Size of receptice tails?

Status
Not open for further replies.

mxslick

Senior Member
Location
SE Idaho
The #14 pigtail restriction is another of Code things that I understand what the intention is, but the reality is I feel there is no real safety issue with a #14 pigtail, even with a load of 20 amps continuous.

How do I know this?

Many years ago the EC I worked for and I set up a test..we set up a test rig, with receptacles, one wired with #12 pigtails (8 inches long) and the other with #14 pigtails 8 inches long.

We taped thermocouples to each pigtail to measure the ultimate temperature.

We then mounted each receptacle in a standard box, put on cover plates and applied space heater loads at 20 amps each.

I do not recall the exact temperatures we got, but neither got more than 10-15 degrees f above ambient, and the difference between the #14 and #12 was only about 10 degrees f. But all temperatures were well below 60c after conversion from f.

The point is there was no significant temperature rise with a #14 pigtail. This was after 3 hours of non-cycling load.

So from a safety standpoint I see no problem with it.

But as long as Code requires it, #12 on #12 is what I will do.

Anybody use the wirenuts with white and black pigtails attached to them? I have and they worked well, but would be expensive for use on large jobs.
 
Last edited:

jusme123

Senior Member
Location
NY
Could your supervisor confusing it with the use of 15ampere receptacles on a 20 amp circuit. Figuring you can use a 15 amp outlet #14 will work.

Instead of proving him wrong ask him to explain how he determined that.
while table 210.21(B)(3) states it is fine to install a 15a or 20a rated receptacle on a 20a branch ckt, it does not give permission to use a #14 awg wire. (210.19(A)(2) says no, you can not put 14 on a 20a ckt when referencing outlets/wire)
 

GlennG

Member
Location
Hicksville, NY
The other argument is that if you were to put both wires on the receptacle rather than tail them off, than the entire load of that circuit is feeding through the tiny little bridge tab. How is that any better than tailing off of a spliced with smaller conductors?
 

GlennG

Member
Location
Hicksville, NY
The #14 pigtail restriction is another of Code things that I understand what the intention is, but the reality is I feel there is no real safety issue with a #14 pigtail, even with a load of 20 amps continuous.

How do I know this?

Many years ago the EC I worked for and I set up a test..we set up a test rig, with receptacles, one wired with #12 pigtails (8 inches long) and the other with #14 pigtails 8 inches long.

We taped thermocouples to each pigtail to measure the ultimate temperature.

We then mounted each receptacle in a standard box, put on cover plates and applied space heater loads at 20 amps each.

I do not recall the exact temperatures we got, but neither got more than 10-15 degrees f above ambient, and the difference between the #14 and #12 was only about 10 degrees f. But all temperatures were well below 60c after conversion from f.

The point is there was no significant temperature rise with a #14 pigtail. This was after 3 hours of non-cycling load.

So from a safety standpoint I see no problem with it.

But as long as Code requires it, #12 on #12 is what I will do.

Anybody use the wirenuts with white and black pigtails attached to them? I have and they worked well, but would be expensive for use on large jobs.
Good info, that's a cool little experiment. Its hard to argue with data like that regardless of what the code says you are required to do. However I'm with you, as long as the code requires it that's what i will do, no exceptions.
 

jxofaltrds

Senior Member
Location
Mike P. Columbus Ohio
Occupation
ESI
The other argument is that if you were to put both wires on the receptacle rather than tail them off, than the entire load of that circuit is feeding through the tiny little bridge tab. How is that any better than tailing off of a spliced with smaller conductors?
Rated? UL? Tested?
 

Dennis Alwon

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Chapel Hill, NC
Occupation
Electrical Contractor
The other argument is that if you were to put both wires on the receptacle rather than tail them off, than the entire load of that circuit is feeding through the tiny little bridge tab. How is that any better than tailing off of a spliced with smaller conductors?
One can argue the same for a switch loop or switch leg that controls lighting. You cannot use 14 gauge there either- whether it makes sense or not it is code.:)
 

jckenner

Member
210-19(c) Exception #1 c. used to say "Individual outlets with with taps not over 18" long". It says this in the 1990 and previous codes, and I know it had changed by the 1999 cycle to include the prohibition "other than receptacle outlets". I didn't keep looking to see when it changed, but I recall you used to be able to use #14 pigtails on a 20 amp circ, so that's what your compadres are remembering.
 

mxslick

Senior Member
Location
SE Idaho
210-19(c) Exception #1 c. used to say "Individual outlets with with taps not over 18" long". It says this in the 1990 and previous codes, and I know it had changed by the 1999 cycle to include the prohibition "other than receptacle outlets". I didn't keep looking to see when it changed, but I recall you used to be able to use #14 pigtails on a 20 amp circ, so that's what your compadres are remembering.
I wonder then what motivated the change in the Code, since my experiments (see post #21 above) showed no apparent hazard.

Was there statistical data proving that a #14 pigtail was a fire hazard?
 

jckenner

Member
I wonder then what motivated the change in the Code, since my experiments (see post #21 above) showed no apparent hazard.

Was there statistical data proving that a #14 pigtail was a fire hazard?
You got me. I always felt a little guilty when I did it, like I was cheating, but I have a very hard time thinking why it was overturned, unless people were making poor connections to their outlets with the smaller wire. Electrical code junkies want to see the code making panel meetings on an NEC C-SPAN. Can't be much more sleep inducing than watching Congress.
 

jxofaltrds

Senior Member
Location
Mike P. Columbus Ohio
Occupation
ESI
The #14 pigtail restriction is another of Code things that I understand what the intention is, but the reality is I feel there is no real safety issue with a #14 pigtail, even with a load of 20 amps continuous.

How do I know this?

Many years ago the EC I worked for and I set up a test..we set up a test rig, with receptacles, one wired with #12 pigtails (8 inches long) and the other with #14 pigtails 8 inches long.

We taped thermocouples to each pigtail to measure the ultimate temperature.

We then mounted each receptacle in a standard box, put on cover plates and applied space heater loads at 20 amps each.

I do not recall the exact temperatures we got, but neither got more than 10-15 degrees f above ambient, and the difference between the #14 and #12 was only about 10 degrees f. But all temperatures were well below 60c after conversion from f.

The point is there was no significant temperature rise with a #14 pigtail. This was after 3 hours of non-cycling load.

So from a safety standpoint I see no problem with it.

But as long as Code requires it, #12 on #12 is what I will do.

Anybody use the wirenuts with white and black pigtails attached to them? I have and they worked well, but would be expensive for use on large jobs.
14 awg will handle 20 amps. Look at Tables 310.16 - 19.

I seen where some would use this article to say that if it is tapped to a single receptacle then it's ok.:roll:
Didn't say that a single was allowed. Just meant that 210.19 does not prohibit it. 240.(4)(D) does.

I wonder then what motivated the change in the Code, since my experiments (see post #21 above) showed no apparent hazard.

Was there statistical data proving that a #14 pigtail was a fire hazard?
I'll bet no stats. It is just what the code says.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top