I have 16 lights and receptacles that are 14 ga copper wiring except two split receptacles that are intermingled with 12 gauge wire that was placed on a 20 amp breaker? What is the best way to do this correctly?

Should I add a new 15 amp circuit breaker and conduit that should be added to correctly wired for the 16 outlet:lights and then change the two 12 intermingled (14 and 12 gauge wire receptacles;0) to 12 gauge and use the existing 20 amp breaker which feeds directly to that 20 amp breaker?

closed as unclear what you're asking by Speedy Petey, Michael Karas, Daniel Griscom, ThreePhaseEel, Tester101 Mar 15 '17 at 17:25

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  • 1
    Not quite sure what you're asking / describing. You have a single circuit with 16 lights and receptacles on it? It's all #14 wire, except for some portion which is #12, and its on a 20 A breaker? You want to add a new breaker, or replace the existing 20 A breaker? Can you clarify your question with additional details, maybe a little schematic or photos showing the wiring? – mmathis Mar 10 '17 at 16:54

This is dangerous and could start a fire!

If I understand you correctly, you have a circuit which contains a mixture of #12 and #14 wire, that is protected with a 20 A breaker. If so, that breaker needs to be changed immediately to a 15 A breaker. #14 wire is only rated for a 15 A breaker, and having any #14 wire at any point in the circuit, no matter where and no matter how little wire there actually is, means the circuit must be protected by a 15 A breaker. You must use the smallest current rating of any of the wires / devices in the circuit to determine the proper breaker size.

The breaker should be turned off and the circuit not used until it is replaced.

  • It been like that for at least 7 years. Thank u will try to fix it immediately – larry pinsky Mar 11 '17 at 5:32
  • Temporary can I just switched the breaker to 15 amp s even though their is a 12 gauge wire connected to the breaker until I remedy this problem. Been like this for 7 years – larry pinsky Mar 11 '17 at 5:35
  • This was done when the electrician put in a new panel box and changed a couple of the receptacles. I wouldn't have found the problem if I erent replacing all receptacles – larry pinsky Mar 11 '17 at 5:45
  • @larrypinsky yes, replacing the breaker with a 15 A breaker is the easiest solution. The other one is to replace all the #14 wire with #12, but that probably involves fishing wire through walls. – mmathis Mar 11 '17 at 5:46
  • Great idea--should had done that years. Ago. But I can start on some gradually. – larry pinsky Mar 13 '17 at 4:22

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