14/2 Guage wire back to 20A breaker

yazkFebruary 10, 2011

Hi there,

My electrician is finishing the 'rough-in' work for our kitchen renovation and I was surprized to see the lighting setup.

He is taking a feed from a new 20A circuit breaker. I am not sure what guage the wire is coming from the breaker as it is in BX/armored cable. However at the first junction box it is split into 12/2 cable feeding some outlets and 14/2 cable feeding the lights.

Is this a problem? I always thought you could only use a 15A breaker if anywhere along the route a 14/2 cable was used. I want to ask him but he's left for the day and would like some advice before I see him tomorrow.

Thanks!

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terribletom

"However at the first junction box it is split into 12/2 cable feeding some outlets and 14/2 cable feeding the lights. Is this a problem?"

Yes, if you have correctly described the situation, it IS a problem.

There are some very narrowly defined circumstances in which a short length of #14 wire might conceivably be used for as a fixture whip on a 20-amp circuit, but at first glance, your description does not appear to fit those circumstances.

Another issue that could be in play has to do with whether the "outlets" fed by the 12/2 cables are small appliance receptacles (e.g., along the kitchen counter, a work island or dining room). If that's the case, regardless of wire size, receptacles and lighting cannot be on the same circuit.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 11:48AM
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brickeyee

If there is ANY #14 wire in the circuit the WHOLE CIRCUIT must be derated to 15 amps.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 11:50AM
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wayne440

It would be an issue if it were in my house.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 12:11PM
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terribletom

Nor mine. It's all quite academic, but...

I think that if you wend your way through the tortured cross-referenced paths running through 210.19(A)(4) Exception No.1 (b), 410.117, and 210.20(B) you'll conclude that there's a narrow exception applying to luminaire whips of conforming lengths and wiring methods whereunder the presence of a #14 tap does not require derating of the circuit to 15 amps. But, like I said, it does not appear to apply here.

In any case, I consider Brick's comment, as phrased, to be correct because the whip is not considered part of the branch circuit -- it's a fixture connector.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2011 at 12:29PM
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brickeyee

"In any case, I consider Brick's comment, as phrased, to be correct because the whip is not considered part of the branch circuit -- it's a fixture connector."

Since the #14 run is "14/2 cable feeding the lights" it is not being used as a whip to a single fixture and the 'whip' exception does not apply.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 10:03AM
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terribletom

1. "your description does not appear to fit those circumstances."

2. "But, like I said, it does not appear to apply here."

Meh, but it's important who gets the last word, sooo...

"the 'whip' exception does not apply."

You win. TYVM.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2011 at 10:42AM
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