# Wiring dilema

I am updating wiring in my basement as part of major renovation project. I have three basement recessed light circuits sitting on the same breaker. There is 12 AWG wire running from main panel to the entrance switch box and from the switch box there are three separate 12 AWG wires bringing power to each of three recessed lights circuit. One of the circuits are 4-way switch that controls 4 recessed lights. Unfortunately one of three switches has old AWG 14 wire running to the nearest box and there is no way to replace it as it is virtually inaccessible. Al other wires are new AWG 12. There are total of 25 recessed lights so maximum amperage may exceed (or be near) 15 A. I want to use 20 A circuit breaker but I have concern over the switch AWG 14 wire. Again, the switch is basically in sub-circuit that has only 4 lights that is considerable less even then 15 A. So may I safely use 20 A circuit breaker in main panel?
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On 05 Jul 2003, Alexander Galkin wrote:

Sure. As long as there are no receptacles on that 14-guage leg, and as long as the total wattage of the 4 fixtures won't/can't exceed 15A (thats 1800W of lighting at 120V, you don't anticipate putting 500W bulbs in them, do you? <g> I'm guessing with that many fixtures, you're running a 60W or 75W tops in each?) there is no practical way you could overload the wattage total with those 4 fixtures. A 100 Watt bulb in each fixture is a total draw of only 3.33 A.
This is where the "code is code is code" types will stop by and argue, mainly because they pick every possible fight with me. Code is code, but sometimes code needs to be *practical*. If you had a *practical* way of replacing that piece of wire, I would say sure, follow code.
Those are the numbers, do what you feel comfortable with.
TP
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No Tom. Not only is it against code and would be pointed out by any inspector, but it can also be dangerous.
Who knows what the next guy might due and increase that to over 15 amps, or if there is some odd malfunction at on the load, it could exceed 15 amps. That is exactly why there are circuit breakers to start with. Other wise who would need any circuit breaker.
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Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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Tommy, anyone but a HACK like you would understand. Read the Code. Learn the Code. Follow the Code. Live because of the Code.
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Locally at least, getting out of bed doesn't violate code. Wiring any leg of a 20 amp protected circuit with lower gauge wire *is* against code *and* dangerous.

Because the next guy adds a basement workshop. There's a convenient 20 amp circuit he can tap into, and as far as he can tell, there' not much on it. So he wires his basement workshop from a junction box on that circuit.

Most certainly. How was it you thought electrical fires started if current was always off when an overheating condition occurs?

By screwing in 500 W bulbs into each can? Would you advocate labeling all dashboards "Do not drive through intersections until path is clear" and then remove all traffic signals? Or he screws an outlet adapter into the lamp base, then runs seven extension cords to his space heaters and high-wattage lights that keep his marijuana crop growing well. He obeyed your stickers...

In my case. yes.

Jeff
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How else would you fascist conservatives keep-up with our activities?
Op
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We only allow conservatives to use it. It's all part of our secret plan to eliminate you.
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Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
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This is Turtle.
TP , You say that Joesph's only arguement or point to stand on is it being , it's not to code , and you say he is wrong by wanting to stay to the NEC code. TP when you ask this question to him [ your going to say every job you ever done was to code] . This tells me one of two things about you. 1) Your just bulling here to get a responce from the group to have fun and play a game. OR 2) Your a Very Inane incubus person with no respect at all for human life or property.
Which is it TP ? Yea TP, it's going to be hard to answer this one with out a dictionary for your not going to choose the bulling part are you.
TURTLE
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Everything I've either read or been told states that #14awg wire *cannot* be protected by a 20 amp breaker. If you're an electrician, I can't believe that you would suggest to someone that they ignore this basic tenet.
In fact, in my municipality, #14awg wire is going by the wayside because local codes forbid it's use in new construction. Even our local Lowe's and HD's are starting to phase it out and not carry it anymore.
Alexander, I strongly recommend you ignore this person's advice and hire a *licensed electrician* to handle this part of your project - someone who will pull the necessary permit(s) and do the job correctly and to code. I know it will cost you more money, but I can assure you that it will be money well spent. If you have a fire and it's traced to your "not-to-code" wiring project, your homeowner's insurance will not be worth the paper it's printed on.
You could also conceivably be setting yourself up as a target for litigation if you sell your home and a future homeowner has a fire, particularly if serious injury or death is involved. Even if he/she is stupid because he/she plugged in a table saw and a space heater into a receptacle screwed into one of the light fixture sockets, you could still be sued by both the homeowner *and* his insurance company.
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OK, following majority's advise I will do something to formally adhere to the code. Although technically I believe I would be just fine installing a 20 A breaker. First, that AVG 14 wire that connects one of 4 way switches is covered by stairs so it is not possible to replace it without ripping off stairs completely. This also leads to the fact that it is not possible to add any load to this switch. All other wires in the circuit are AVG 12 so even if "some guy would connect table saw, or heater" or anything else as has been discussed it won't burn that AVG 14 wire as current won't flow over it. Yes, there is code but there is also common sense, that is not less important.

be
and
money
wiring
printed
litigation
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*cannot*
believe
a
I
screwed
the
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On Sun, 06 Jul 2003 17:49:58 GMT, "Banister Stairwell"

Do you know this for a fact?...or are you speculating?
Hope you had a nice 4th weekend...
Trent
Help keep down the world population...have your partner spayed or neutered.
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wrote:

printed
A couple of years ago, a business partner of mine had a fire in one of his rental properties. Fortunately, the property was vacant at the time and no one was hurt, but the house was a total loss. His insurance refused to pay the claim because the fire was caused by a "not-to-code" electrical modification that he did. His trying to save a few bucks ended up costing him about \$50K.

We did. Hope you did as well.
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On Mon, 07 Jul 2003 03:39:09 GMT, "Banister Stairwell"

What have YOU personally experienced? I hear fish stories all the time.
I doubt if there's a house in the country...or the world...that doesn't have a DIY repair done to it.
Insurance companies must pay except under extremely unusual circumstances. Different types/level of fraud would fall under this category.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Help keep down the world population...have your partner spayed or neutered.
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Fish story??
Trent, you asked me a question and I answered it. I wasn't "speculating" when I posted what happened to my partner. But, if you want to suggest that because it didn't happen to me personally that it makes my advise to the OP invalid, then that's entirely up to you.
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On Tue, 08 Jul 2003 02:26:01 GMT, "Banister Stairwell"

With all due respect...SURE you were. If it didn't happen to you personally, you probably have no idea of all the little details that may have entered into the situation.

I didn't mean to suggest that what you told us is not true. I just mean to suggest that yer simply conveying information to us...to the best of your knowledge.
I have seen nothing to suggest that you are not a helpful and trustful person.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Help keep down the world population...have your partner spayed or neutered.
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wrote:

to
you
the
Boy, that's a new one on me. My best guess about why the outside of her house is electrified is that the normal path to ground has been broken or at least compromised in some way. I wonder if a disconnected neutral wire somewhere would cause this? Perhaps our resident professional electrician, Thomas D. Horne will graciously jump in here and help us figure this one out.
Hey, Tom... Have you run across a situation like this before? I'm sure Trent would like to know the answer to this one, but I'm curious as well.
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On Wed, 09 Jul 2003 03:57:48 GMT, "Banister Stairwell"

Actually...I'm not really that curious. lol
I know that the prior owner told me he was having problems with the electricity in the front of the house...just before he sold it. The porch light...a motion detector type, metal, mounted on aluminum siding...quit working. And he said he had no electricity to the duplexes on that front wall on the inside.
Then, about 3 weeks ago, the new owner had the light working again. When I told her the whole story about her house...and about the zap I got...she said all she did was put a new bulb in the light. She said she had gotten a slight zap a couple of times, too...standing in her bare feet on the carpet in the living room and reaching to the mailbox. She asked a friend about it...and the friend said it was probably coming from the doorbell switch. So she disconnected the doorbell. lol
I keep thinking about all the times the mail got delivered...in the rain. No doubt, its the shoes that made the difference. I walked over in my bare feet...on concrete...lots of humidity and rain lately. What really surprised me is that the aluminum storm door has current going thru it, too.
Ya never know about life. That kinda spoiled my whole day! lol
Have a nice week...
Trent
Help keep down the world population...have your partner spayed or neutered.
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Being curious, I posted this to an electrician's forum. The response was that the wiring for one of the branch circuits (most likely serving the porch light) has been cut and shorted to the siding, or a nail has been driven into the wiring and is shorting to the siding.
She really needs to get it fixed.
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On 09 Jul 2003, Banister Stairwell wrote:

...or whoever wired the porch light put the hot on the outer conductor of the lamp socket instead og the inner tip. She's getting some (un)healthy leakage to ground, probably through a painted surface on the light fixture that's semi-conductive. Not enough to cause an overcurrent situation and blow the breaker, but enough to buzz the surrounding sufraces with some big time leakage.

Indeed.
--
TP

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