I recently asked whether it's OK an a 20amp dedicated circuit intended
for a heater/fan/n.light/light combination to run 14 gauge wire from
the switch to the fixture, except for the heater part. And of course,
the answer was "no" because you are not suppose to use 14 guage wire
on a 20 amp circuit.
But the wire in the fixture is 14 gauge! (Except for the heater part.
There are three 14 gauge and one 12 gauge pairs inside the fixture.)
How is that not breaking the code on the part of the manufacturer?
Because you won't be adding more circuits inside the fixture!
With 14 gauge in your wiring (not inside a fixture) there is the chance that
someone will later add more 20 amp circuits because they see the 12 guage
wire and don't realize that there is any 14 gauge in your circuit.
Yes, but I was proposing is connecting the switch to the fixture (a 4'
run!) with 14 gauge wire. That would essentially make it an extension
of the fixture's own 14 guage. Why is that not legitimate. If the
answer is that "the code tries to be overprotective", I'll accept
that. But I want to make sense out of it.
The wiring in the fixture probably wasn't even #14, as the fixture
manufacturers use wires sizes only large enough for the loads on them, and
don't have a minimum trade size of #14. They are also governed by a
different code than the building wiring
I do admit its wierd, a great example you can plug a 4 0r even 16
gauge extension cord in a 20 amp outlet..........
and probbly have a nice fire........
have customers who try that:(
one in a mall put a groundung adapter in line oin a 16 gauge lamp cord
extension cord and plugged in their 18 amp seal press, appearance
before function or safety.
this in a mall.
I warned them, documented the hazard on my service slip and left.
6 months later they called again, having new problem.
they had responded to my safety issuem by stapling the lamp cord to a
I fixed the machine left it heating, and went shopping for a air
conditioner extension cord which I gave them FREE.
came back removed light cord cut into pieces and tossed in trash.
the manager was MAD, We cant pay for the new cord.........
I told them its FREE, my contribution so the mall doesnt burn down or
someone get killed, espically a customer..... they could walk by the
hey the paperwork for the fire reports will cost more than the
i use a 12 guage , but have heard that 10 guage and 14 guage shotguns
used to be popular , but not anymore.
Only one with full access to the latest National Electric Code would be
qualified to address this, but I think you are OK/right.
I recall (Kitchen?) where a 15-amp-rated device or wire is allowed for
short-run purposes with 20-amp overcurrent protection.
It has been YEARS since I bought a current copy of the code. Perhaps
it's time again, but it's too much money for it every time I look.
If I recall correctly, NFPA charges A LOT to access the NEC on-line.
I'd rather pay the difference, whatever it might be, and get a hard
copy. Still, that, also, is too expensive considering I have no
PROFESSIONAL need to purchase such a reference.
Sure, if you don't mind the ridiculous restrictions of "RealRead". (In
all fairness, it's probably the only reasonable choice they had to
publish it online; if they simply made PDFs available, I'm sure that
would cut significantly into their hardcopy sales.)
The best argument against democracy is a five-minute
conversation with the average voter.
The basic answer is this: the manufacturer of the appliance (or
fixture) can make the reasonable assumption that the wiring internal
to that appliance will only ever carry the load of the appliance. So
it can size the wiring based on what the appliance itself will draw.
If it is critical that the appliance wiring not be overloaded, the
appliance can contain a fuse sized appropriately.
The wiring within your house, however, may get reconfigured or may
carry additional loads beyond the single appliance. So it is subject
to the usual rules of the NEC, like minimum 12 gauge wire for a 20 amp
1) that's the manufacturer's problem, not yours. If it's UL approved then
that's "gud enuf." There is little question that a hard fault across #14
wire will trip a 20 amp breaker so there really isn't much of a safety
concern. Light fixures often have #16 wire inside them. Most extension
cords are only #16.
2) In your PARTICULAR case, if you can you might want to run separate
circuits for the heater and for the lights. You can flip a coin to decide
whether to put the fan on the "light" side or the "heater" side. If the
heater is 10 amps or so, you can power it from #14 and #14 is already OK for
the lights and a small fan. If you use separate feeds in the same fixture
you have to make sure you connect the right neutral wire to the right cable.
Of course, the breaker for #14 circuits must be only 15 amps.
I guess you aren't following this thread very carefully. The poster
was wondering why the wiring inside a fixture did not have to be as
large as the circuit TO the fixture. My point is that the code
specifies wire gauge in the supply circuit, not inside devices.
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