Ok to mix 12/2 and 14/2 wire to a 20 amp breaker or 15 amp breaker?

The wiring is all over the place in this house. For example a bathroom fan is on 14/2 wire going to a 15 amp breaker. And a bathroom outlet is 12/2 going to a 20 amp breaker. I want to put both on the same circuit and make everything more neat and organized. Which breaker can they not go on if combined? Can't remember how the rules go. Is one unsafe cause the wires can get too hot. Thanks a lot.
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Others will answer but I can get you started.
1) I believe the bathroom outlet is required to have a dedicated 20 amp circuit by current code. So don't touch it. Do not combine these circuits.
2) A 20 amp breaker requires 12 awg. So never use 14 AWG in a 20 amp circuit.
3) 12 awg is okay to use with a 15 amp breaker.
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Well, you could pull the 12/2 out, replacing it with 14/2, and then use a 15amp breaker, or you could pull out the 14/2, replacing it with 12/2, and use a 20amp breaker.
You CAN'T mix gauges and not break code.
Example... You have 12/2 on a 15 amp breaker. Later on someone wants to install a wall heater. They pull an outlet out and find 12 gauge wiring. They assume that it's good for 20 amps and install it.
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That is the correct way, so don't change it. If you hair dryer goes out, you don't want the lights to go out with it and be left in the dark. Your "neat and organized" may be a code violation so find out what good practice is before proceeding. . .
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There is no code violation in using a lower gauge wire. You can use 12 gauge on a 15amp circuit. If you were adding a major load, it would be pretty stupid to not check the breaker size. Plus, for most people, checking the breaker is easier than trying to determine the wire gauge. Even if they did do what you suggested, it's not a safety hazard. The breaker will trip without the wire being overloaded.
If you use a wire less than required, then you have a safety problem.

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Wiring is supposed to be all over the place...better know as distributed based on probable use. The bathroom is on 20A because of the electric hair dryer and curling iron plugged in is sucking a lot of juice. This is not an unlikely event.
1875w hair dryer 15.6A Curling iron maybe another 1A
Put the toilet fan and light on it and a light strip and... Toilet fan & light another 1A 4 light BR vanity strip 60w each another 2A
Pushing the 20A now. Not so neat.
Not a freak thing to have all this on at once.
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wrote:

The same guy who puts those "6HP" stickers on 115v Harbor Freight air compressors puts the 1875w sticker on hair dryers. They are about 12-13a.
http://esteroriverheights.com/electrical/1875w_hair_dryer.jpg
It is still code that a bathroom be served by a 20a circuit with no other outlets. One 20 can serve more than one bathroom if it only goes to the receptacles or a 20 can feed all of the loads in one bathroom (fan and light) but can't serve anything else.
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What if I dont have any hair?

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Anywhere?!
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Don't need hair to use a hair dryer. That blower is like the hand dryers in public restrooms only you can do your entire body.
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Think shrinkwrap Edwin, think shrinkwrap. :-)
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On May 7, 9:42pm, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Doesn't code also require a bathroom outlet to be on a GFCI? May be grandfathered but any change of wiring would require it be done, or am I mistaken on that?
Harry K
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On 5/8/2008 6:30 AM Harry K spake thus:
>

Probably required, but even if not, one would be stupid not to spend the extra 25 cents (metaphorically speaking) for a GFCI outlet and extra safety.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote in

lol!
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The wiring sounds perfectly normal to me. If the house is fairly new, the code allowed for the lights and fan to be on any general lighting circuit and the required 20 amp GFCI protected outlet, to be on the same 20 amp circuit as the outlets in the other bathrooms

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So its not legal too put a 10 gauge wire on a 20 amp breaker?
I have done that on a long run to my shed, to minimize voltage drops on a outlet servicing my table saw.
thought that was is legal?
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On Thu, 8 May 2008 06:13:21 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@aol.com"

It is, the only restriction is on the minimum size (240.4(D))
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Yes, it's code-compliant, and very common.
The only restrictions would be whether the device can safely accept the wire. Like, some 15A-rated switches and outlets might not accept very heavy gauge wire on some of their terminals; the obvious fix would be to pigtail to a lighter gauge in the device box. Of course, the lighter gauge now restricts your breaker ampacity, but so does the rating for the switch or outlet.
Chip C Toronto
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The idea of using heavier gauge to minimize voltage drop on a longer run sounds like a good idea for some situations. In our case a shed about 50 feet from far end of house. But so far we have never had anything heavier than one light bulb and a small electric drill plugged in out there.
Understand that you can use a 'heavier' wire, as long as it will fit properly into terminals and switch and outlet connections. But not use a lighter gauge than allowed.
General rule (domestically) being; Any 14AWG in a circuit, maximum breaker rating is 15 amps. If circuit is all 12AWG maximum breaker rating is 20 amps. Correct?
Case in point; extended a spur from an outlet circuit through an outside house wall to an attached shed for one lamp and a single GFI duplex outlet, from a #12AWG 20 amp breakered circuit. Couple of days later realized that the length of metal armoured cable (3 wire) used through outside wall of house might be 14AWG. It was! So promptly changed the circuit breaker for that whole circuit to 15 amp.
All correct?
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The wiring as it is originally is code compliant. What he wants to do is not. He wants to mix 14/2 and 12/2 on a 20 amp breaker - that is not code compliant.
Harry K
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