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  1. #1

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    Default Question on wiring 20 amp breakers/wall outlets

    I have 12 gauge wiring running from my 20-amp breaker to my music room but it appears the electrician ran smaller gauge jumpers of around 6-8" to the receptacles themselves. Is this OK or does it defeat the purpose.
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    Not an electrician but It defeats the purpose.

  3. #3

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    What do you mean jumpers? From where to what and why?
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    It's a dual plug outlet so he's got the 2 12G whites that come from the breaker going into one wire nut type thing in the back of the wall enclosure with a 14G jumper coming out that goes to the receptacle. Same with the blacks.
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  5. #5

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    For clarification do you mean you have two sets of wires coming from the breaker? or do you have one set of wire coming from the breaker and and another set of wires going to another receptacle? This matters for other reasons but the jumpers should be 12G.

  6. #6

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    2 sets of wires from the breaker. 1 white and 1 black jumper to the receptacle.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon1952 View Post
    It's a dual plug outlet so he's got the 2 12G whites that come from the breaker going into one wire nut type thing in the back of the wall enclosure with a 14G jumper coming out that goes to the receptacle. Same with the blacks.
    Why would he have run two lines to one receptacle, that makes no sense unless one line is run to the top and the other to the bottom with the hot fin removed, which is obviously not the case.

    Anyway, yes that defeats the purpose and isn't up to code.

    What are you using for receptacles and are they 20 amp rated?
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    If your electrician wired the "jumpers" to a 15 amp plug, then it is up to code. If he wired ir up to 20 amp plugs, it isn't up to code. Call the company, and have them send somebody to your home to correct the situation, if it'sa 20 amp plug.

    Please tell me the jumpers are in some kind of electrical box, even if it's the one for the plugs?

    Not an electrician, but as A/C guy, I have to know a little bit about electrical codes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dragon1952 View Post
    2 sets of wires from the breaker. 1 white and 1 black jumper to the receptacle.
    Are the wires in the breaker panel connected to the same 20 amp breaker or two separate 20Amp breakers?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rpf65 View Post
    If your electrician wired the "jumpers" to a 15 amp plug, then it is up to code. If he wired ir up to 20 amp plugs, it isn't up to code. Call the company, and have them send somebody to your home to correct the situation, if it'sa 20 amp plug.
    Agree, you have to make sure you have the correct receptacle.

  11. #11
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    Pictures seem like they would help in this situation.

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    Lets use the correct words:

    Outlet = The metal or plastic box in the wall, from which current is taken to equipment.
    Note: if only a switch is in that box then it's not an outlet.

    Receptacle = The device in an outlet that you plug a cord into.
    Note #1: You plug one cord into one receptacle.
    Note #2: One major manufacture now labels their receptacles "outlets" !!!

    Pigtail = A short 6 or 8 inch wire connecting a receptacle to the service.

    So using a 14AWG pigtail to connect a 15 Amp dual receptacle to a 20 Amp circuit does not meet NEC code.

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    Not legal in electrical terms, and this person shouldn't have done that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
    Lets use the correct words:

    Outlet = The metal or plastic box in the wall, from which current is taken to equipment.
    Note: if only a switch is in that box then it's not an outlet.

    Receptacle = The device in an outlet that you plug a cord into.
    Note #1: You plug one cord into one receptacle.
    Note #2: One major manufacture now labels their receptacles "outlets" !!!

    Pigtail = A short 6 or 8 inch wire connecting a receptacle to the service.

    So using a 14AWG pigtail to connect a 15 Amp dual receptacle to a 20 Amp circuit does not meet NEC code.
    Yes, this appears to be the case (bolded above). Obviously the guy didn't understand what I wanted, and maybe I didn't know how to explain it 7 yrs ago when the house was being built. I told him I wanted a 20 amp circuit for my gear outlets ( 2 dual receptacles) and 12g wiring. He used smaller gauge pigtails from each "enclosure" to each "receptacle" and the receptacles he used were 15-amp. I just switched to the PS Audio Power Port Premieres which are 15/20-amp I believe. Each enclosure has 2 white wires going into a rectangular plastic piece (same function as a wire nut I just don't know the terminology) with one white pigtail from the same 'plastic piece' going to the receptacle...and same for the black wires.
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  15. #15

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    I am with Jake know: Pictures would be of great help.

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    Maybe "Push-In Wire Connector " similar to these.

    http://www.homedepot.com/buy/ideal-i...l#.URqomPKAOiM

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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedskater View Post
    Maybe "Push-In Wire Connector " similar to these.

    http://www.homedepot.com/buy/ideal-i...l#.URqomPKAOiM
    yes, similar but much cheaper looking
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    Perhaps the guy cut the pigtails from a piece of wire with a thinner insulation around the copper and it is actually 12AWG. I can't believe anyone would connect 14 to 12.
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuchulain View Post
    Perhaps the guy cut the pigtails from a piece of wire with a thinner insulation around the copper and it is actually 12AWG. I can't believe anyone would connect 14 to 12.
    Well now that I know the correct terminology I can at least Google the subject and get relevant results. Evidently using #14 pigtail off of #12 to a 15amp receptacle is pretty common....not saying up to code necessarily because I'm not sure yet, but at least common. And yes......could be just less insulation and still #12....I was just assuming.
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  20. #20

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    Two good brands of push in connectors are:

    NSi Polaris
    http://www.nsiindustries.com/product...l/polaris.aspx

    Wago
    http://www.wago.us/products/325.htm

  21. #21

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    Do you have an drill bits handy?

    14 AWG wire diameter is 0.0641 in or about 1/16 inch
    12 AWG wire diameter is 0.0808 in or between 5/64 & 3/16 inch

  22. #22

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    The reason why it's OK to wire a dual 15 Amp receptacle with 14AWG wire on a 15 Amp circuit but not on a 20 Amp circuit is:

    If you plug two 10 Amp space heaters into a dual receptacle wired with 14AWG wire, on a 15 Amp circuit the breaker will trip but in a 20 Amp circuit the breaker won't protect the wire.

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    I have and seen many 15 amp receptacle with 12awg wire on a 20 amp circuit, this maybe a local electrical law.

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  24. #24

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    The 20amp/20gauge wiring is way overkill anyway, I just had read something about people doing it so since the house was in construction decided what the hell. I've only got a 50W tube amp, CD player and my external Squeezebox PS plugged into the PS Audio receptacles, and just a computer set-up on one of the other outlets in the room on that same circuit so I don't think it's an issue anyway. From what I have learned since yesterday the only issue would arise if one of the outlets on the 20-amp circuit drew more than 20 amps, then, due to the #14 pigtails, the circuit breaker might not/or would not trip?
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  25. #25

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    But why not do it right?
    Do as F1 said.
    Remove pigtail and the hot fin between the two plugs on the 20 amp receptacle and put one black wire on top and the other on the bottom along with the white wire.

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    Quote Originally Posted by drselect View Post
    But why not do it right?
    Do as F1 said.
    Remove pigtail and the hot fin between the two plugs on the 20 amp receptacle and put one black wire on top and the other on the bottom along with the white wire.
    Assuming there is enough slack I just might to that.
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  27. #27

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    Forget about what breakers you have for a moment. The reason 14 awg wire isn't used for 20 amp circuits is there is too much current going through the wire for the wire to diapate heat. This breaks down the insulation, causing the wires to short, and possibly catch fire.

    If you splice 14 awg wire to 12 awg wire, your circuit is limited to 15A per NEC. You can run 6 awg throughout all your runs, if you want to, but if you slice any 14 awg wire to any load, the complete run is limited to 15A.

    Pictures would help, but providing the wire is joined in an approved electrical junction box, and the recepticles are 15A recepticals, and the breaker is 15A, the circuit is up to code. If the breaker and/or recepticle is 20A, it is not up to code.

  28. #28

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    The 20amp/[12]gauge wiring is way overkill anyway,
    Not really. Even better would be 10 gauge.

    Assuming there is enough slack I just might to that.
    If there isn't just add some 12 gauge pigtails, which you should do anyway.
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