I had to re-run some new circuits in my house due to a wall removed.
The cable that was cut out was 12 guage, so I ran a new 12 guage cable
from the box to the light fixture it first goes to. It then feeds out
to other lights and outlets.
When I took apart the light fixture to connect this new cable, I
noticed there was 14Guage wire that continued to the rest of the
circuit. So I had to use a 15A breaker instead of 20A.
So basically I have a yellow romex wire in my elec panel on a 15A
breaker. Is there any code that says I can't do this? Should the cable
be marked "15 A breaker only' so no one gets confused in the future
and puts a 20A breaker on.
Although nothing in the code forbids you from doing this, I prefer to
have #14 coming out of the panel if there is #14 anywhere on the
to prevent the confusion you mentioned. If I use a larger gauge than
required in running a new circuit, to avoid voltage drop or just
that's what I have on hand, I use that throughout the circuit.
if somebody sees a 15A breaker protecting #12 wire, that should tell
him to look and make sure all that circuit is #12 before uprating the
breaker. Not everybody will do this. A good electrician
or conscientious DIYer will, but I'm afraid not all of them are good
conscientious. You might even forget some day that the #14 is there,
so it's not entirely a matter of protecting or not protecting the
careless (which you just can't do no matter how hard you try).
Unless the #12 was there for voltage drop (how long is it?) I might be
inclined to replace it with #14 and save the piece of #12 for later
As it is, though, you seem legal.
I once had the opposite problem.
I needed to extend a circuit that had a single 15a outlet on it; so I used
#14 wire. Then I found out it had a 20a breaker on it, contrary to code.
(it was #12 wire, but if it is a single outlet on a 20a circuit, it must be
a 20a outlet) So I had to put in a smaller breaker.
Doing things right does avoid problems for people in the future.
Agreed, best to do it right, but 2nd choice is to get out the sharpie
indelible marker, and label the wire in the box, and maybe also write a note
on the service panel faceplate next to the breaker. I leave notes inside
hardware all the time for the next poor SOB, or for me five years later. I'd
have to get real motivated to rip'n' replace a perfectly good run just
because the wire was too big.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.