Basic question about types of wiring for ceiling light fixture

westminsterMay 12, 2009

Hi. I'm working on replacing and rewiring a light fixture in my home, but I have a few very basic questions about the type of wire to use:

If I am pigtailing 2 #14 wires to 3 #14 wires, do I just use 14 gauge wire for the pigtails? (This is in an old ceiling box that has 5 B/X cables passing through it.) I know that generally you're supposed to use the same gauge wire for the pigtails as what you're connecting, but I wasn't sure if that was still the case where there will be multiple wires or whether I needed to use a thicker wire. And is the standard solid wire that you can get at Home Depot sufficient?

Also, I am rewiring an old pendant light fixture, where the wire is threaded along the outside of the fixture from the socket to the canopy. What kind of wire should I use for this? Is the standard brown lamp wire okay? The original wiring actually had two separate conductors on each side of the fixture.

Sorry for the very basic question, and thanks in advance for your help!

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Yes the wire from home depot will be fine. Whenever you are pigtailing or wiring for that sakes use the same wire throughout the circuit.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2009 at 7:11PM
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Ron Natalie

14g is probably all you need. Make sure that the fuse/breaker protecting this circuit is indeed a 15A one and you will be OK.

As for redoing the fixture there are several issues:

1. size
2. flexibility
3. whether the fixture is using the cord for hanging (you say it was a pendant but is it hanging by the cord?)
4. insulation temperature rating.

If you can't find something appropriate at home depot, there are usually stores around that service lighting fixtures that probably have what you need (if they can't just do it for you).

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 7:54AM
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Pigtails need to be the same guage as the circuit wires. You can use scrap pieces of NM wire for pigtails.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 8:36AM
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Thanks all for the advice on the pigtails. And yep, the breaker is 15A.

As for the light fixture, it hangs from two chains so the cord does not support any weight. When I went to HD, they suggested using the standard 16/2 lamp cord since it's brown and would blend in best with the brass fixture. It seemed fine as far as size and flexibility. But I wasn't sure if there was any reason that I should use something more "heavy-duty". Is there a specific insulation temperature rating I should be looking for? (The wire they gave me says 60 degrees Celsius on it).

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 8:59AM
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The final fixture wires are allowed to be as small as #18.

Unlike the permanent wiring their load is limited by the size and power of the bulbs you can place in the fixture.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2009 at 10:17AM
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