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Old 02-11-2011, 01:12 PM   #1
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New 20 amp braker to panel. Can I use 14 gauge from dimmer to light fixture?


Hello,

I am adding a new 20 amp breaker to my panel to wire 2 new chandeliers. Along the way I am adding some junction boxes in case I want to add new receptacles along the way in the future. I will use 12 gauge wire from breaker to junction box and then dimmer. From dimmer to chandelier I was planning on using 14 gauge wire since I know no other appliance will go on this part of the circuit.

Is this a code violation? Or should I just wire the entire circuit with 12 gauge wire?

I am doing most of the wiring in the attic. Is it better or worse for me to use a plastic conduit (not PVC or metal)? This would make wiring easier for me but does that mean I need to use a higher gauge wire because of difficulty of heat dissipation?

Any input will be very much appreciated.
Thank you very much in advance,
Ana

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Old 02-11-2011, 01:16 PM   #2
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New 20 amp braker to panel. Can I use 14 gauge from dimmer to light fixture?


What is the point? Either make it a 15 amp circuit or use 12 gauge to the fixture.

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Old 02-11-2011, 01:17 PM   #3
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New 20 amp braker to panel. Can I use 14 gauge from dimmer to light fixture?


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Originally Posted by nlako View Post
Or should I just wire the entire circuit with 12 gauge wire?
yes, you should do this.
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Old 02-11-2011, 02:02 PM   #4
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New 20 amp braker to panel. Can I use 14 gauge from dimmer to light fixture?


Yes it would be a code violation to use the #14 on the 20 amp circuit. You are creating a fire hazard.
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Old 02-11-2011, 04:05 PM   #5
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New 20 amp braker to panel. Can I use 14 gauge from dimmer to light fixture?


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Originally Posted by nlako View Post
... From dimmer to chandelier I was planning on using 14 gauge wire since I know no other appliance will go on this part of the circuit. ...
Yes, it's a code violation. Here's the problem. You "know" nothing else is on the circuit. But what happens if there's a short? The 14ga can only carry 15A (ignoring safety margins here), but the breaker won't trip until it hits over 20A. Therefore the 14Ga could overheat and start a fire. Hence the code restriction.

You could swap out the 20A for a 15A PROVIDED you can run the circuit off a 15A (less than 15A potential draw, and no code requirement for 20A, like SABC in kitchen). However, if you do that, please write "14Ga in Circuit" on the 12Ga wire at the panel so someone years from now doesn't swap the 15A out for a 20A. I'd consider it poor form to do it, but it's legal.
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:19 PM   #6
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New 20 amp braker to panel. Can I use 14 gauge from dimmer to light fixture?


Thank You everyone for your answers.

I bought 12 gauge wire and a 20 Amp breaker and will run everything on 12 gauge. Not much difference cost-wise. I'll use the extra 14g I have to replace "decaying wiring" on other circuits running from 15 Amp breakers. The previous homeowner took shortcuts everywhere and covered up his mistakes making it even harder for me to fix. I would hate to be the same way.

Any thoughts on using conduits? This product
http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-...atalogId=10053

Thanks again
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Old 02-11-2011, 09:38 PM   #7
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New 20 amp braker to panel. Can I use 14 gauge from dimmer to light fixture?


If you want to think about using a raceway system there is a non-metallic flex conduit called ENT for electrical non-metallic tubing. It typically comes in 10' lengths or a 100' roll and is either blue or gray in color. You can cut it with a razor knife and the fittings click on.

The conduit you linked to is typically used outside.

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