Running a 20A circuit on two parallel wires gauged 15A

davidro1April 30, 2010

I have a spare wire in the wall (not connected at the box either). I don't know if it's possible to use it as a load sharer to turn a 15A circuit into a 20A kitchen counter circuit accompanied with the appropriate new breaker (20A) in the box. Physically it would be two wires in parallel (each for a 15A load).

Thank you for any and all insight.

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1. is it 14/2?
2. do you mean to wire this 14/2 in parallel with an already existing 14/2 - 15amp circuit already in place?
3. to every box on that circuit?

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 1:40PM
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davidro1, what you propose is not at all possible.
You need #12 for a 20A circuit.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 4:59PM
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1. Yes it's a 14/2
2. Yes it's wired in parallel with an existing 14/2 15A circuit
3. Yes to the one and only box on that circuit

Amperage would be shared 50% / 50% over the two wires

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 7:27PM
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actually if you check using 14/2 for parallel runs is against NEC.. so it would be not to code..

would it actually work..yes..but are the runs of wire the same length..say plus/minus a foot? then it should work fine.but otherwise..maybe not


    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 7:40PM
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I don't care how the amperage is split. It is against code and a really bad idea.

It seems to me you are simply looking for someone to tell you it is OK, regardless of what anyone else says.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 9:58PM
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lay off, and hold back, petey_racer. Until dkenny wrote about Code, no-one had . Not you.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2010 at 10:42PM
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you can not parallel anything smaller than 1/0
end of story

310.4 Conductors in Parallel.
(A) General. Aluminum, copper-clad aluminum, or copper
conductors of size 1/0 AWG and larger, comprising each
phase, polarity, neutral, or grounded circuit conductor shall be permitted to be connected in parallel (electrically joined
at both ends).

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 12:20AM
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Given the reaction of davidro to the best of the responses, it is evident that the original post was not seeking advice but approbation.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 2:54PM
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I read davidro's reaction much differently.

petey_racer told him no, but did not say why. Continuing to ask questions and offer counters is appropriate at that point. petey_racer had not said it was against code, and davidro did not continue to argue the point after such was stated.

I conclude that davidro did not know whether or not his proposal was against code, and was thus inquiring.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 9:08PM
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If someone is told by several professionals something cannot, or should not, be done, then one should assume it is either illegal or a code violation.

What possible reason would we have to tell him it cannot be done when it in fact can be done?? What would the motivation be for that?? I mean seriously.

Thank you Bus for the confirmation of my gut feeling.

And NO David, I will NOT "hold back" or "lay off". That's not what I do.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2010 at 10:51PM
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Have a wonderful Sunday.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 9:56AM
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two things will never cease to amaze me.... people who come to an internet forum for advice. Then when it's not what they want to hear they get upset and claim they are not a rookie, they really do know what they're doing.

and how people are willing to risk the safety of their house in order to save a few bucks.

Just because something will work when you jerry rig it together doesn't mean it's a good idea and or safe. If you were so much smarter than the NEC and people with decades of experience, why even come here and make your post?

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 12:05PM
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nobody said that is what is happening here.

Some people project a lot.
Please cool down for 48 hours and I'll be happy to add more context later.
Nothing now.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 2:49PM
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I know who the professionals in here are. I've also been using this forum for over five years.

You, petey_racer, also know who's who. I don't know how long you've been here. I think you're new since my release from MSP.

davidro1 probably did not.

So "a bunch of people" very vaguely told him, without explanation, that he could not do it. Nobody said whether it wouldn't work, or whether it was a code violation, or whether they had any basis to their statement.

When someone I don't know claims, very vaguely, that something I have asked will not work, I believe I am entitled to some semblance of a hint as to what their statement is based on.

Yes, if someone with valid qualifications tells me no, they are probably right, but I still might want to understand why - and in any case, I should not be required to assume that anybody who replies to me in a forum I'm not a regular of must be a professional. It could very well be another person with even less knowledge/qualification than myself. If I asked a question, and you gave me a vague answer ("no"), I too would expect more.

It is not fair to jump down someone's throat for wanting to understand an answer, and there is nothing wrong with QUESTIONING an answer from an unknown (TO THE ASKER) source.

OP: Can I do this?
REG1: No
REG2: No
REG3: Maybe
OP: Maybe?
REG1: No, now get the hell out.

Way to build a community. "Here's your answer, short and sweet, now go away."

    Bookmark   May 2, 2010 at 9:59PM
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To the OP, what you are proposing would "work" but it isn't legal. You're obviously familiar with the basic rules of electricity, so you probably knew that already.

As for the reason why, it isn't super complicated. As long as both wire had roughly the same resistance, it would split the current roughly 50/50. However, what happens if 1 of those connections comes loose or you get a little corrosion somewhere? All/most of the current then goes down just 1 of the wires. Let's say you were pulling 17 amps at the time. It wouldn't trip the 20 amp breaker, but it would exceed the limited for the 1 functioning 14/2. You would get heat and possibly fire.

Contrast that to what happens with 1 run of 12/2. If something gets loose or corroded, an outlet stops working. You get an immediate signal that something is broken AND you don't create a dangerous situation.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 11:14AM
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did my post not show up or something?

You can not parallel anything smaller than 1/0. There is no "well this might work".
This is a not an electrical theory board, it's an advice DIY board of what can be done safely and legally.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 6:34PM
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Well, that's something which has changed in the last six years. I personally joined, in 2003, because there were knowledgeable people here willing to give the legal answer AND answer questions as to why.

I remember this being a quite civil forum in that respect.

y'know what

screw it

human beings ain't worth my damn time.

I quit.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 6:43PM
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The responses on this thread were civil until the one
"lay off, and hold back, petey_racer. Until dkenny wrote about Code, no-one had . Not you."

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 7:12PM
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Mr. pharkus, many of your posts are/were as prone to incitement as anyone else's.
So your attitudes in this thread are quite "pot-kettle-black" in my oh so very humble opinion.

Take care, you will not be missed.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2010 at 8:51PM
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and girls,

i told you to take a breather
did i tell you to wait?

now you've stirred the pot
all of you

bad baad people
leave it alone when you're told to
oh no how dare you tell me to go focus somewhere else
you go focus-you, off!
you must have bad intentions
you and your wrong mindedness!
we know, we see correlations before anyone else can
each and every one of us
and together, we support one another


pharkus' first post in this thread concurred with my situation.

pharkus' second post in this thread concurred with my thoughts.

thank you to bill-el as well
for adding contextual discussion


so that is it
mystery solved

care for more excitement?
jump the gun again
a good time will be had by all
in the core group
once again

help me to recognize you
make it be known
you've gone to tattoo U

-d r 1

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 4:22PM
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Hopefully the articulate and often entertaining 'pharkus' is just on a brief sabbatical... perhaps a sort of "spa day"... the kind involving coconut oil and young Asian women... but in a... THS family-values sort of way. ;')

Seriously, his tales of "Down East" redneck Yankee house wiring are a healthy dose of comic relief around here. I wish I could get RSS pings when they are updated, LOL!

    Bookmark   May 4, 2010 at 10:19PM
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