#12 or #14 wire

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by gfe76, Oct 15, 2007.

  1. gfe76

    gfe76 New Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Florida
    I live in atlanta. house is 4 BR with 150 amp service. oven, hotwater heater and furnace are gas; dryer is electric. I have to run several 110 outlets to garage, back patio, front porch and basement. Should I run #12 (20 amp breakers) or #14 wire(15 amp breakers). Most of these outlets will rarely be used at the same time, but on occasion they might be.
    I know I need to upgrade to a 200 amp svc, but trying to avoid that expense. thx
  2. 480sparky

    480sparky In the Trades

    Messages:
    149
    14 is all that would be required. I'd recommend 12 for the garage, though, as the words 'Power Tools" comes to mind. Table saw, air compressor, ShopVac, drill press.... all can use a lot of power and you don't want to skimp in that area.
    But for the basement, porch and patio, you can get by with 14 on a 15amp circiut.

    As for your service, unless you have a noticable problem with a lack of power (ie, the lights dim when the AC comes on, or the main constantly trips), there's no need to upgrade. Spend the money on a table saw, compressor, ShopVac and a drill press instead.
  3. gfe76

    gfe76 New Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Florida
    Thanks sparky...I like the way you think!
    I do have an outlet in the tool room in the garage and the small compressor causes the light in that room to dim when it kicks on but that is probably because they are on the same circuit.
    I will run 14 (15 amp cir) except in garage...thanks again...
    I have outlets on the deck above the back patio...any reason I can't run a wire from those outlets to make outlet on patio below? thx
  4. 480sparky

    480sparky In the Trades

    Messages:
    149
    No reason you can't. In fact, if you put a GFI in the first location, you can provide GFI protection for the other receptacle(s) by terminating the wire under the "Load" terminals of the GFI. Just make sure you use the same size wire as what feed that outlet.
  5. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    In most places, a gfci is required for use in the garage, or any outdoor locations. Depending on the equipment involved, there may be exceptions, but for outlets, you need it. It's less expensive to use one gfci and then daisy chain the rest from it on the load side, but you can use a gfci breaker.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    26,485
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    outlets

    What you plug into the outlets determines whether they should be 15 or 20 amps, and the devices you use also determine the amperage of the entrance cables and main breaker, not the amp rating of the outlets.
  7. gfe76

    gfe76 New Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Florida
    thanks for everything. I respect electricity. In plumbing if you make a mistake you usually only have a big mess...in electrical if you make a mistake....well you know....that's why I do very little DIY electrical and I will probably hire an electrician to do this as well. I just want to be a little educated in the matter.
  8. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Messages:
    7,328
    Location:
    Yakima WA
    Since you never know for sure what you might need in the future, why just "get by" with 14 gauge? Sure, copper wire is an arm and leg now, but the extra expense will soon be forgotten and it's a good feeling to know you have enough capacity to do almost anything that uses 120V.
  9. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    Echo using the 12, and 20A CB and receptacles in the garage. One useful layout technique is to have the lighting on its own circuit, so a breaker trip from an overload doesn't leave you in the dark.
  10. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    Be aware some parts of the ATL metro area do not allow #14 wire to be used at all.
    Call the building department to be sure.
  11. gfe76

    gfe76 New Member

    Messages:
    88
    Location:
    Florida
    All good idea...I'll use them....thanks again.
  12. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Spent several hours and lots of money making sure that the lights and receptacles in the same room were on different breakers so if the breaker tripped the room wouldn't be dark.

    Two different things happened that let me know just how silly I was to waste all that money and time.

    The only breaker that tripped was the one supplying the light and left me in the dark.

    and

    The power company lost power due to an ice storm and again I was left in the dark.

    From that time on I quit wasting my money and time trying to keep a light burning so I wouldn't be in the dark and let those that think that keeping the two separate believe what their heart disire.
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,889
    Location:
    New England
    When I think lights, I think hard-wired fixtures. Unless say a transformer in a florescent fixture died, I would not expect a lighting circuit to overload, so from a non-pro viewpoint, I don't agree. If that lighting circuit also contained outlets, then you could easily overload it. If it overloaded with lights only, somebody screwed up or you had an equipment failure.
  14. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    When I think of a lighting circuit I think about any and all circuits through the house that are not an appliance circuit or one of the circuits outlined in 210.11(C)

    So are you saying that you expect all the other circuits to overload? This would not be a very good design, would it?

    Do you not realize that the light itself is at an outlet? I think that you are confusing an outlet and a receptacle. The light is a lighting “outlet” and the receptacle is a receptacle “outlet”

    If any circuit tripped due to an overload it would be due to someone screwing up would it not?

    Of course it would be better if when we entered a room we turned on the overhead light, a table lamp that is on a separate circuit and also had an emergency battery back-up light just in case both of these circuits opened at the same time. Personally I carry a dual AAA battery Mag light in my pocket just in case the emergency back-up light has a dead battery.

    I am sure that at least 99% of the members on this forum turn on two lights from different circuits every time they enter a room and at least 80% of the members carry a flashlight just in case they forget.
  15. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    So, what blew the CB on the lighting circuit?
  16. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    991
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    HERE!! HERE!!

    I TOTALLY agree.

    I have never, repeat never, tripped a breaker in my house. And yes, I DO use quite a bit of power. I own 85% of the the power tools known to man, and I use them!
  17. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    I've tripped garage and workshop breakers, when testing older electrical motors and such. Still having lights was something I appreciated. In ordinary residential areas, subdividing the lights may not accomplish so much.
  18. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    How do you trip a breaker testing a motor?

    Surely you know how to size a circuit for a motor, yes?

    Surely you aren't just hooking a motor to a circuit to see if it will run and calling this a test, no?

    I always test motors using a tester designed for the purpose but then again what do I know?
  19. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    No guarantee the motor is in perfect working order.

    Not a professional motor repairman, am I. I get various pieces of equipment offered to me, and always a sucker for a freebie, I usually accept. If it doesn't test as a dead short, or near to it, and the shaft isn't obviously locked, I am likely to want to try and power it up. If someone gave you a car, would you turn the ignition key, or send it to a garage for an extensive regimen of tests?
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