before i switch the electric back on.....

Hi, Before i switch the electric back on i wanted to get some second opinions. I have an existing #12 wire which comes directly out of the circuit box in the basement and runs up the side of my house, which is connected to an outlet and another #14 wire is spliced into that box and then that goes to another outlet. Those are the only 2 things connected to this circuit. What i did was take the #12 out of the outlet and put it in a large junction box, then i brought these wires into this box: 1. the wire going to one outlet in that room 2. the wire going to another outlet in that room 3. a wire attached to a switch controlling an attic fan 4. a new wire that i am running to add another outlet in another room
So all in all, 5 wires are being spliced together - - - I wrapped all the blacks together and capped them with a red wire nut and all the whites together and all the grounds together (as each location branching out of this box is separately grounded to the receptacle or switch)
The junction box that i got was the largest one that i could find and does not seem to be overloaded - so....my question is: does this sound like too many wires spliced together -or am I ok?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I have been doing simple wiring in my house but i just want to make sure that i am not overloading the one incoming wire.
thanks! amy
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All your cables should be the same size. #12 is a 20 amp cable and #14 is a 15 amp cable. In your situation, just be sure the circuit breaker is a 15 amp. There is no actual number of outlets permitted on a circuit in residential wiring, so five outlets on a circuit is fine, provided you're not planning on powering any devices that would overload the 15 amps. If the junction box is of ample size, there should be no problem there. Junction boxes are labeled with their cu. in. capacity, and you are allowed just so many conductors per cu. in. , which varies by the size of the conductors.
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Hi and thanks for your reply,
I am sure that the breaker in basement says 20amp and the incoming wire (from the breaker box in the basement) is #12 - - but, whoever added the additional outlet in that room, used a #14 wire and connected it to the #12. (and , BTW....i also had the house inspected and they never reported anything wrong)
What *can* happen if there are 2 #12s (i forgot to say that the additional line that i ran to the other room was a #12 wire) as well as the 3 #14's in the box?
I made sure to tightly wrap all 5 wires together, screw the cap on and tug before i then liberally wrapped them in electrical tape.
Thanks again for any info you could provide!
-Amy
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On Fri, 20 Feb 2009 06:26:36 -0800 (PST), snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

To be legal as well as safe, change the breaker to a 15A. #14 wire can not safely handle 20A. Breakers are cheap and easy to change. Otherwise you'd have to change the #14 wire to a #12, but I dont think you want to do that, unless the walls are open.
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wrote:

Unless the #12 is aluminum - in which case it is ALSO only good for 15 amps. Anyway, do as the man said - put a 15 amp breaker on that circuit.
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Hi and thanks for your reply,
I am sure that the breaker in basement says 20amp and the incoming wire (from the breaker box in the basement) is #12 - - but, whoever added the additional outlet in that room, used a #14 wire and connected it to the #12. (and , BTW....i also had the house inspected and they never reported anything wrong)
What *can* happen if there are 2 #12s (i forgot to say that the additional line that i ran to the other room was a #12 wire) as well as the 3 #14's in the box?
I made sure to tightly wrap all 5 wires together, screw the cap on and tug before i then liberally wrapped them in electrical tape.
Thanks again for any info you could provide!
-Amy
Inspectors have no magic abilities to find these things, so I wouldn't put too much stock in their findings. There is the possibility that the smaller conductors can be overloaded, possibly causing an unsafe condition. The prudent thing to do, is replace the 20 amp breaker with a 15 amp
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On Feb 20, 9:26am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

The issue here is the capacity of the circuit. The breaker must be sized for the SMALLEST wire in the circuit, no matter what is coming out of the breaker. In your case, that is #14. #14's maximum legal capacity is 15A.
What *can* happen is you overload the segment of the circuit that has the #14 wire and cause a fire on a 20A breaker. With a 15A breaker the breaker *should* trip before that happens.
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

I thought the red nuts only held a max of 3 #12 wires? Or was it 4? I had to add an extender box to the 4" octagon in the attic, when I was cleaning up previous owner's half-ass wiring job in the bathroom. I think I ended up with 6 red nuts in there. Not pretty, and probably not strictly to code, but a hell of lot safer than what I ripped out. (Single-layer box with no lid, no cable clamps, and loosely twisted splices floating up in the air, with wire nuts just sort of sitting on them, not even snugged down onto the wires.) All the connections I made passed the 'pull on the wirenut as hard as I can' snug test.
I'll mention in passing, that I found that mess in the attic, a month after I had a 'qualified licensed electrician' inspect the whole house for problems. He obviously never opened the attic hatch. That'll teach me- never have tradesmen on site when I'm not here, even if I have to use up vacation days to do it. I don't care if I have to pay the Dagwood premium for the call- I'm gonna stand there and watch.
The package the wirenuts came in should list the max number of wires per connection, for each size of wire. And do tug on the wires, and the nuts, before you turn the power back on. An intermittent connection is worse than no connection. 3 outlets and a ceiling fan on a single breaker should not be a problem on a #12 wire, as long as you aren't running electric heaters all at the same time or something. That would be a typical load for one bedroom in a modern house.
-- aem, no electrician, sends...
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