02:04PM | 01/14/05
Member Since: 01/11/05
23 lifetime posts
Hey all, thanks again for the help with the multiwire circuit thing...

Another issue: as I was looking around inside the panel box, I noticed that on two different 15A circuits there are 16 ga wires (at most) going into the breakers. On one of them the wire is pigtailed to the 14 ga wire which then goes out of the box. On the other, the 16 ga wire is again pigtailed to a 14 ga branch wire, but also to another 16 ga wire which feeds a doorbell transformer mounted to the outside of the box (another 16 ga wire then comes out of the transformer and goes to the neutral bar). I want to replace the 16 ga wires coming out of the breakers with 14 ga to comply to the NEC; my question is can I keep the 16 ga wire which goes from the splice to the transformer? Am I correct in thinking that this wire only sees the amperage draw from the doorbell?

This setup really perplexes me as the box bears an inspection sticker dated just a couple days before I closed on the house, so I know it was passed in its current state. Is there something I'm not getting, or is this dangerous and should be corrected? I'm leaning heavily toward the latter, I just want some expert advice before I do anything...

Thanks again,



06:08AM | 01/15/05
Member Since: 09/17/02
524 lifetime posts
16 guage wires should not be on the circuit. The only place 16 guage wires appear on the circuit are as connection wires of light fixtures.


11:35AM | 01/15/05
Member Since: 01/11/05
23 lifetime posts
Thanks for the responses...

It turns out the wires I thought were 16 ga were actually 14, but with thinner insulation than the wires from the cable. I still got in there and replaced a couple 20A breakers with 15 (don't know why they put those with 14 ga branch wire) and spread out some neutral wires so that only 1 wire was in each lug on the bus bar...


03:46PM | 01/17/05
Member Since: 12/19/04
62 lifetime posts
Brian, the doorbell transformer that is mounted to the side of your panel is proper just as the connections from it to the #14 awg is.

Be careful when you are changing breakers from a 20A to a smaller size because the wire size is #14. If this is a 2 pole breaker it may be supplying your air conditioner which in this case is wired properly with the 20 amp breaker.

Also be cautious if you start to move breakers around in the panel. If you misplace an existing breaker that is part of a 3 wire circuit you can overload the neutral with twice the amperage it is rated for. If this is a new home and you have been in it for a short time just feel free to question your electrician that wired it. Most will be glad to answer your questions.



07:57AM | 01/18/05
Member Since: 01/11/05
23 lifetime posts
Ron, thanks for your reply. House was wired many years ago and upgraded to 100A last year (before I moved in). The breakers I changed were only single pole. One is the garage outlet which I think was originally intended to be 20A; it had the 20A breaker and 12 ga coming from it, but it is spliced with 14 ga before the outlet and the outlet is just a regular 15A one. Figured better safe than sorry. The other is also a single 15A 120V outlet, don't know why it was a 20A breaker, figured I'd change it to be safe just in case someone decides to run a floor sander or something from it. I made sure circuits with shared neutrals were on opposite phases.

Thanks again...


01:20PM | 01/18/05
Member Since: 12/19/04
62 lifetime posts

The 20 amp circuit with the single receptacle is code compliant if it is a duplex receptacle. If it is actually a single receptacle (opening for one plug) then it would be required to have a rating matching the breaker.

The receptacle with a short length of #14 wire to it. Couldn't you have just changed that short piece of wire to #12 and then it would have been acceptable and cheaper to do?



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