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14 gauge pigtails

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  • #16
    Re: 14 gauge pigtails

    Originally posted by CWSmith View Post

    Are you sure there is "absolutely no reason"? I'm not in a position to argue the technicalities of this at the moment, but is seems that somewhere in the past I've read that you don't want to oversize the breaker for certain types of appliances, tools, etc.
    I should have been a bit clearer. I was referring to a general use light or receptacle circuit. Motors, air conditioning, welders all have special rules letting you undersize a breaker.

    Originally posted by CWSmith View Post
    One example that comes to mind is my saw has universal motor on it and an overdraw would fry the motor, or so I've read. I'd just as soon have the circuit breaker trip if it overloads. There may be other instances where over-sizing a circuit breaker may also pose such a problem.
    The breaker protects the circuit conductors, not the load.

    Originally posted by CWSmith View Post
    However, using 12 gauge wire instead of 14 gauge simply adds a safety factor/extra capacity to the wire;
    Sorry, but this completely untrue. This "safety factor" is already built into the code. Do you know what the actual ampacity of #12 & #14 are?

    Originally posted by CWSmith View Post
    ....and, I reason that if somewhere down the road, if one needs to change the room to other purposes requiring more amperage, it's certainly easier to change the breaker, than it is to have to run new wire.
    Again, if the "right" breaker was used in the first place this "upgrade" would be unnecessary.

    Originally posted by CWSmith View Post
    So, it may be "silly" from your point of view, but your reasoning of upgrading to a 20 amp breaker for every circuit in the house, seems questionable to me.
    I am not sure where I EVER said that in this thread, .... or anywhere else for that matter.

    My basic point:
    Given that you are buying, or have on hand, the correct material for a job.
    For general use lighting and receptacle circuits.
    Assuming runs are not very long.
    15A breaker on #14
    20A breaker on #12


    • #17
      Re: 14 gauge pigtails


      No, you didn't say "every circuit in the house"... what I meant was that you implied that it was "silly" to run 12 ga wire and then only use a 15 amp circuit breaker. I should have stated that more clearly, as I know you didn't say use a 20 amp breaker on every circuit; obviously there are circuits that require heavier loads, different wire, etc.

      But I'm still not convinced that 12 ga wire deserves a 20 amp breaker, just to "not waste" ampacity and I still feel that 12 ga wire is worth using in new runs.

      Silly as it may seem,



      • #18
        Re: 14 gauge pigtails


        Please see NEC 210.19(A)(4) for clarity. Exception No. 1 clearly states:
        "Tap conductors shall have an ampacity sufficient for the load served. In addition, they shall have an ampacity of not less than 15 for circuits rated less than 40 amperes and not less than 20 for circuits rated at 40 or 50 amperes and only where these tap conductors supply any of the following loads:"
        It goes on to case (c) which we are talking about here:
        "Individual outlets, other than receptcle outlets, with taps not over 450mm (18 in.) long."

        So the 14 AWG is a tap on the circuit not the circuit itself. I run 12 for all outlets on 20 breakers. Mainly for space heaters the occupants may use. That being said I also use 15A outlets on 14 AWG pigtails (taps). Why? Takes half the time to backwire and install a 15A outlet than a 20A outlet sidewired. Why? Pure and simple: people don't want to pay for it. I'd lose bids. For the record I'm not all that fond of PEX or CSST but it's what people are buying and I have a family to feed. Way it is.

        I'm reading from 2008 NEC section 210 pages 70-50 thru 70-52 if anybody wants to look this up. There's a handy table on 70-52.



        • #19
          Re: 14 gauge pigtails

          Sorry James, you are interpreting this wrong. In fact, the section you quote SPECIFICALLY precludes you from doing this for receptacle outlets (receptacles).

          (c) Individual outlets, other than receptacle outlets, with taps not over 450 mm (18 in.) long.
          Also, you state "15A outlets". Are you aware that a 15A duplex receptacle is TWO 15A receptacles on one yoke. This also throws your #14 tap rule out the window.

          You can keep doing it and probably never have a problem or issue, but it IS most definitely a code violation.