While you are planning to remove the old wires from your home, you might get confused with some electrical mixups like whether you will mix 12 and 14 gauge wires.
Well, you don’t have to worry because we are here with the answer to the question of whether you can mix 12 and 14 gauge wire. Stick to the last word of this article to clear your confusion.
Can I mix 12 and 14 gauge wire?
Well, it is possible to mix 12 and 14 gauge wire, however, it is not the perfect solution if you are planning to obstruct overloading problems. Also, the gauge wiring completely depends on the amperage power of the circuit as the current passes inside the circuit through the wires.
It is highly important that you shouldn’t mix the wires if you want to connect them in a circuit without knowing the amperage. However, you can connect the wires differently such as you can 12 gauge wire for a circuit that has an amp capacity of either 20 amp or 15 amp.
20 amp circuit:
It is highly recommended that you shouldn’t use 14 gauge wire in a 20 amp circuit, rather you should use 12 gauge wire in a 20 amp circuit.
If you place an air cooler that has a capacity of 20 amp and connects it to a 15 amp circuit with a 14 gauge wire then there will be a high chance of fire accident.
As if the circuit breaker fails to control the current flow then the 20 amp circuit will draw more power that can burn the wire and can cause a fire hazard.
15 amp circuit:
For a 15 amp circuit you will need to wire the whole circuit with 14 gauge wire. However, you can also connect 12 gauge wire in a 15 amp but you will need to be assured that the circuit is actually rated 15 amp of power.
It is highly recommended that you should only use 14 gauge wire in a 15 amp circuit, not in a 20 amp circuit.
To avoid the confusion between amperage and gauge, you just need to plug a higher amp-rated circuit with heavier gauge wires which will draw neither more nor less power, just the required amount of power.
Is it ok to mix 12 and 14 gauge wire?
It’s completely okay to mix 12 and 14 gauge wire especially if you want to prevent overloading or overheating. However, it is really crucial that you make sure that you are using the correct gauge wire for the number of amps in the circuit.
Although you can have the idea of the gauge by simply looking at the wire because the smaller the gauge the thinner the wire will be.
But you should never ever guess the amp capacity of the circuit by simply looking at the gauge; rather you should have a proper idea about circuit power as well as the right gauge size for different amp-rated circuits.
Before mixing the gauges make sure that you are not wiring 14 gauge in a 20 amp circuit rather you can use 12 gauges in a 20 amp circuit. In the case of a 15 amps circuit, you can use both 12 and 14 gauge-sized wires.
What happens if you mix 12 and 14 gauge wire?
There are two main reasons why people mix 12 and 14 gauge wire and we have explained the reasons down below:
Well, the main reason people mix 12 and 14 gauge is that to prevent overloading. Sometimes in the circuit, the circuit fails to operate its function to control current which is why the circuit can draw more power than usual.
Therefore, people mix the two different gauges to carry the overloading of power.
Sometimes due to the overloading or drawing of more power by the circuit burns the wire because of the low gauge which might cause a potential fire hazard.
Therefore, people mix the 12 and 14 gauge wires in order to distribute the power through both of the gauges and prevent the wires from overheating.
However, there are some restrictions that you will need to know which are very important. You shouldn’t mix the two gauges in a 20 amp circuit because 14 gauged wires cannot take overloading in a 20 amp circuit.
You can mix the two different gauges in a 15 amp circuit because the circuit will draw less power than the capability of the two different gauges.
Why is wire gauge important?
Wire gauge holds the most important part of the circuit. There are many reasons behind it which is why we have listed some of the reasons down below:
Overloading or overheating:
In the case of overloading and overheating wire, the gauge plays a very important role besides fuse and circuit breaker.
Fuses and circuit breakers can control the overloading however sometimes many appliances draw much more power than usual which might become difficult to control by the circuit breaker or fuses.
The mix of right gauge wire can take the excessive overloading which will protect your circuit from a potential hazard.
The idea about the right gauge for the specified circuit:
It is very crucial that you have the proper idea of the gauges that go with the proper amp-rated circuit. Otherwise, the overloading or overheating can burn the wire which may lead to a fire hazard.
For example, if you wire a 20 amp-rated circuit with 14 gauge wire then it will not be able to take the overloading of power.
In the case of appliances:
In the case of power supply in the appliances, the wire gauge plays a vital role. For example, if one of your appliances has a 20 amp-rated circuit and you plug it into a 15 amp rated circuit with 12 gauge wires, then it will not be able to handle the overloading.
Because if the circuit breaker fails to operate whenever the appliance draws more power the 12 gauge wire will not be able to handle the overloading of power.
Should I use 12 or 14 gauge wire?
Wire gauge is determined by the type of circuit you’re connected to and the type of cable which you’re using. A twelve-gauge wire would be appropriate if your house has both bulbs and sockets.
A twelve gauge is indeed a good alternative unless you are unclear about which size to choose.
Is lower gauge wire better?
No, the lower the gauge wire will be the less the resistance will be. Fewer resistance wires will not be able to control the overloading which is very dangerous for the circuit. Therefore, it is recommended by the experts that you should go for heavier gauge wire.
You can mix both 12 and 14 gauge in a circuit if you are planning to prevent overloading and overheating. But ensure that the circuit is a 15 amp-rated circuit rather than 20 amp. Otherwise, 14 gauge wire is not the right sized wire for a 20 amp-rated circuit.