12/2 vs 14/2 romex

sam066August 19, 2013

I have an old house. It was built in 1952. My circuit panel has 6 circuit breakers. Two of them are connected to each other. I have a sub panel mounted outside to handle more circuits because when I put in a pool a few years ago the inspector made the electrician do than. I want to tap into a wall circuit in my bedroom and run a line outside so I will have an outside plug. It appears my breakers are 15 amp (except those going to the pool). I have some 12/2 romex. Can I use 12 ga. wire on a 15 amp circuit without any trouble?

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weedmeister

yes. but the 14/2 would be easier to deal with (less stiff).

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 9:55PM
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jreagan_gw

Don't forget that the outside plug should be a GFCI in the proper enclosure.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 12:00PM
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sam066

I opened up the inside circuit this morning and found that it is not grounded. The romex on both the load and lead lines only have black and white wires. If I pigtail the ground wire from my new romex to the inside plug and run it to the box for my outside plug or to the outside GFCI plug will that do any good? That will make it really crowded in there because I have to pigtail the load lines to the outside plug.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 1:17PM
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Ron Natalie

A GFCI does not require a ground to work. If there is no ground and you put a GFCI in you need to mark it "NO EQUIPMENT GROUND". There's probably a sticker in the packaging with those words on it already.

As JReagan points out, don't forget to obtain a legitmate (wet location) outside box and in-use cover for it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 3:16PM
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sam066

Thanx guys. I'm new to this site and haven't done much elec work except with a guy I did some Handyman work with. He taught me a few things and I watched him do some stuff as well. He's not around any longer and I want to tackle a few thing around my old house myself. I hate to think that my house isn't grounded. Maybe this circuit is grounded somewhere along the way. You have been a big help, thanx again. I'm sure I will be back.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2013 at 3:50PM
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eline65

I have an old house as well. All the neutral lines are tied together and those are grounded.

I strongly recommend you consider replacing the main power box. Unfortunately, it's not cheap, and this will likely mean a complete rewire if you have the old two wire system, or at least a few grounded circuits added. you also might want to occasionally verify tempurature the few circuit breakers in our panel when you have a high load. Some might be getting overworked. FYI, 14 guage is rated for 15 amps. and 12 gauge is rated for 20 amp circuits.

Here is a link that might be useful: NFPA 70: NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CODE

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 12:12AM
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sam066

Replacing the main panel is something I have intended to do for many years. At one time, I had the resources to do it but then my wife got sick (cancer) and everything came to a stop. She's all better now and I am retired so I have to watch my expenses but it is on my to-do list.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 1:21PM
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sam066

Okay, here's another question. I've been reading that certain codes will not allow you to run romex through conduit in a wet location. I used 12/2 romex (yellow) and ran it through the grey PVC conduit. (see photo) is there a problem with that? All I did was tap into an inside plug in my bedroom and run it outside.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 8:45AM
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petey_racer

"Okay, here's another question. I've been reading that certain codes will not allow you to run romex through conduit in a wet location. I used 12/2 romex (yellow) and ran it through the grey PVC conduit. (see photo) is there a problem with that? All I did was tap into an inside plug in my bedroom and run it outside."

It'll probably be fine forever, but it IS a code violation.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:19AM
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petey_racer

"I strongly recommend you consider replacing the main power box. Unfortunately, it's not cheap, and this will likely mean a complete rewire if you have the old two wire system, or at least a few grounded circuits added."

Sorry, this is flat wrong. A panel change or service upgrade DOES NOT require or mean a "complete rewire" is needed.
This is a misconception perpetuated by lay folks who don't know proper codes and standard practices.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 9:22AM
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sam066

Okay, if it is a code violation, what should I use?

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 11:04AM
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Ron Natalie

Which code violation are you talking about? If you're talking about wet locations, you must use something approved for wet locations: THWN individual conduclors or UF for example.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 1:38PM
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btharmy

Also, the receptacle cover used in the picture is only approved for "supervised use" locations. Meaning, anything plugged in will not be left unattended such as holiday lighting. Otherwise, an in use (bubble) cover is required.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 2:46PM
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bcarlson78248

My house was built in 1940 and although the electrical service had been upgraded to breakers, I only had seven circuits. I had an electrician do a "heavy up" upgrade to a 200 amp service breaker box about 3 months ago, and it was relatively straightforward. The house had mostly 2 wire outlets, and the metal flexible conduit was used to ground all the metal outlet boxes together. There was also 2 newer utility outlets in the basement that used modern 12/3 and 14/3 romex. The range and dryer were gas and I had no A/C, and the kitchen did not have a dishwasher, microwave or disposal, so the initial electrical load was okay with only seven circuits.

I got prices on the heavy up that varied from $1950 to $2800, and I took the low offer because it was a very experienced electrician who was interested in part-time work. Everything was done with a permit and inspected by the city. He had no issues with connecting the old wiring to the new box since he was experienced with it, and I now have a 200 amp box with 30 breakers. Note: he also replaced the meter base as part of the upgrade, and the power company upgraded the incoming overhead line.

Bruce

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 8:00PM
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Ron Natalie

I suspect your "flexible metal conduit" is in fact, an older armored cable (e.g., BX).

    Bookmark   August 25, 2013 at 11:43PM
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bcarlson78248

The old cable probably is BX, but I don't think I could tell the difference between BX and the cable they currently sell in the home stores (which is not BX?), so just consider it a generic description. Its flexible metal and has only 2 wires inside.

The main point I was making is that the heavy up did not seem to be a big problem for a qualified electrician, and he integrated the old wiring with the new box. If the OP has even older wiring, it may be a more complicated job.

Bruce

    Bookmark   August 26, 2013 at 5:33AM
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