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#4461 - 09/28/01 03:42 PM #12 wire Minimum?  
Bill Addiss  Offline
Member
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,878
NY, USA
Would you like to see #12 as a minimum wire size for Residential Branch Circuits? Why or Why Not?

Bill


Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#4462 - 09/28/01 05:52 PM Re: #12 wire Minimum?  
Tom  Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,044
Shinnston, WV USA
Nope.

#1. Waste of resources.

#2. Box fill can become a problem. Hard enough to get compliance in this area as it is.

Tom


Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

#4463 - 09/28/01 06:08 PM Re: #12 wire Minimum?  
Fred  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 449
Straughn, IN 47387
In the town I mostly work in, they passed an ordinance in 1996 prohibiting conductors smaller than #12cu in residential buildings for new construction. This became a problem when an addition of manufactured homes was started. They had #14 but had the HUD label.


#4464 - 09/28/01 06:13 PM Re: #12 wire Minimum?  
Fred  Offline
Member
Joined: Apr 2001
Posts: 449
Straughn, IN 47387
To answer Bill's question; I rarely used #14 when I was doing residential. Most of my jobs were large custom homes with long home runs. I stuck to 12-2 for voltage drop as much as the convenience of only dealing with one wire size. Box fill wasn't a problem, I never used 1G boxes smaller than 20 cuin. One contractor insisted on 4x4x2-1/8 boxes w/mudrings! I'll play if they pay!


#4465 - 09/28/01 07:37 PM Re: #12 wire Minimum?  
Tom  Offline
Member
Joined: Jan 2001
Posts: 1,044
Shinnston, WV USA
Fred,

I am sometimes asked to use metal boxes on a Romex job, until they find out how much more it will cost.

I have yet to find a 1 gang plastic box that can handle the following scenario- three wire w/ground home run, 2 two wire cables & a receptacle. If there is a box big enough for this, my suppliers don't carry it.

Box fill is also a problem with multi-gang boxes since there isn't, in my experiance, 20 cubic inches per gang. Of course, maybe I've led a sheltered life. [Linked Image]

Naturally, careful wiring layout can overcome the fill problems in some cases, but the multi-gang box is a problem for me since I do not run switch legs down from a light. Tack in a 3 way or two & the multi-gang boxes fill up fast.

Like you, I only buy one size single gang box, the biggest I can get. Cost difference is minimal & the work goes a lot faster.

Tom


Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.

#4466 - 09/28/01 08:13 PM Re: #12 wire Minimum?  
bordew  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 142
Vienna,Ohio, USA
Quote
Originally posted by Fred:
To answer Bill's question; I rarely used #14 when I was doing residential. Most of my jobs were large custom homes with long home runs. I stuck to 12-2 for voltage drop as much as the convenience of only dealing with one wire size. Box fill wasn't a problem, I never used 1G boxes smaller than 20 cuin. One contractor insisted on 4x4x2-1/8 boxes w/mudrings! I'll play if they pay!


Your right, when you start getting into homes with 2500 sq.ft., or more the runs start to become very long and voltage drop can really be a problem. I use the big 4-S too, but if there is a fil problem I will gang 2 x 3 x 3 1/2 together and never have had a problem with it. But as far as limiting the use to just no.12 for residential, I could put up with it, but i'd prefer not to. I do know in the Ccleveland area they can use no wire smaller than No.12, But even with No.12 at about 85 feet and your at the required 5 % voltage drop at 15 amps.


#4467 - 09/28/01 09:08 PM Re: #12 wire Minimum?  
sparky66wv  Offline
Member
Joined: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,236
West Virginia
I've wired many a home with #12 minimum.

Used CXW 2-1/8" Deep gangable boxes.

Now, I still only use #14 for lighting circuits, all recepts are on #12 with 20A CB's, all pigtailed. Definitely got to put switched recepts on the end of the line, if one wants to go the top-switched bottom-hot split-recept thingee.

I like to put junction boxes to feed hots to switch boxes so that only one hot and no jumpers are taking up space, cramming dimmers into filled-to-the-limit boxes is just too much...

I'll occasionally drop a switch loop if it is convenient, usually it is if the J-box is in an attic.

The house I'm currently wiring has a shop that got EMT and 1-1/2 deep 4x4's (furred with 2" nominal) and plaster rings at 1/2"... Didn't want the DIY homeowner to drive a nail in the Romex when hanging his tools... Had to be real careful with wire count there too...


-Virgil
Residential/Commercial Inspector
5 Star Inspections
Member IAEI

#4468 - 09/28/01 09:21 PM Re: #12 wire Minimum?  
Anonymous
Unregistered

I will allow an exception for dedicated alarm circuits to be #14. Circuits that are meant to have receptacles or run lighting should be minimum #12.

1. Inherently more resistant to overloading.
2. Conserves resources.

Here's a killer reason for you:
3. No more backstabbed receptacles!



[This message has been edited by Dspark (edited 09-28-2001).]


#4469 - 09/28/01 11:31 PM Re: #12 wire Minimum?  
Jim M  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 457
Chestertown, MD, USA
I have used #12 for most of my work along with 20 cu. in. boxes. With the new vacuums rated at 12 amps it doesn't make sense not to have any reserve in the circuit.

As for box fill try to find the new Carlon Super Blue boxes. They advertise the largest rated capacity and extra rigidity.


#4470 - 09/29/01 12:54 AM Re: #12 wire Minimum?  
Dallas  Offline
Member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 151
North Salem, IN 46165
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Tom:
[B]Fred,
I have yet to find a 1 gang plastic box that can handle the following scenario- three wire w/ground home run, 2 two wire cables & a receptacle. If there is a box big enough for this, my suppliers don't carry it.<<

Tom,
The box for what you described is a Carlon (or equiv) 32 cu. in. nail on 4S box, with a 1/2" mud ring. Works out to about 37 or 38 cu. in. total, I think.

In resi, we use #12 minimum for everything. Even lighting circuits, since the few homes we do a year are large customs with a lot of lighting. We try to get around voltage drop by using subpanels where we can.


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