Latest Discussions : Electrical & Lighting


08:33PM | 03/23/03
Member Since: 03/23/03
1 lifetime posts
Should i wire every circuit from now on using 12 gauge wire? From looking on the advice given in this forum, 14 gauge seems to be almost shunned.

I just rewired a kitchen lighting circuit using 14 gauge wire. Only the kitchen lights (6-5 inch recessed cans, 2 countertop flourescents, and 3 low voltage lights) will be on this circuit.

Should I have used 12 gauge? Or is 14 gauge perfectly safe. I DON'T plan to any more demand to this circuit.

The other circuits are run using 12 gauge, including a GFI circuit for the countertops.


03:13AM | 04/14/03
Member Since: 11/26/02
33 lifetime posts
I've had questions on this too, and the general opinion seems to be that a) 12G allows for future upgrades to 20A circuits (if needed), and b) you put less stress on 12G wires due to the bigger capacity.

I use 12G wire everywhere, and I'm used to it now. Early on I cursed it a bit because 14G wire is much easier to twist and fold and fit it into boxes. With practice I got better at folding, and I like that you can push 12G wire through conduit and rarely have to fish or pull it.


10:35AM | 04/15/03
Member Since: 11/14/00
333 lifetime posts
I agree to use 12 gauge whereever you can. The demand on electrical circuits is only going to increase. Even as recently as 10 years ago, we didn't anticipate all the electrical gadgets that used to exist only in high-end, techno-freak homes, but now exist in almost all homes. The outlet once used for a TV and perhaps a VCR now regularly has the TV, VCR, DVD player, TIVO, and perhaps an entire home theater system. Families once got by with one computer, and that was often looked at as a luxury item. Now, it is commonplace for everyone to not only have their own computer, but also a laptop in addition to it. Virtually nobody had cellphones to charge at night. Now almost everyone does. Again, more electrical demands. The demands on electrical systems is only going to increase, so it is best to wire your circuits accordingly.

[This message has been edited by Lawrence (edited April 15, 2003).]


10:52AM | 04/15/03
Member Since: 04/14/03
6 lifetime posts
They is no code reasons not to use #14 as long as using 15 amp breakers with it.

As for capacity I would rather see 12 - 15 amp circuits then 9 - 20 amp circuits, both ways total 180 amps but if you trip a circuit less is affected.

[This message has been edited by iwire (edited April 15, 2003).]


02:09AM | 01/04/20
"The demand is only going to increase" -- I have to respectfully disagree with this statement. The clear trend for electrical demand on lighting circuits is downward as we try to conserve electricity. So when talking about lighting circuits, you are unlikely to approach capacity of a 15A circuit -- unless you do something silly like wire all the lights for multiple big rooms on the same circuit.

Similar for bedrooms, where what we plug in seems to be drawing less power -- not more (energy saving TVs, clocks that use less energy, smaller radios, etc). So again, "future proofing" these rooms does not seem to call for over-sizing.

On the other hand, we are using more gizmos and gadgets in our living spaces. Multiple computers, game consoles, "smart" devices...the list goes on. So there is probably a good argument for outlets being on 20A circuits these days (even though almost all of our gadgets are on the same energy-saving trend).

Clear answer? Not really. My point is there are two competing factors at play. But given the push for saving energy, I tend to think we will continue to trend usage down -- even as we add more electronic footprint to our lives...

...EXCEPT in bathrooms and kitchens where we want "faster", "bigger", "more powerful".

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