I have a family room with 15 amp breaker feeding a few receptacles. I replaced an old receptacle but had to use 12 ga wire as pigtails on that one receptacle. Is that ok or no?


The 12ga wire is perfectly fine to use as a pigtail for a 15amp circuit.

Just note, The pigtail needs to be securely bound to the existing wiring. So a couple of twisted wires and electric tape is not enough, wire caps or something similar needs to be used. And if the existing wiring is aluminum, you will need to use specialized caps to bind copper wire to it.

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  • Also note that you probably never want to use 12G copper to pigtail aluminum. It won't bend enough and there is a high high chance it will cause your aluminum to break in the future. – DMoore May 11 '15 at 17:49
  • Thanks Diceless. I should have specified I used the ideal 4 wire push in. 3 black and 3 white with the pigtails. – Will May 11 '15 at 20:23
  • Sorry. It is all copper wiring. Thanks again. – Will May 11 '15 at 20:23
  • A few other caveats: the "backstab" terminals found on some outlets may only allow for 14GA wire, in which case the side screw terminals should be used. Also, make sure that the wire nut being used is correct for the number and size of conductors (not really enough information from the question to answer that part). – Hank May 11 '15 at 21:40

As mentioned by diceless, that's perfectly acceptable, as long as it is connected properly, which was also mentioned.

Just wanted to note that the inverse is not acceptable, to use a 14ga jumper in a 20amp circuit. This runs the risk of that section of wire melting before the circuit breaker trips.

Where your 12ga jumper is able to handle more current than the rest of the 15amp circuit, you're all set.

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  • Actually the real danger with using 14 AWG on a 20 Amp breaker is it causing a fire, not of it melting. ( I have used a modified transformer to melt 14 Gauge wire, and even then it takes quite a bit before it melts ) – Brad Gilbert May 13 '15 at 0:42

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