Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Manchester, Vermont
    Posts
    298

    Default 14 gauge wire pigtail off a 20 amp. circuit

    From time to time I run across wiring, where the circuit is wired with 12-2 or 12-3 and where more than one cable enters a single outlet box.

    All there wires are group together, BLACK/WHITE/BARE COPPER into a single pigtail that will attach to a receptacle, general its a 15 amp rated
    duplex receptacles. SO THE LEADS ATTACH TO THIS DUPLEX RECEPTACLE
    ARE PROTECTED BY A S/P 20 AMPERE CIRCUIT BREAKER BACK AT THE HOUSE ELECTRICAL PANEL.

    My stand is this not acceptable, and must be change to #12 wire.

    But I talk to the electricians in my area, the old timers say its okay.
    The younger ones agree me. Follow inspectors, what are your thoughts?

    Similar Threads:
    Inspection Referral SOC

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: 14 gauge wire pigtail off a 20 amp. circuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert S. Mattison View Post
    All there wires are group together, BLACK/WHITE/BARE COPPER into a single pigtail ...
    Robert,

    I'm not following that: if the black/white/bare ground are all tied together in a single pigtail under a single wire nut, that would create both a dead short and a dead ground fault, either and both of which would trip the breaker.

    Would you give a different description of what you are talking about so I can follow it?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Manchester, Vermont
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: 14 gauge wire pigtail off a 20 amp. circuit

    Yes Jerry, bad description on my part. The black/HOT is pigtail to black.
    White/ground is pigtail to white, Bare copper/grounding conductors is pig-
    tail to same/green insulated or bare copper. Now the box has been made-
    up with three leads extending from it.

    One lead is HOT, Black Conductor, One lead is Ground, White Conductor.
    Third lead is bare copper - grounding conductor.

    The thing about all three leads, is their usually #14 not #12.

    My thing is you should not mix conductor size. By attaching #14 gauge
    wires as pigtails, the 20 amp. breaker should be change to 15 amp. or
    all pigtails should be change to #12 gauge wire, if you want to stay with
    the 20 amp. breaker. Well that my story.

    Here the 2nd. part of my story: on switches, I find #14 gauge on the load
    side of the switch going directly to a fix light fixture/luminaire. But the
    feed side of the switch is coming at #12 fuse at 20 amperes.

    Thanks for your interest. /S/ Robert


  4. #4

    Default Re: 14 gauge wire pigtail off a 20 amp. circuit

    Hi Robert,

    Jerry has a much better understanding of the NEC that I do, but I believe that you are correct. Unless the wires are protected by a 15 amp breaker, then 14 gauge wire is not allowed.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
    Posts
    26,248

    Default Re: 14 gauge wire pigtail off a 20 amp. circuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert S. Mattison View Post
    My thing is you should not mix conductor size. By attaching #14 gauge wires as pigtails, the 20 amp. breaker should be change to 15 amp. or all pigtails should be change to #12 gauge wire, if you want to stay with the 20 amp. breaker. Well that my story.
    I don't recall anything which would allow those #14 pigtails to be installed on #12 circuits which are protected by 20 amp breakers.

    Here the 2nd. part of my story: on switches, I find #14 gauge on the load side of the switch going directly to a fix light fixture/luminaire. But the feed side of the switch is coming at #12 fuse at 20 amperes.
    That would be the switch leg, and should also be #12 if on a 20 amp circuit.

    Remember, the breaker is not there to protect the equipment (such as the light fixture) it is there to protect the circuit wiring.

    Thus, the switch leg would be a no brainer, however, if you have more than one receptacle outlet on a 20 amp circuit, the receptacle outlets are allowed to be 15 amp rated, so in that sense, and with the pigtail being entirely in the box with the 15 amp rated receptacle, there really would not be much difference whether the receptacle burned up or the pigtail burned up ... however ... as I said, I do not recall anything allowing that, I was just explaining a thought process which may have lead to that being done - or maybe they just did not think at all.

    Of course, if the circuit is a 20 amp circuit and *is not to locations which require a 20 amp circuit*, then changing to a 15 amp breaker is easy to do, and if nothing starts tripping the breaker, no harm no foul, but if the breaker starts tripping, then all the pigtails would need to be changed to #12 20 amp rated.

    Just some thoughts on the issue.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  6. #6
    John Steinke's Avatar
    John Steinke Guest

    Default Re: 14 gauge wire pigtail off a 20 amp. circuit

    The NEC has a variety of "tap rules" that could, concievably be used to allow using a #14 wire to 'tap' a receptacle off a 20 amp circuit. There used to be - perhaps as recently as the 60's - some debate on this point.

    Debate became moot, however, when the NEC specifically forbade this practice.

    So, why is it still done? Simply because the 'push in' connections on receptacles will not accept #12 wire, and there are several circuits that are required to be 20 amp circuits.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Manchester, Vermont
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: 14 gauge wire pigtail off a 20 amp. circuit

    Insteresting point of view. .

    Are you saying only gauge 14 can be use with the non-comericial type
    receptacles/switches.

    Case in point, I have in my collection, one 3-way Levition Brand switch.
    It is clearly spell out on the back, "#12 & #14 Solid Wire Only". So I tested it with both #12 and #14 wire both seen to fit. But this used
    Leviton fail the test on holding the wire. I could easly pull out either
    size guage wire.

    How ever another brand, P & S, LIST ONLY SOLID #14 for push in quick
    connect, and clearly the slot looks smaller than on the Leviton Brand.

    In both test I found that once the wire was push in, and some type of
    chinese finger grab. It was not a tight connection, the wire, both gauges
    could easly be twisted around while connected. "I WOULD NOT EVER
    TRUST THIS TYPE OF CONNECTION. U.L. BE DAMN.

    Case in point, a previously inspection before the sell of trailer, 50% of
    the receptacle, that were made up using only the push-in connection
    had fail.


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,898

    Default Re: 14 gauge wire pigtail off a 20 amp. circuit

    Robert,

    Along with the labeling for use with only 14 ga. conductors the NEC also specifies that the backstabs can only be used with 14 ga. conductors.


  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Manchester, Vermont
    Posts
    298

    Default Re: 14 gauge wire pigtail off a 20 amp. circuit

    Jim P. thanks for the Heads Up. I miss that.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    1,898

    Default Re: 14 gauge wire pigtail off a 20 amp. circuit

    You are very welcome.


Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •