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Should I replace the 14/2 wire in my garage that powers two 15A outlets?

These junction off of a 12/2 main line that also powers outlets for garage door motor, plug in overhead LED lighting, and modern dryer (5 connections total). This circuit uses a 20Amp breaker.

I'm assuming the junction to the dryer outlet is a continuation of the 12/2; and that the garage motor outlet (part of the junction box, stacked on) likely uses 14/2.

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2 Answers 2

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Yes, replace the 14 AWG wire with 12 AWG wire. All wire on a 20A circuit must be 12 AWG or larger. The alternative is to change to a 15 A breaker, but with that much stuff I'd want to keep it 20A.

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    In addition to replacing the 14 AWG with 12, since you already know you have a wiring issue, it's possible that other incorrect wire sizes have been used for this circuit. So you'll probably want to check everything else as well on this circuit to make sure everything in the circuit is 12AWG.
    – Milwrdfan
    Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 0:52
  • I will replace the wire then. Is there any issue with it if left unused (nothing drawing current from those outlets) until then?
    – JxN
    Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 1:20
  • Technically yes, it should be disconnected. Realistically as long as nobody plugs in a space heater, not a problem. Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 1:25
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    Please flag obvious duplicates. With two gold badges in the subject you know what they are.
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 13:54
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    "Siri/Google, search diy.stackexchange.com for 14 gauge wire on 20 amp breakers" results in a list almost identical to mine above. :P
    – isherwood
    Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 14:15
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You cannot have 14 gauge on a 20 amp breaker.

The two options is to replace with 12 gauge or change the breaker to 15 amps.

Are you sure the dryer is on the same circuit? Usually dryers are on their own circuit. Unles the dryer is quite tiny and only uses a few amps(5), I would make sure it is on its own circuit/breaker.

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    If "modern dryer" refers to a heat pump dryer or a small apartment size dryer, it might be on a standard 120V circuit. Commented Feb 23, 2023 at 23:55
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    It's not clear also if the dryer is an electric heat dryer or gas. If it's a gas dryer, having it on a 120V 20A circuit seems reasonable, since the electrical only needs to provide motor and control power and not any heat elements.
    – Milwrdfan
    Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 0:50
  • The dryer is gas. But has smart features.
    – JxN
    Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 1:15
  • Thank you for the response @crip659. Is there any issue with these being connected, but not used? Otherwise I will open up the junction and remove/replace any 14 gauge.
    – JxN
    Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 1:17
  • The only way to make sure they are not used is to remove them. Somebody in the future will use them.
    – crip659
    Commented Feb 24, 2023 at 12:27

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