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Old 12-19-2009, 04:32 PM   #1
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Residential Electrical Questions


I am selling my house, and some electrical issues have arisen from the inspection report. I have been able to track down what the problems are, but I am unsure if they are really problems that I need to fix to sell the house.

First, there is some 14 AWG wire running to a 20A circuit breaker. I tracked down the circuit, and the only thing connect to it are a GFIC receptacle in the master bath and a downstream receptacle in the hall bath. I'm not so sure this is an issue since the circuit will be pulling far fewer than 20A. If they force the issue, my intended remedy is to replace the 20A breaker with a 15A, but are there code issues with having a bathroom GFI circuit on a 15A breaker?

Second, there is a wire running through the panel box without being connected to anything inside the panel. This one took a bit of research, but I finally figured out that it is the low-voltage power wire running from the transformer (which is mounted to the bottom of the panel, inside the drywall) to the doorbell chime. The transformer is also wired with 14 AWG wire to a 20A breaker inside the panel. Is there any major issue with a low-voltage wire passing through the panel? I'm not sure how I could fix that one without destroying some drywall.

Thanks in advance.

Dan

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Old 12-19-2009, 04:38 PM   #2
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The bathroom is required to be 20amp and GFCI protected, you would need to change the 14awg to 12awg.

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Old 12-19-2009, 04:39 PM   #3
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You can't have #14 wire on a 20a circuit
Bathroom by code requires a dedicated 20a circuit, so you can't install a 15a breaker
You need to replace the #14 with 12g wire

Wires can pass thru the panel...as long as there is enough room
Again #14 should not be on 20a breaker
Unless the #14 wire is part of the transformer - pre-wired
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Old 12-19-2009, 04:45 PM   #4
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You can't have #14 wire on a 20a circuit
Bathroom by code requires a dedicated 20a circuit, so you can't install a 15a breaker
You need to replace the #14 with 12g wire

Wires can pass thru the panel...as long as there is enough room
Again #14 shoudl nopt be on 20a breaker
Unless the #14 wire is part of the transformer - pre-wired
I was afraid of the bathroom/GFI requirements. I guess I could just use the 14 awg as a "fish tape" to pull through some new 12 awg wire.

The transformer wire is a molded connector with 14 awg wire, so there's not much I can do about that one other than change it to a 15A breaker.
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Old 12-19-2009, 04:46 PM   #5
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nevermind I screwed that post all up.

Last edited by 300zx; 12-19-2009 at 04:48 PM.
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Old 12-19-2009, 04:48 PM   #6
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How old is the house? There were times when bath receptacles could be on 15A circuit.
If it was code when the house was built you are NOT required to upgrade.
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Old 12-19-2009, 04:49 PM   #7
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If you live in Canada you are good just to switch the breaker to a 15A.
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Old 12-19-2009, 04:51 PM   #8
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Changing the breaker to a 15 amp breaker should be fine, there is no code requirement to have 20 amp circuits to a bathroom if that bathroom was built before the 20 amp requirement became part of the electrical code. I would just change it to 15 amp and you are fine. My guess is that at some time someone added the 20 amp in place of the 15 amp breaker. This would be a code violation placing 14 awg on a 20 amp breaker . Most likely because the hair dyers or other appliances used in the bathroom were causing issues with tripping the 15 amp breaker. You are not required to update the bathroom to 20 amps if the home is grandfathered but you are required to put in the 15 amp breaker.


The low voltage wire is not supposed to be ran with the higher voltage
wires ...is it an issue that would keep the house from selling?
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Old 12-19-2009, 05:07 PM   #9
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The problem is that while this house was built in 1971, it was renovated by the previous owner. I'm not entirely sure when the renovation happened, but I think it was in the 2003-2005 time frame. Does anyone know when the 20A GFI circuit requirement was added to the code? If it was added in the NEC 2005 or 2008, I should be grandfathered in regardless. Otherwise, I might be screwed.
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:09 PM   #10
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Unless they completely renovated the bathroom you have no worries other than to replace the 20 with a 15.
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:18 PM   #11
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I think that most of the discussion about code is irrelevant, since you are selling your house, not pulling a permit for an electrical upgrade. If your buyer thinks there are electrical issues, you can negotiate a price reduction in the house for the new owner to make the repairs. If the new owner does not care, no problem. There is no requirement that you bring a house up to current code to sell it, else most of the sales in the United States would never happen.
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:38 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
I think that most of the discussion about code is irrelevant, since you are selling your house, not pulling a permit for an electrical upgrade. If your buyer thinks there are electrical issues, you can negotiate a price reduction in the house for the new owner to make the repairs. If the new owner does not care, no problem. There is no requirement that you bring a house up to current code to sell it, else most of the sales in the United States would never happen.
I disagree.

No one is saying that he has to bring the house up to current code. We are saying the opposite in fact.

I personally am opposed to "negotiating" price based on a HI report. It seems the sole purpose of HI's these days is giving the potential buyer ammunition for slashing the asking price of a house.

If work was done after the home was built I DO think it is on the seller to correct any problems. The fact is it was they that created the problems.
If the work, original or renovation, was proper and done to code at the time of the work I feel the seller is NOT responsible to do anything!
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:44 PM   #13
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There is an existing 20a circuit to the bathrooms
To downgrade that to a 15a is a violation of code IMO
Not a matter of meeting current code, it's a matter of fixing the wrong gauge wire on a 20a circuit

And something that may be easily fixed to remove any issue in the sale of a house is a good thing IMO
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Old 12-19-2009, 06:46 PM   #14
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Agree the breaker isn't against the code the wire is.
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Old 12-19-2009, 07:05 PM   #15
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So what is the consensus? They are sending over an electrician to follow up on the home inspection, and he will be here on Monday. I can replace both of the breakers with 15A ones, or not. But which will be less likely to raise a red flag, wrong size wire on a 20A breaker or a wrong sized circuit for a bathroom with the correct size wire? Should I go ahead and replace the 20A breaker for the doorbell transformer with a 15A?

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