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Jason, Service Technician
Category: Electrical
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Experience:  Over 20 years of experience in all types of installations, troubleshooting, and repairs.
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Im installing a microwave/hood where the hood was installed

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I'm installing a microwave/hood where the hood was installed over the stove/under stove cabinet. The hood was directly wired into a circuit which includes 2 receptacles and overhead track lighting (2 cans). A microwave receptacle (above the counter, next 2 stove) was a dedicated to that alone. I understand that the new microwave/range hood (14 Amps) should be on a dedicated circuit. My thought is to join the supply to the dedicated to microwave circuit with wire nuts in the current microwave box to a new line up to a new recepticle behind the cabinet above the new micro/hood per installation instructions. Then run old hood wiring to the new receptical box and junction with wire nuts to a new line down to the old micro box so I have another outlet along the counters that is usable. The gauge of the the wire to the old hood is larger than the gauge wire at the current micro box. What size wire should I use? Is my solution safe and to NEC code? My house was built in 1985.

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HiCustomer First of all, the required wire size will be based on the breakers feeding the circuits. You are correct that the new microwave should be on a dedicated 20 amp circuit. This means you need to use #12 wire. For the other circuit, current NEC regulations require 2 dedicated small appliance circuits for countertops. You should make this a 20 amp circuit as well, again using #12 wire.


Your installation will be safe and legal as long as you use the proper size wire, and all splices are in boxes which are accessible for later servicing.

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Customer: replied 8 years ago.
The original microwave breaker is 15 A. The breaker for the hood/countertops is 20A. That is probably why the wire is smaller than for the hood and countertop circuit. Is it OK to use # XXXXX wire for all my new connections between the new and original box? I'm planning on using yellow wirenuts--correct size?

I'm not sure about this, but I think you may be confusing the physical wire sizes based on the numbers. #12 wire is one size larger than #14 wire. In order to feed a circuit with a 20 amp breaker, ALL wire on the ENTIRE circuit must be #12 or larger. If you feed a circuit with a 15 amp breaker, you can use #14 wire and #12 wire on this circuit, but nothing smaller than #14. This isn't a huge concern, because Romex type wire smaller than #14 does not exist.


As for your wire nuts, two #12 wires will fit in a yellow wire nut. I would not try tp put more than 2 in there though. You may want to consider getting some tan or red wire nuts just in case.

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