I need to add a ceiling light in the bathroom, and is going
to wire to the circuit for the bathroom, which is 20 amp.
Is is OK to use 15 gage for the light (<0W), or I have to
use 12 gage wire? What does the code say?
I would suspect your bathroom circuit can stand the addition of another amp
or so...which is about what a 100 watt light bulb might add. 14/2 wire
to the lamp will work fine. I'm assuming you're tapping into the existing
bathroom circuit somewhere.
Oops. I meant 14 gauge wire on a 20amp circuit.
There is only one 20 receptable on the bathroom circuit. The only use
of that is probably just hair dryer. So adding a 100W light should be
Now if the bulp is on a lamp, you might be able to use a 18 gauge wire
(to connect to an outlet). But when it is ceiling light, you have to make
the wire 12 gauge. Why?
Maybe I misunderstood. He HAS 12/2 running from the breaker to the outlet.
He asked if he could run 14/2 from the outlet to a 100 watt light bulb.
It may not be code but I would think it's real unlikely to burn down a
I am in the process of finishing the basement, and used up all the
250ft 12/2 and is 10ft short of that. I have plenty of 14/2 left.So
that is why I was thinking to use 14/2 for the bathroom 20amp
Now the only real danger I can think of is when a future owner
want to change the light nox to, say a heater/light combo, and uses
more amps than what 14/2 can handle. That might cause a problem.
Anyway, if that is against code (which was my original question), I am
not going to do it. I'll just buy another box of 12/2.
I have been following the thread about using 14 guage wire for a new bath lite
on an existing 12 guage circuit.
I see the points about someone else in the future removing the lite and putting
in a bath lite/heater combination and causing a fire, etc.
Thru ignorance over the past 30 years, I am guilty of doing this. Maybe 33
years ago the NEC code was different and allowed this.
With all the controversy :
1) WHY do they even make 14 guage wire if it is the problem it can be ?
2) Would it not make more sense to just sell 12 guage and ELIMINATE all the
3) Is 14 guage sold simply due to the $$$ factor ??
On 15-Apr-2004, email@example.com (Conase) wrote:
It's not a problem at all with 15A circuits.
While that would work, it isn't necessary if you are wiring with 15A.
No 14g is sold for folks that know what they're doing.
This isn't a big deal. Matching the wire gauge to the circuit amperage
capacity is a no-brainer. It's only a problem when the DIY doesn't
DTH (do their homework).
I agree with all the above.
However if the USA only sold 12 guage, then there not only WOULD not but also
COULD not be a problem in current typical home wiring.
The problem of wire SIZING would cease to exist for the types of circuits we
are talking about. There would only be ONE size wire for these circuits.
And if my grandma had balls, she would be my grandpa.
Number 14 wire is easier to work with [than #12], uses less copper to
produce, and can be used with smaller outlet boxes. It's perfectly safe if
you follow the rules.
Rather than outlaw #14 building wire, it would be more productive to outlaw
It is faster, cheaper, and easier to work with 14 over 12 gauge. Why punish
everyone for the possible sins (stupidity?) of a few? Lighting circuits are
easily wired with #14 on a 15A fuse. So are light duty household circuits.
Done properly, there are NO problems with #14 wire.
If that is the case (that the 14/2 is only a branch off a 12/2 circuit),
I agree. A light is no big deal.
Now the scare tactic (which worked for me when I did some upgrades a few
years back): If it passes code/ispection, great. You are golden and
saved $5 worth of 12/2 (and the major hassle of working with 12/2 versus
However, if your house does burn down, and the 14/2 "illegal" branch is
found, the insurance company may be able to void you claim as you had
illegal wire and did not meet code.
Or someone taps from the light in the future with 12/2 (obviously it is
a 20A circuit).
Also, I do not know the NEC that well. It may be perfectly legal to run
a branch off a 20A circuit with 14/2 as long as that branch is to a
PS: My advice (worth the price you are paying for it): Go to Home
Depot/Lowes/Walmart, buy 10 feet of 12/2 and "do the right thing".
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