Breaker conductor size

I have a 15 amp breaker with what appears to be a 12 AWG conductor. I think I read on this board that this is acceptable. I just want to confirm.

Oversized wires, provided they fit the connection, are okay. Undersized are not.

Thanks Larry!

That breaker looks like a replacement. I’d find out what it is providing power to, it may require a 20 amp breaker.

The picture makes it look like a replacement, but I don’t think it is. But I will confirm.

I wouldn’t be investigating whether a 15 amp breaker may have to be upgraded to a 20 amp breaker. That’s not my responsibility. I see most Electricians installing 12 gauge wiring to 15 and 20 amp breakers, nowadays. Very rarely will I see 14 gauge wiring in a typical residential panel.

Around here sparkies stick to the minimum and any variation usually is a result of an improper repair. Vestigation would be to just double check with the directory labeling.

I have wired plenty of homes in 14 AWG. When you are looking at the number of branch circuits needed lets say in a home you have to weigh costs with application. Let’s consider a few things. If the home is 2,000 sq ft and I apply general lighting and general use receptacle loads [220.82(B)] i would figure it as 2,000 x 3VA= 6,000VA needed for my lighting and general receptacle loads. So, how many circuits do I need to meet this general requirement ( not included the other required uses…just the general loads ).

Given: 6,000 VA General Load

6,000VA/120V = 50A which is then divided by 15A circuits needed = 3.3 and since you can’t have .3 of a circuit you would need 4 circuits in 14 AWG to serve those loads. Now does 20A save you much…lets see…

6000VA/120V = 50A which is then devided by 20A circuits needed = 2.5 and since you cant have .5 of a curcuit you would need 3 circuits on 12 AWG to serve those loads.

Now, add the factor of the different in cost of copper from 14 AWG to 12 AWG, the labor in making connections as 12 AWG is harder on the hands for us older folks so labor increases and so on. Since the NEC does not tell us with respect to residential applications how many general use receptacles can be on a circuit we have to use some common sense right…now lighting loads can be a problem because when they are on…they are on…so care needs to be taken when doing your circuit layouts but the point is their is nothing wrong with using 14 AWG and protecting it at 15A and have done it for years. It does not make it a Sub-Par installation.

If it is not tripped, it is likely that the 15 a breaker is adequate. However, as a H.I. I always have to remind myself to say out of the design business. My rate for that is a lot higher :mrgreen:

lol…yeah I had a supervisor one time years ago say this to me. If you ever have trouble remembering where your responsibility lies in a situation of electrical design versus plan review…just pull out your paycheck and then look at the designers…that will remind you real fast.