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Old 02-22-2009, 02:56 PM   #1
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Red wire is HOT


Is it general practice to use a 12/3 RED wire from the circuit breaker to transfer HOT current?

This is from existing wiring done inside the house. So basically there's a 12/3 going into a 2-gang box behind a receptacle.
This 2-gang box resides in a hallway and acts as a main HUB for the wiring of the Kitchen ceiling lights, kitchen plugs, and Family room outlets. The 12/3 has both Black and Red wires that are HOT and are controlled by two different circuit breaker switches. Mainly the RED wire powers the Kitchen lights and the Black wire powers all of the Outlets in both rooms.

This this normal?

Also which is a better practice to splice the Power from, black wire from/to the outlets to wire ceiling lights or go with the existing wiring method of the kitchen, and splice into the RED wire?

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Old 02-22-2009, 03:01 PM   #2
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Red wire is HOT


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Is it general practice to use a 12/3 RED wire from the circuit breaker to transfer HOT current?

This is from existing wiring done inside the house. So basically there's a 12/3 going into a 2-gang box behind a receptacle.
This 2-gang box resides in a hallway and acts as a main HUB for the wiring of the Kitchen ceiling lights, kitchen plugs, and Family room outlets. The 12/3 has both Black and Red wires that are HOT and are controlled by two different circuit breaker switches. Mainly the RED wire powers the Kitchen lights and the Black wire powers all of the Outlets in both rooms.

This this normal?

Also which is a better practice to splice the Power from, black wire from/to the outlets to wire ceiling lights or go with the existing wiring method of the kitchen, and splice into the RED wire?
Yes its normal, its called a multi-wire branch circuit, what ever you do, do not disconnect the neutral splice without first turning off the power.

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Old 02-22-2009, 03:10 PM   #3
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Red wire is HOT


whoa thanks for the super quick reply...

Although I will not do it.... what will happen if you do disconnect the white wire(neutral) without turning off the circuit breaker first? And by turning off the circuit breaker you are referring to both breakers that powers both the BLACK and RED right?
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Old 02-22-2009, 03:16 PM   #4
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whoa thanks for the super quick reply...

Although I will not do it.... what will happen if you do disconnect the white wire(neutral) without turning off the circuit breaker first? And by turning off the circuit breaker you are referring to both breakers that powers both the BLACK and RED right?

If you disconnected the neutral with both breakers ON, the circuit would become a 240v series circuit, this usually lets the smoke out on any electronic devices.
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Old 02-22-2009, 03:20 PM   #5
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Red wire is HOT


haha...yeah I don't want to see smoke...
now is that 240V combined from both red and black or from each individually?
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:22 PM   #6
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Red wire is HOT


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haha...yeah I don't want to see smoke...
now is that 240V combined from both red and black or from each individually?
In respect to each other.
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:35 PM   #7
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haha...yeah I don't want to see smoke...
I was on a house renovation once, opened up a j-box in the basment and wouldn't you know it a wire nut came falling to the ground... I Heard the carpenters start yelling upstairs, luckily it only fried the owners surge protector. Not his PC plugged into it... Not my fault, just bad luck.
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Old 02-22-2009, 04:59 PM   #8
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Red wire is HOT


If the red wire goes all the way back to the panel and to a breaker, it is more or less your choice whether to splice on to that red wire to continue on or splice onto the black wire to continue on. They are treated as two different branch circuits respectively when you are continuing on with 120 volts.

If a particular branch circuit must have its own breaker, for example one of the kitchen countertop receptacle circuits, once you splice onto either the red or black wire in your junction box, additional wires going to other places may not be spliced onto that hot wire (red or black) in the J-box to be part of the same 120 volt branch circuit. The neutrals for both the red and black 120 volt branch circuits continuing on are connected to the single neutral back to the panel for this red/black combination.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:01 PM   #9
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If a particular branch circuit must have its own breaker, for example one of the kitchen countertop receptacle circuits, once you splice onto either the red or black wire in your junction box, additional wires going to other places may not be spliced onto that hot wire (red or black) in the J-box to be part of the same 120 volt branch circuit. The neutrals for both the red and black 120 volt branch circuits continuing on are connected to the single neutral back to the panel for this red/black combination.

Sorry for confusion..but I was to make sure I understand this.

So for now I have two HOT wires from a single 12/3, coming in from the breaker, a branch circuit. Both the Red and Black have their own circuit breaker switch. Since the RED wire is already spliced into the Kitchen Lights already, I cannot splice additional Family room lights onto a separate 3-way switch circuit even I wire all the neutral wires together?

I guess I'm really confused about the part you mentioned, "If a particular branch circuit must have its own breaker," because both of the RED and BLACK wires have their own breaker switch already.

What's the rule for not being able to splice to additional places from this branched circuit if it has it's own breaker?
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:08 PM   #10
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Sorry for confusion..but I was to make sure I understand this.

So for now I have two HOT wires from a single 12/3, coming in from the breaker, a branch circuit. Both the Red and Black have their own circuit breaker switch. Since the RED wire is already spliced into the Kitchen Lights already, I cannot splice additional Family room lights onto a separate 3-way switch circuit even I wire all the neutral wires together?

I guess I'm really confused about the part you mentioned, "If a particular branch circuit must have its own breaker," because both of the RED and BLACK wires have their own breaker switch already.

What's the rule for not being able to splice to additional places from this branched circuit if it has it's own breaker?

If lights are already on one of the two circuits I would not worry about adding some lights on the family room.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:15 PM   #11
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Red wire is HOT


Sounds good...
I just wanted to make sure I understood AllanJ's advice and warnings.


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I
If a particular branch circuit must have its own breaker, for example one of the kitchen countertop receptacle circuits, once you splice onto either the red or black wire in your junction box, additional wires going to other places may not be spliced onto that hot wire (red or black) in the J-box to be part of the same 120 volt branch circuit. The neutrals for both the red and black 120 volt branch circuits continuing on are connected to the single neutral back to the panel for this red/black combination.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:17 PM   #12
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Sounds good...
I just wanted to make sure I understood AllanJ's advice and warnings.

He was saying if those circuits supplied counter receptacles then you could not use them.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:40 PM   #13
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Red wire is HOT


Thanks for the help everyone, but I'm sorry if I keep sounding like and idiot!

But why can't you use them? Even if the Neutral wires are wired together?

Last edited by genner; 02-22-2009 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:47 PM   #14
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I'm so sorry for being such a newbie!

But why can't you use them?
Nec requires two small appliance circuits, these circuits can only serve the kitchen, pantry, breakfast room, and dining room receptacles only.
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Old 02-22-2009, 07:48 PM   #15
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Red wire is HOT


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Thanks for the help everyone, but I'm sorry if I keep sounding like and idiot!

But why can't you use them? Even if the Neutral wires are wired together?
I think you can use them.

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