I'm a bit new to wiring circuits. I understand the basics of electricity and what is safe, but I'm having troubles getting straight answers to some sticky code questions. I don't actually have a copy of the NEC, because that's overkill for just adding or remodeling a circuit, and it's difficult to wade through a document that size. I mostly read how-to books, pick the brains of electricians I happen upon, and use common sense. That said, yes I am having this all inspected before I actually connect any circuits to the breaker. The questions I haven't yet found answers to, including in this forum, are:
- Is there a maximum branch-breaker:main-breaker ratio? For instance, is it up to code to have 20 circuits at 20 amps apiece on a 100 amp service? I did caculate my total need and it is below 100 amps due to the fact that I have all gas appliances (dryer, water heater, furnace, stove, etc.)
- I have been explicitly told that I can use a 15 amp luminaire switch on a 20 amp circuit as long as the total current draw downstream from the switch does not exceed the safe limit for that switch (1440w IIRC). I believe this is safe, but is it really up-to-code?
- I have a 20-amp circuit that I want to install a 15-amp dimmer switch on. The switch will control 450w of recessed lighting (and nothing else.) The wiring the manufacturer attached to the fixture itself is about 18awg stranded (I didn't measure it, but it's smaller than 14.) The only fixture whips I could find for them at the local HI store are 14awg. Besides that, 12awg wires would not even fit in the recessed lights, their built in junction box is too small. I believe this is safe, but is it up to code to use this configuration? I do not want to downgrade the circuit to 15-amp because I would have to break up the circuit due to load limits; the circuit also serves a 20-amp luminaire switch for a series of outlets in the ceiling (intended for beer signs, etc.) My logic is that in the case of the luminaire outlets a 20 amp switch is absolutely necessary because you cannot determine in advance the load that someone will put on the switch (what if someone plugs in an entire wood shop to those outlets, for example?)
I truly appreciate any help. advTHANKSance.