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14ga 15amp. Vs 12ga 20amp wires and outlets

I ran a chain of 5 outlets for a workshop using 12ga wire, the very last outlet on the chain will be switched and used only for fluorescent lighting. Given the high cost of wire can the switch leg only be run using 14ga?

Am i correct in understanding that 15amp receptacles and switches are for use only with 14ga wire and 20amp for use only with 12ga wire?
Is this a hard line rule or can a 15a duplex outlet be used in a 12ga run when it will only see light duty, lamps etc. providing you wire to and not through the chained outlets? I assume there is no harm in using a 20a receptacle on a 14g wire run?


Re: 14ga 15amp. Vs 12ga 20amp wires and outlets

First, if you use 14ga wire in the circuit then the breaker is limited to a 15 amp breaker so you need to stick with 12 ga. The breaker is sized to the lowest rated unit in the circuit.
Second I would use 20 amp receptacles, they will work with standard plugs and be able to handle 20 amp plugs on heaver shop equipment.
Third Yes you can use 12 ga wire on 15 amp receptacles, just make sure you use the screws and not the back stab connections.


John freeman
Re: 14ga 15amp. Vs 12ga 20amp wires and outlets


However don't put a 20 amp receptacle on 14 wire.

If your breaker is 15 amps then you can run #14 wire to your last receptacle otherwise #12 all the way through the circuit.

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