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Thread: Converting from larger to smaller wire gauge

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    DIY Junior Member maurice53's Avatar
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    Default Converting from larger to smaller wire gauge

    I am finishing an area in the back of my garage where there are existing washer dryer hookups to create a laundry room with access from inside of the house. My question is about wiring four ceiling recessed cans(60W bulb each). I have 12/2 romex running from an existing outlet in the adjacent dining room- which is the first device on this circuit- into a 2 gang 32 cu inch box where 2 wall switches for the ceiling lights will be wired.This will also power 2 new laundry room outlets and 1 additional existing dining room outlet. First can I have this many devices on this 20A circuit? Second, can I change the wire gauge to 14 gauge to the ceiling cans using 14/3 to create 2 circuits or do I need to use 12/3? Also is it okay to use 3 conductors to create the two circuits for the ceiling lights?

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Several issues abound here.

    First the receptacles in the dining room cannot share any other outlets but the dining room and kitchen receptacles.

    If there is only one breaker there is only one circuit. Splitting the circuit to run in different directions does not constitute two circuits.

    To change from 12 gauge wire to 14 gauge wire would mandate that the overcurrent device be a 15 amp device.

    If you are having this inspected then be sure that any and all receptacles in the dining area are on a small appliance circuit that has nothing else on the circuit.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Also, receptacles in the garage are required to be GFCI protected.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    DIY Junior Member maurice53's Avatar
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    jwelectric, as I read your response I realized the obvious that the 14 gauge wire would necessitate the breaker be 15A so I won't do that and I understand it is all one circuit.
    The area in the garage that will now be the laundry room will be separated from the garage by a new wall. The existing washer has a 20A dedicated circuit on white of a 12/3 and the red feeds another circuit in the garage- two outlets and a motion sensor outdoor light. There will be an exposed junction box covered with a blank plate in the new laundry room with this wiring. Can I tap off the red to power the laundry room ceiling lights(4) and 2 outlets? I do want this to pass inspection. I am trying to avoid running back to the service panel.

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Yes you can tap the garage circuit for the lights in the laundry area but any new receptacles in the dining room must be on one of the small appliance circuits

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    DIY Junior Member maurice53's Avatar
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    jwelectric your responses have been very helpful.
    In my previous posts I was mistakenly saying white when I meant black as I did in this post which I am now editing.
    I just discovered an outlet on a wall in the dining area near where the laundry is that is wired with 12/3- black connecting that outlet and a non-existent swamp cooler and red connecting 2 other dining room outlets. What about the following scenario? Disconnect the swamp cooler 12/2, connect the 2 other dining room outlets with the original outlet to the black for a total of 3 outlets on one circuit and connect the laundry ceiling lights and 2 outlets to the red creating a dedicated laundry circuit? If this is okay to do then I assume the correct wiring would be- using 12/2 wire 2 laundry outlets to the laundry ceiling light switch box then run 12/2 from there to the dining room outlet to connect to the red of the 12/3?
    Last edited by maurice53; 05-15-2011 at 08:15 PM.

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    In my opinion what you purpose is fine but, some code officials will look at the receptacles installed in the laundry area as being required to be on their own circuit. I would ask the person that will be doing the inspection.

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    DIY Junior Member maurice53's Avatar
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    Update: I have been told by the proper authorities that the outlets in the laundry have to be on their own circuit and that the washer can be on this circuit. Since the washer was its own circuit I will add the other receptacles and have the an additional circuit for the lights.

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