Only if it is a short run, seems like 6 feet or less. Theoretically you
could put 19.99 amps load on the wire and 14 gauge would heat up without
tripping the breaker. Really ought to use 12 with a 20 amp breaker then if
you have a fire there is less explaining to the fire marshal and the
No, you can't mix wire sizes. Not safe!
Also keep in mind that you may sell your house some day. The new owner may
not know that they should not overload that outlet.
Electrical codes protect life and property. May want to keep in mind that
your wiring to code will protect the life and property of your family as
well as future owners of your house.
"Phreak" wrote in message
I guess I should re-explain - the breaker and the main circuit are 20A. I
want to run some outlets off that circuit for small appliances - lights,
etc. If the total circuit load is ok, and the breaker is 20A, is this ok?
Wait a minute, there is a big difference between, a outlet, and several
outlets. If you are doing several outlets use 12 AWG for the 20 amp breaker and
make sure you wire the receptacles so they are polarized properly when you are
Right, I am using a 20A breaker, 12/2 wire from the breaker to an outlet,
and connecting several small appliance outlets to that circuit. Can I use
14/2 for these additional outlets, or do I need to use 12/2?
The unequivocal answer is: No, you must use #12 conductors.
See Art. 240-3 which says that conductors must be protected
according to the Tables and #14 only has a rating of 15 Amps.
(there are a bunch of exceptions given for tap conductors and
other situations, none of which apply to you.)
No, don't do it.
Adding receptacles is the worst possible scenario for using undersized wire.
You have no control of the load that can be plugged in. That is why 240.4(D)
exists in the first place (the rule that says 14ga is 15a, 12ga is 20a, 10ga is
They know if you have receptacles someone can keep plugging things in until the
breaker trips and then unplug the clock, running at 99.9% of capacity from then
No. What you are doing is placing a 20 amp breaker on a 15 amp line. This
is the same as replacing a fuse in a fuse box with a higher amperage fuse
or placing a penny behind the fuse.
Breakers are designed to protect the wiring. Use appropriate wiring along
with appropriate breakers at all times.
Electrical codes are there because of the misfortune of other people. These
codes are saying to YOU that you can follow them and prevent misfortune. I
chose to follow the electrical codes and get my work inspected. I sleep
better at night....
12/2 wire is cheap. Fire insurance that doesn't pay out is not.
Running 20 amps through 14/2 is asking for trouble. Running 20 amps
through more than about 2 feet of 14/2 is asking for a lot of trouble.
If the load is going to draw less than 12 amps continuous or 15 amps
peak, you can replace the breaker with a 15-amp. But putting the whole
circuit on an undersized breaker just so you can use 14/2 wire is
But if the load is going to draw more than 16 amps continuous, it
doesn't even belong on a 20 amp circuit.
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