Overfused Jumpers

I found several 14awg wires (8" long) that were used as jumpers from 20-amp breakers to 12awg branch wiring. I have always written jumpers like that up as defects. Several local Electricians tell me that they are OK, as long as they’re short. Your thoughts?

I agree 14 is good for 15 amps… Feed from a 20 amp breaker to Number 12 wire is not an adequate supply.

Roy Thanks Bill

I Changed my post

Roy - either I don’t understand your answer, or you don’t understand my question. :slight_smile:

Have your electricians show you where in the NEC that is allowed. Under a high load that doesn’t trip the 20 amp breaker the 14 awg wire will be the first to burn as it offers the highest resistance in the branch circuit.

Under special circumstances like A/C equipment the manufacture can specify smaller gauge wire than would be normally acceptable. But this doesn’t sound like the situation you are describing.

Exactly what I was thinking Gerald. Thanks.

Couldn’t/wouldn’t they still be able to overheat at the breaker.

Mr. Bill,

I find that it really doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks!

Though I preferred to have researched issues that I call “significantly deficient”, I could really care less if I recommend a repair or further evaluation and the contractor says it’s okay.

In your circumstances you’re going back to the basics. You have an electrical conductor that is attached to an over protection device greater than its capacity. Wrong!

It doesn’t matter if it’s okay.
It doesn’t matter who interprets it.
It doesn’t matter what’s hooked up on that circuit.

It doesn’t matter what’s potentially hooked up on that circuit.

It doesn’t matter what the local AHJ says!
I call out crap from California that doesn’t pertain to Tennessee.

The point is that you bring attention to the potential or existing defect that in your mind is a "significant deficiency " (not based upon old wives tales or NACHI message board propaganda).

As far as I’m concerned, based upon your experience in education; if you would not allow this to be in your home, why should your client not the advised of the situation.?

All situations noted in a your inspection report is based upon your client’s perspective of what is and is not “significantly deficient”. It doesn’t matter where they go with it. It matters that if they should ever come back and claim that your the reason for their " stupidity", you can simply say “I told you so”.

You do need to consider that you can put 14gauge wire on a 12gauge circuit (depending upon the rating of the wiring and the circuit involved). So if the electrician comes back and gives you a “clean bill of health” because someone used wiring capable of a higher load in temperature than the circuit breaker utilized, do you really need to confront their assessment?

If they say it’s okay, as far as I’m concerned it is okay because it is beyond me.

Single-stranded wire versus multi-stranded wire can significantly increase its capacity dependent upon the load requirement and the type of load. If the electrician decides that this is acceptable, you did your drive by saying that someone better than you looked at it and you are no longer responsible but you did your “duty”!

Interesting thoughts Dave. 14awg on the end of a 20-amp circuit may be ok, if you want to consider voltage drop and all that, but right at the breaker - it’s just wrong. The only reason I questioned it was that an Electrician friend of mine said he did it all the time - “as long as it’s short”. I thought I’d throw it out to the Nachi board just to see what everyone else thought. I will have to revise my opinion of me Electrician friends’ comments too. LOL.

The electrician is wrong. The OCPD needs to be sized to protect the smallest conductor in the circuit, fixture wiring not withstanding.

Based on Article 240 of the NEC.

I was waiting for you to correct this Jim!
William or Mike must be too busy to respond.

I agree even a #14 conductor at the end of the circuit would not be code compliant.

I concur with Jim and Rob, the smallest conductor of the branch circuit will determine the maximum size of the overcurrent device.

It sounds like the OCPD is oversized for the ampacity of the #14 conductor.

However, there are certain circumstances where this could potentially be code compliant. A motor circuit, for instance, properly sized, might indeed be legal with a #14 conductor connected to a 20 amp OCPD.

Short length is not a factor in properly sizing conductors and OCPD’s.

Excellent responses. Thanks to all.

Curious. How much does he save for 6" of 14 vs 12. Weird really that he would do that.

Why were the jumpers in the first place, were the original conductors too short?

Newer panel and the old 12awg wires were too short.