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    • Rick

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cavalierowner

Wire gauge for bath fan

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I am going to install a new bath exhaust fan. I will be taking off from an existing receptacle on a 15A circuit. I have a bunch of 12/2 wire that I would like to use. Is that to code (the wire would be oversized) or do I need to buy some 14/2?

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Yes, this is fine.  Your 12-gauge wire will be over-sized and more expensive than 14-gauge wire, but 100% safe.

A bigger issue would be your potential to overload your existing circuit since you are adding to it.  This would depend on how many fixtures/receptacles are on your circuit. 

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It's fine but could be confusing in the future to either yourself or the next owner / electrician. Find a way to clearly mark that this 12 gauge wire is NOT on a 20amp circuit, as it would normally imply. Write on the exposed wire with a sharpie, tie a note onto it, etc.

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If the run is straightforward it's no biggie.  But it is harder to get 12 gauge into tight places because it is less flexible.

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Thanks for the input. I thought long and hard about what's on the 15A circuit (potentially a fair amount) and finally decided not to add anything more to it, even though it's just a bathroom exhaust and light. I will be heading across the attic to a 20A circuit with not a lot on it. That will eliminate any confusion that SkunkedAgain mentioned (good point!).

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I believe code requires the bathroom outlets and fan to be on their own circuit, unless you're just replacing an existing fan / outlet.  Best to run a new one if it's easy enough.

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Really?? A separate circuit for a bathroom? At the rates the codes are headed with wanting everything on a separate circuit, residential panels will need to be 60 spaces high and every house will have a transformer out front LOL!!

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Yeah I know, I switched out the fuse box for a breaker before we sold our house.  The inspector asked me what was on the bathroom circuit, I said well the hallway lights, one of the bedroom outlets, the bathroom fan and lights.  He said as long as they were all there it's grandfathered in, but if I added a fan or outlet that wasn't there prior, it needed it's own circuit in the bathroom. 

It's amazing the entire city of Bloomington hasn't burned down yet with the way those houses have been wired over the past 50 years.../sarcasm

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I don't think it is a safety issue.  More a confusion issue since bathrooms need to be on GFI and when the TV quits due to a GFI for the bathroom, folks can get confused. 

Just my guess.

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