-2007, 06:32 AM   #2
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No! You must use 12g wire on a 20 amp breaker, however you do not need to use 20 amp rated switches, unless the load is 20 amp.
Use 15 amp switches.
Typically, there is not much differance in the outside looks of the 20 amp, compare to the 15 amp switches.


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Old 09-20-2007, 11:05 AM   #3
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You also don't need a 20 amp gfci as a 15 amp is fine they are 20 amp feed thru devices. All the 20 amp receptacles/gfci's do is let you plug something in that has a 20 amp plug on it (Nema 5-20P) for something that requires a 20 amp circuit as Jb mentioned. You most likely will never have anything that needs a 20 amp plug in a bathroom. What you don't want to do is put a 20 amp receptacle on a 15 amp 14 awg circuit. Hope this makes sense to you.

For your understanding....generally any mixture of wire sizes in a circuit requires the circuit breaker to be sized to the smallest ampacity if I have 12 and 14 mixed I would have to install a 15 amp breaker but never do this mixing of wires it isn't worth the risk of a improper 20 amp breaker being put on that circuit someday. Bathrooms receptacles at one time could be on 15 amp circuits but no longer so mixing 12 and 14 in your bathroom and putting the circuit on a 15 amp breaker is still not acceptable. As you already seem to know the bathroom receptacle must be on a 20 amp circuit and if that circuit serves the rest of the bathroom besides receptacles it can't leave that bathroom and is dedicated as you mentioned. What you might not know is if that circuit serves a fan/heater/light that is fixed in place that stuff can't exceed 10 amps total load or 50% of the 20 amp circuit.


Last edited by Stubbie; 09-20-2007 at 11:22 AM.
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