Electrical Wiring in the Home/con/fused line

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Question
Hi, with old federal pacific boxes full,previous home owners added a number of single gang fused switches to expand boxes. One box has a #12 wire coming from a 50amp breaker down to a 15 amp fused switch. This in turn leads out to a #14 wire and a #12 wire nutted together. The #12 wire leads to an outlet that supplies only the digital clock on a stove. The #14 wire leads to an in floor heating system on the second floor. Short of changing out the entire box,would replacing the #12 wire from the 50amp breaker w/a #14 offer any better fuse protection or should I just leave well enough alone? Thanks. JS

Answer
I'm not sure what you mean by a fused switch.  But there seems to be a lot of trouble with what they did.  First of all, Federal Pacific circuit breakers are generally not safe, and should be replaced. There is no problem with a 12 and 14 connected together, as long as it has a 15 amp breaker.  However, all outlets in the kitchen should be a 20 amp circuit with 12 gauge wire.  With only a gas stove on it, it should be OK, but still violates code. I am not sure of the amperage rating of the floor heating system, but with 14 gauge wire, it needs to be less than 15 amp rating, and should be on a 15 amp breaker. Nowhere should 12 or 14 gauge wire should be connected to a 50 amp breaker. If it shorts out, it may get hot enough to start a fire, but not hot enough to trip the breaker.

Number 12 wire is thicker than 14, so it is OK with a 15 amp breaker.  But where it is mixed with number 14, it has to be on a 15 amp breaker.
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Bob Sponaugle

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Just about any home wiring question. (not appliance repair) I have done all kinds of home wiring for myself, including adding a new breaker box, etc. Please, questions from North America only. Please be specific with details.

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