Doing a job wiring a finished basement in another city that I haven't wired in b4 so I called the inspector to see about the use of 14 gauge romex ( The neighboring city strictly forbids 14. Some kind of local ordinance) The inspector calls me back and says I can use 14 on the switch legs but not on the home runs and I can still use a 20 amp breaker! In my local home area, if you use any 14 in a circuit it must be on a 15 amp breaker. I had planned to wire the entire thing out of 14 but I am glad I called! Chris
Chris, I ran into a similar deal here where I live. I had pulled all the switch legs and homeruns in 12awg, the inspector told me I had to change the switch legs to 14awg and still fuse them at 20 amps. Makes no sense to me, I did not change them, made an apppeal to the board in the county where I was working and got that job approved. I dont know about the next one!!
Life is tough, Life is tougher when you are stupid
I run into 14g back fed switch legs on 20A ckts in older say 50's - 70's homes around here quite often. It was explained to me years ago that they used to allow that and since the "true rating" of 14g copper is 20A before the derating applied by 240.4(D) I shouldn't freak out and change all the breakers to 15A. I'm still tempted to. I can't imagine why someone would actually require it done that way. It's also common to run into really old fuse boxes protecting 12g K&T or cloth and paperwound cable at 30A and it seems it was installed that way by the original installer.
On another note: I can't find article 219 in any of my code books.
I would love to hear both Chris and Jimmy's inspectors explanations for why they are allowing/requiring this.
Coincedetally, I had a callback yesterday to a house I finished about 8 months ago for a laundry light switch tripping the breaker. Turned out to be the plumber had hammered one of his wire gas hold down straps hard across my 14/2G switch leg. The laundry room is more of a hall closet and I'm sure the light didn't run much or it would have shown up sooner. In the few times it tripped it had already burned the ground open and was working on burning the hot and neutral wires open. I wouldn't have wanted it breakered at 20A. But then again maybe that would have opened it up and cleared the fault sooner? Or just provided more energy to start the fire?
New Mexico State Code says I can't run 14 farther than 75' because of voltage drop. It doesn't matter how heavily the circuit is loaded either. Doesn't make any sense to me. So, what most guys are doing (including me) for say a general lighting circuit is pulling the home run in 12, then switching to 14, on a 15A breaker. I know it is bad design, and presents several potential problems, but I have to compete with other guys doing the same thing.