Can I have a 20 amp breaker with 12 gauge wire run to a switch that is a 15 amp and use 14 gauge wire from the switch to the ceiling fan only?


No. You could have a 15 amp breaker, and this would then be fine (oversized wire is OK.)

| improve this answer | |
  • 3
    in other words the breaker must be the lowest rated component on the circuit – ratchet freak Oct 2 '14 at 11:41
  • +1 But 14 guage is not oversized. Even on a limited portion of the circuit, which is 20 amp, it is undersized. . – bib Oct 2 '14 at 20:49
  • I was referring to the 12Gauge, of course and using a 15 amp breaker, so the 14 gauge would not be undersized (but the 12 gauge would be oversized) – Ecnerwal Oct 3 '14 at 0:07
  • @ratchetfreak: Except that a 15A receptacle may be legitimately driven by a 20A circuit unless the only thing driven by that circuit is a single (non-duplex) 15A receptacle. – supercat Jan 20 '15 at 22:07

For the record:

Yes, you can use a 15 amp switch as long as the load does not exceed 15 amps. Here is the pertinent Code article:

404.14 Rating and Use of Snap Switches. Snap switches shall be used within their ratings and as indicated in 404.14(A) through (F).

(A) Alternating-Current General-Use Snap Switch. A form of general-use snap switch suitable only for use on ac circuits for controlling the following:

(1) Resistive and inductive loads not exceeding the ampere rating of the switch at the voltage involved

So, the switch has to be rated for the load not the circuit.

Good luck!

| improve this answer | |

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.