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Wire load capacity

I recently had an electrical contractor wire my basement as we are finishing it out to a living space. I was quoted for 20 amp circuits to all outlets and 15 amp circuits to all lighting loads (cans).

In each of the rooms I see one power feed coming in to service 8 outlets and 6 can lights. All utilizing 14-2 wire. Now I would expect the 14-2 going to the lights from a 15 amp circuit and then 12-2 for the outlets from a 20 amp circuit. Not everything being fed from one 14-2 wire from a 20 amp circuit.

So one question is can 14-2 wire handle a 20 amp circuit, or should the electrician have run 12-2 wire? The second question is to I have a strong enough position to have them rewire everything or am I just out of line?

Thanks for your time!

Re: Wire load capacity

Unless you have a specific need for a 20 amp circuit, the 14-2circuit will be fine. If you worked out a contract with the contractor stating that you wanted the 20 amp circuit for the receptacles then it should be rewired. If the contractor used a 20 amp breaker with the 14-2 then that should be changed.

Re: Wire load capacity

The 20 amp is what is written up in his quote that I approved. But my major concern is the fact that he is running 8 outlets and 6 recessed can lights on one single 15 amp line. Especially since at least two of the outlets will be dedicated to home entertainment equipment. That I think should be on it's own circuit all together.

Re: Wire load capacity

Just to be sure this is clear you must protect the 14guage wire with a 15a breaker.

In residential there are no restrictions on how many receptacles are on this type of circuit. So for the sake of the discussion lets look at it like a commercial load where receptacles a figured at 180va for calculations. 180 x 8 = 1440va. 6 fixtures at 100watts each = 600watts. 1440 + 600 = 2040watts. 2040watts / 120volts = 17 amps.

If it was figured as a continuous load or fully loaded for more than 3 hours it is more load than a 20a circuit could handle. (Understand that I am guessing at your lamp wattage.)

If it were me he would be wiring it according to his proposal.

Re: Wire load capacity

In residential work I keep the number of openings on a 15 amp circuit to no more than 10, 13 on a 20 amp. In your case I wouldve used 14-3 and networked the recep. circuit with lighting circuit.

Re: Wire load capacity

Well 50 watts on the lights, but still. I think the circuit is a little overloaded and will have them rewire according to their proposal.

Re: Wire load capacity

Another problem is that if you blow a circuit you also blow all the lights. I would prefer at least 2 lighting citcuits and if the qoute was for 20 amp outlets, he should have honored he own proposal.JMHO.

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