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#116896 - 05/02/04 03:25 PM Ceiling Fan on T-stat wire
Admin Offline

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3417
Loc: NY, USA
These are pics of a ceiling fan, which the homeowner told me was installed by the previous homeowner... The wire running the fan is none other that "thermostat wire"! I advised her to keep it unplugged until she could have the installation done properly! Coincidentally, This wire is also running 2 other ceiling fans besides the one pictured...

-Randy (aka Lostazhell)

[This message has been edited by Webmaster (edited 05-02-2004).]
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#116897 - 05/02/04 04:32 PM Re: Ceiling Fan on T-stat wire
ThinkGood Offline
Registered: 08/07/02
Posts: 1081
Loc: Milwaukee, WI
No. Can't be. No way. NO way. NO WAY...
#116898 - 05/03/04 04:19 AM Re: Ceiling Fan on T-stat wire
electure Offline

Registered: 12/24/00
Posts: 4259
Loc: Fullerton, CA USA
Is this is in a mobile home?
#116899 - 05/03/04 07:53 AM Re: Ceiling Fan on T-stat wire
SvenNYC Offline
Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1691
Loc: New York City
Just how _thin_ is T-stat wire?

Is it about the same size as bell wire used for telephones? I'm amazed it hasn't overheated and melted.

Nice heavy-duty plug....too bad they couldn't have at least used heavy-duty cord if they were going to do that sort of stupidity....
#116900 - 05/03/04 08:50 AM Re: Ceiling Fan on T-stat wire
Lostazhell Offline
Registered: 02/21/04
Posts: 1428
Loc: Bakersfield, CA (Originally Or...
Scott.... Yes it is

Sven.... Typical T-stat wire is 18-22AWG Solid.. typically 2 pair in a cable like this... I was amazed myself!, considering this stuff is only rated for 24V! & this was running ceiling fans in 2 other rooms!

#116901 - 05/03/04 09:28 AM Re: Ceiling Fan on T-stat wire
BigJohn Offline
Registered: 03/06/04
Posts: 391
Loc: Boston, MA
Don't you guys recognize a combination unit when you see one? That is a fan system plus surface mount radiant heating!

That really is incredible. I bet those fans turned at about one revolution per year on their highest setting....

#116902 - 05/03/04 12:10 PM Re: Ceiling Fan on T-stat wire
winnie Offline
Registered: 09/15/03
Posts: 649
Loc: boston, ma
Guys, have you ever looked up the ampacity of 18ga wire???

20ga wire will _easily_ carry the current needed to run a fan. The voltage drop won't even be too bad if the length is less than a few 10s of feet.

When following the NEC (as well as good engineering practise), circuit conductors need to be sized to carry the load current, to have long useful life without failure, to survive expected faults, to remain safe even in fault conditions, etc. If you give up all of these various safety enhancements, you will still have a system that works.

If running 16A through 14ga wire resulted in instant fire, there would not be all that many hack electricians around, and we would never be able to have fun discussions about tap conductor rules.

#116903 - 05/03/04 01:12 PM Re: Ceiling Fan on T-stat wire
iwire Offline
Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4391
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
If you give up all of these various safety enhancements,


Yeah those darn 'safety enhancements' burn up my time and waste our natural resources.

Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician
#116904 - 05/15/04 01:31 AM Re: Ceiling Fan on T-stat wire
Lostazhell Offline
Registered: 02/21/04
Posts: 1428
Loc: Bakersfield, CA (Originally Or...
All those darn safety enhancements put food on my table & pay the bills! If people started figuring out how to do things the right way on their own, the service industry would'nt be half as lucrative! Not to mention we wouldn't have half as many photos to bicker about here! I guess the good thing is, that people call us to make things work again, we have a chance to make some difference, maybe talk a little sense into the DIYer, explain "why" things are supposed to be a certain way.... I do it almost daily! Thankfully, I've only been called a couple times for repairs after an actual fire.. & I've seen so many more things that made me wonder why they weren't ablaze already!

#116905 - 05/15/04 08:35 AM Re: Ceiling Fan on T-stat wire
John Steinke Offline
Registered: 04/03/01
Posts: 518
Loc: Reno,Nv., USA
I just installed such a fan yesterday.
The motor was rated at about 1.5 amps, plus a 60 watt bulb. So, we're looking at 2 amps total. Three such fans would be about 6 amps.
From an engineering standpoint ONLY, #18 wire ought to be able to handle about 7 amps. Therefore, I'm not surprised that this unit ran fine, or that there are no signs of overheating.
Of course, there are still the issues of insulation rating, mechanical protection, and short-circuit protection. The breaker is still let 20 amps go through the 7 amp wire- which would allow the wires to imitate toaster filaments.
Need to be fixed? Absolutely. End of the world? I don't think so.
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