that sounds choose light switches and also lights room usually wired with 14/2 cable. Is it okay to use 12/2 cable instead? would I need special switches?


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As lengthy as you have a 15A circuit breaker on the circuit, it"s ok to usage 12/2 NM cable for her lights. Due to the fact that the maximum current on the circuit will certainly be 15A, girlfriend won"t require special switches. You need to label the wire the it is 15A, no 20A, so that someone rather doesn"t come along and also treat it together a 20A circuit.

You are watching: Difference between 12-2 and 14-2 wire

Pro: 12/2 cable is a slightly far better conductor the electricity, therefore you"ll have slightly much less loss in between the business panel and your fixtures. Cons: it"s much more expensive, more difficult to work with than 14/2 cable, and you may need come use bigger junction boxes because the NEC enables fewer 12 gauge conductors than 14 gauge in a provided volume box.

You"ll probably also find the you won"t have the ability to use the insertion fittings top top the earlier of the switches (but that"s OK, IMO, because I always use the screws), and you absolutely won"t have the ability to use the electric nuts that come v your lights, for this reason you"ll have actually to get your own (and make a secure link might be trickier v 12 gauge).


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edited Feb 21 "11 in ~ 5:04
answer Feb 21 "11 in ~ 4:55
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Niall C.♦Niall C.
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Yes, it is okay to usage 12-2 cable to supply lighting fixtures. The other answer suggests that it also with 12-2 you have to use a 15A breaker for lighting circuits i beg your pardon is no strictly correct.

If the entire circuit is 12AWG (other 보다 fixture wires), then a 20A breaker may be used.

If only component of the circuit is 12AWG while various other parts room 14AWG (other 보다 fixture wires), then a 15A breaker should be used due to the fact that of the allowable ampacity with 14AWG. In general, I would recommend preventing mixing 14AWG and 12AWG ~ above the same circuit to prevent confusion. If necessary, ns would extremely recommend labeling the circuit at the breaker through a keep in mind explaining the mix of 12AWG and 14AWG wire on the circuit. I think this is the instance Niall C"s answer was explaining.

Fixture wires in either situation must comply v the requirements provided in 240.5. Note: This is why many lighting fixtures (e.g. Ceiling fans, dome lights) and light switches with built-in wires (e.g. Combination switch/occupancy sensor, mix switch/timer) have wires smaller sized than 14AWG.

From the 2014 NEC (NFPA-70):

Note: In the 2011 edition, the text of 210.22 and also 210.23 were in a single clause, but essentially claimed the very same thing. These requirements are not new in the 2014 standard.

210.22 permit Loads, separation, personal, instance Branch Circuits. An separation, personal, instance branch circuit candlestick be permitted to supply any type of load because that which that is rated, but in no instance shall the load exceed the branch-circuit ampere rating.

210.23 permit Loads, Multiple-Outlet Branch Circuits. In no case shall the pack exceed the branch-circuit ampere rating. A branch circuit offering two or much more outlets or receptacles chandelier supply only the tons specified according to its dimension as mentioned in 210.23(A) with (D) and as summarized in 210.24 and also Table 210.24.

(A) 15- and also 20-Ampere Branch Circuits. A 15- or 20-ampere branch circuit chandelier be allowed to it is provided lighting devices or various other utilization equipment, or a combination of both, and also shall comply through 210.23(A)(1) and also (A)(2).

Exception: The small-appliance branch circuits, wash branch circuits, and also bathroom branch circuits required in a dwelling unit(s) by 210.11(C)(1), (C)(2), and also (C)(3) chandelier supply only the receptacle outlets mentioned in the section.

(1) Cord-and-Plug-Connected tools Not Fastened in Place. The rating of any type of one cord-and-plug-connected utilization devices not fastened in place shall not exceed 80 percent the the branch-circuit ampere rating.

(2) Utilization equipment Fastened in Place. The full rating that utilization devices fastened in place, various other than luminaires, shall no exceed 50 percent the the branch-circuit ampere rating where lighting units, cord-and-plugconnected utilization equipment not fastened in place, or both, are also supplied.

240.5 defense of versatile Cords, functional Cables, and Fixture Wires. functional cord and flexible cable, including tinsel cord and also extension cords, and fixture wires shall be protected against overcurrent by either 240.5(A) or (B).

(A) Ampacities. functional cord and also flexible cable candlestick be safeguarded by one overcurrent machine in accordance v their ampacity as mentioned in Table 400.5(A)(1) and also Table 400.5(A)(2). Fixture cable shall it is in protected versus overcurrent in accordance v its ampacity as stated in Table 402.5. Supplementary overcurrent protection, as extended in 240.10, chandelier be allowed to it is in an acceptable method for providing this protection.

(B) Branch-Circuit Overcurrent Device. flexible cord shall be protected, where gave by a branch circuit, in accordance with one of the methods described in 240.5(B)(1), (B)(3), or (B)(4). Fixture cable shall be protected, where supplied by a branch circuit, in accordance with 240.5(B)(2).

(1) it is provided Cord of noted Appliance or Luminaire. Where versatile cord or tinsel cord is authorized for and used v a specific provided appliance or luminaire, the shall be thought about to be defended when applied within the appliance or luminaire listing requirements. For the purposes of this section, a luminaire may be one of two people portable or permanent.

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(2) Fixture Wire. Fixture wire shall be allowed to be tapped come the branch-circuit conductor the a branch circuit in accordance with the following: