COMMUNITY FORUM

PSUDrew

03:07PM | 01/09/03
Member Since: 01/07/03
6 lifetime posts
Bvelectrical
I ran a new 15 amp circuit with 12 AWG. I know this is allowed but I wish I hadn't because the wire is so hard to work with. Can I run 14 AWG branches off of the 15 amp/12 AWG runs both from a safety and a code perspective?
Thanks Drew

gletiecq

06:20AM | 01/10/03
Member Since: 01/01/03
35 lifetime posts
You can run 14 AWG taps (but no smaller) provided the tap ampacity won't exceed the rating on the cable or the installed devices.

Even though it's harder to work with, you did a good thing running 12 AWG. More options, better ability to upgrade in the future.

Greg

gtillotson

06:28AM | 01/10/03
Member Since: 11/26/02
33 lifetime posts
I've been curious about this as well, not so much *can* it be done (it can of course) but what the benefits and drawbacks are. I always run 12G wire myself (reasoning being there is less stress on the system and it allows for upgrades), but sometimes when you are pigtailing in a box it can be a big challenge with the stiff 12G wires.

Just last week I started a systematic walk-through of the wiring in the house I just bought (1916 Queen Anne). I've already pulled new wire through 85% of it, and this time I started pigtailing with 14G on circuits that I know will never be greater than 15A (lighting, etc.). Now I'm tempted to change my plan and revert to 12G pigtailing just to be absolutely consistent.

I've read that careful wire placement (folding and pushing) with linesman's pliers is a common technique to get the wires stored properly, and this seems to work well. Still, when you are wiring a fixture you can still be stuck coaxing the spliced wires back up into the box and around the center mounting strap.

Personally, I'm interested in the common practice in the field. Is it better to keep a 12G run "pure" the whole way? Is pigtailing with 14G (to 12G) on a 15A circuit a common technique? Any comments on the pros/cons would help.

gtillotson

06:32AM | 01/10/03
Member Since: 11/26/02
33 lifetime posts
One other thought -- I recently tracked down 3M Scotchlock 2 wire nuts (the kind with the flexible skirt). They bite really well, and the skirt seems to make the wire folding process go a bit easier. I was using the Buchanan wire nuts from Home Depot, and they don't seem to hold as well.

PSUDrew

08:40AM | 01/10/03
Member Since: 01/07/03
6 lifetime posts
Thanks Greg. I do realize the benefit of upgradability in the future but it sure was difficult getting some of the wires back in the boxes. I should mention that in one room I am running surface-mounted boxes which makes it even tougher.
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