DIY Home Improvement Forum banner
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
There is a 20 amp breaker in my panel that has four receptacles connected to it. Two of the receptacles are in the living room and the other two are in the kitchen. One of the kitchen outlets is a GFCI outlet and one of the two outlets in the living room is wired in series (I apologize if that is the wrong terminology) with the GFCI outlet. Please note all four receptacles are 15 amp duplex outlets.

I run my home theater off of the living room outlet that is not connected in series with the GFCI outlet and at times it draws a large amount of current.

I had an issue with that particular outlet. A plug partially melted and I had difficulty removing the plug. After I was able to remove the plug, I threw out the detachable power cable and had an electrician come to replace the outlet. He believes that the plug melted due to a poor connection with the outlet. He removed the original receptacle and replaced it. However, when he rewired the receptacle, he removed the "jumper" that was connected via pigtail to the 12 awg from the panel and replaced it with a new jumper that is 14 awg. I only found this out after he completed the work as I asked him about the wire gauge to confirm that I had 12 awg from the panel. I expressed some concern about the use of 14 awg and he stated that it was perfectly fine, conforms to code and makes it easier to place the outlet back into the box.

Does it seem ok to run 14 awg to the outlet when the wire from the panel is 12 awg? Should I have any safety concerns?

I can bypass that outlet by connecting my equipment to the living room outlet wired in series with the GFCI. However, I had concerns about connecting my equipment to an outlet wired in series with the the kitchen GFCI (tripping the GFCI, current limiting, etc.). Should I have any concerns about that?
 

·
Civil Engineer
Joined
·
5,832 Posts
The breaker is intended to protect the wire. A 20 amp breaker requires #12 wire, a 15 amp breaker requires #14 wire. So if you have a 20 amp circuit that uses #12 wire, you cannot add an outlet using #14 wire. Your "electrician" should know this. I suggest you call them to discuss.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
The breaker is intended to protect the wire. A 20 amp breaker requires #12 wire, a 15 amp breaker requires #14 wire. So if you have a 20 amp circuit that uses #12 wire, you cannot add an outlet using #14 wire. Your "electrician" should know this. I suggest you call them to discuss.
Thanks - I called the electrician earlier in the week and they refuse to correct the situation stating it is fine and within code. They will only come back if I can provide the code they violated. I called the Building Service department for the city I live in and initially they stated it was against code, but now they are telling me they cannot find a specific violation in the code.

I'm not to handy, so it looks like I may have to pay again to remedy the outlet - very frustrating and a waste of money, but based on what I've been reading I can't rest easy knowing my family's safety may be compromised. Also, a bit scary because ordinarily I would not have payed much attention to what he was doing and I would have no idea he used 14 awg wire.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
289 Posts
Um, it's very much in the code. It is a footnote to table 310.16. You will see an asterisk beside #14, #12, and #10 AWG:

*Unless specifically permitted in 240.4(E) through (G), the overcurrent protection shall not exceed 15 amperes for 14 AWG, 20 amperes for 12 AWG, and 30 amperes for 10 AWG copper; or 15 amperes for 12 AWG and 25 amperes for 10 AWG aluminum and copper-clad aluminum after any correction factors for ambient temperature and number of conductors have been applied.

So unless you got something going on that is covered in 240.4 (e) through (g), which I doubt, They are mistaken. I would ask them to show me where they COULD tail a # 14 to a 20 amp OCP device.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,256 Posts
I am not an electrician.

It is my understanding that the circuit with your 4 receptacles are in series. It depends where the GFI outlet is that determines what will trip in it and after it. Interpreting what you're saying probably means the living room is wired closest to the breaker panel and the kitchen then follows. That means the last receptacle is in the kitchen after the GFI.

All receptacles (duplex outlets) should be replaced with 20A units and the 15A present versions discarded. These are inexpensive and will provide you peace of mind. Then the 12 gauge wiring will easily fit either into the 'holes' provided in each duplex outlet or around the screws for connection. The screws, if you will, unscrew more to allow a thicker wire (12 gauge) to be connected. There is no need to pigtail a smaller gauge wire ie 14 gauge which is probably not code.

In on top, out on bottom, clean, code, safe.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
9,975 Posts
I am not an electrician.

It is my understanding that the circuit with your 4 receptacles are in series. It depends where the GFI outlet is that determines what will trip in it and after it. Interpreting what you're saying probably means the living room is wired closest to the breaker panel and the kitchen then follows. That means the last receptacle is in the kitchen after the GFI.

All receptacles (duplex outlets) should be replaced with 20A units and the 15A present versions discarded. These are inexpensive and will provide you peace of mind. Then the 12 gauge wiring will easily fit either into the 'holes' provided in each duplex outlet or around the screws for connection. The screws, if you will, unscrew more to allow a thicker wire (12 gauge) to be connected. There is no need to pigtail a smaller gauge wire ie 14 gauge which is probably not code.

In on top, out on bottom, clean, code, safe.
Why In the US this is not an issue!

In the US, #12 wire is not allowed to be back stabbed, so the holes will not be bigger.
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
16,891 Posts
All receptacles (duplex outlets) should be replaced with 20A units and the 15A present versions discarded. These are inexpensive and will provide you peace of mind. Then the 12 gauge wiring will easily fit either into the 'holes' provided in each duplex outlet or around the screws for connection. The screws, if you will, unscrew more to allow a thicker wire (12 gauge) to be connected. There is no need to pigtail a smaller gauge wire ie 14 gauge which is probably not code.

In on top, out on bottom, clean, code, safe.
The NEC allows a 15 amp duplex to be on a 20 amp circuit.

There is no need to change to a 20 amp T slot device. You are not going to find anything in the house with a 20 amp cord cap.

It does not matter which set of screws are line in or lone out or even if they are paired. The backstab hole are limited to #14 only. They are not for #12. A backwired device is different.
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top