search  current discussion  categories  wanted/for sale - wanted 

14 gauge wire: excellent advice but would use a larger service

updated thu 18 apr 02


Craig Clark on wed 17 apr 02

Davids explanation is detailed, clear and consise, as usual. This is the
first time I have read anything from him that I take mild exception with.
While a 100 amp service will indeed serve the needs of most applications
as outlined by David it does not leave much, if any, room for expansion.
If you are building and wireing a new studio, especially if said studio
will be shared with a sculptor, I do not see any reason not go with a 200
amp service or better. It doesn't cost that much more money.
He makes a very significant point, that I failed to mention to begin
with, that is worth re-emphasizing.
If there is a breaker on a circuit that keeps on tripping DO NOT, under
any circumstances, just replace it with a larger breaker. Find out what the
cause of the massive current draw or the breaker failure is, fix the problem
and then replace the breaker (if it is faulty) with the appropriate size for
the circuit, as explained by David. Simple enough.
Craig Dunn Clark
619 East 11 1/2 st
Houston, Texas 77008

----- Original Message -----
From: "David Hendley"
Sent: Saturday, April 13, 2002 11:10 PM
Subject: 14 gauge wire

> Hey guys, there's nothing wrong with using 14 gauge romex
> to wire a house or studio (local codes permitting).
> I'm not saying I recommend it, because it is usually not as
> economical as using 12 gauge, but if you have access to
> some, or know of a 'deal', go for it.
> It's pretty simple to size household wire. Use a 15 amp circuit
> breaker with 14 gauge wire, 20 amp with 12 gauge, and 30 amp
> with 10 gauge.
> 14 gauge wire with a 15 amp circuit breaker will handle just about
> anything. In fact, a standard duplex outlet is rated at only 15
> amps. A piece of equipment that is rated at 20 amps (120 volts)
> will have a plug with one of the blades sideways. This is to
> make sure that a special 20 amp outlet is installed to accomodate
> the plug, (but it will still accept standard plugs). This is not required
> until you get up into the 2 HP motor range, and by then, your
> equipment will probably be wired to run at 240 volts, so it is
> not pulling so many amps.
> 14 gauge wire usually costs 3/4 as much as 12 gauge, which makes
> sense, since it will carry 3/4 the load.
> 14 gauge-15 amp circuits end up costing more because you need
> more of them, which means more wire, more breakers, and more room
> in the breaker box.
> For some reason, 10 gauge wire usually costs way more than 12 gauge,
> so 12 gauge-20 amp circuits are usually the most economical.
> Whatever you do, don't replace a circuit breaker with a larger size
> if you have trouble with it kicking off.
> My one-person, 1200 square-foot pottery studio has plenty of power
> with the following:
> 100 amp main circuit breaker
> 2 15 amp circuits with 14 gauge wire for lighting
> 2 20 amp circuits with 12 gauge wire for power outlets
> 1 60 amp (240 V) circuit for an electric kiln
> 1 50 amp (240 V) circuit for one outlet that can power either an
> arc welder, a 2 HP clay mixer, or a 5 HP pug mill
> David Hendley
> Maydelle, Texas
> Send postings to
> You may look at the archives for the list or change your subscription
> settings from
> Moderator of the list is Mel Jacobson who may be reached at