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Old 12-24-2010, 08:11 AM   #1
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15 Amp Outlets on 20 Amp Breakers?


I'm replacing some old outlets. They are 15 amp outlets on a 20 amp circuit. Is this acceptable or should they be 20 amp outlets? I've been told that as long as there are multiple outlets on the same ciruit that they will be okay. The wiring is 12/2, which I know is correct for 20 amp service.

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Old 12-24-2010, 08:40 AM   #2
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15 Amp Outlets on 20 Amp Breakers?


Where are you located?

In the USA, you heard right. As long as there are 2 or more outlets on the circuit (a standard duplex receptacle counts as two) you are fine.

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Old 12-24-2010, 08:53 AM   #3
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15 Amp Outlets on 20 Amp Breakers?


I'm not sure of the code requirements but it seems as though it would be dangerous to put a 15 amp outlet on a 20 amp breaker. If you happen to plug something in to the outlet that draws 18 amps the breaker won't trip but the outlet could burn up.
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Old 12-24-2010, 08:58 AM   #4
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15 Amp Outlets on 20 Amp Breakers?


A device that draws 18 amps would have a 20 amp plug and would not plug into a 15 amp receptacle.
It's legal in USA but not in Canada. You need to post your location in your profile to get the proper answer.
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:00 AM   #5
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15 Amp Outlets on 20 Amp Breakers?


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Originally Posted by jerseyguy1996 View Post
I'm not sure of the code requirements but it seems as though it would be dangerous to put a 15 amp outlet on a 20 amp breaker. If you happen to plug something in to the outlet that draws 18 amps the breaker won't trip but the outlet could burn up.
Any item that has an 18 amp draw, will have a 20 amp plug.

The biggest power hungry device that uses a 15 amp plug is a heater, and they are limited to 1500 watts=12.5 amps.
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:02 AM   #6
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15 Amp Outlets on 20 Amp Breakers?


Yes, I'm in the US. Thanks for the responses, I just wanted to be sure.
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:28 AM   #7
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15 Amp Outlets on 20 Amp Breakers?


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Originally Posted by jerseyguy1996 View Post
I'm not sure of the code requirements but it seems as though it would be dangerous to put a 15 amp outlet on a 20 amp breaker. If you happen to plug something in to the outlet that draws 18 amps the breaker won't trip but the outlet could burn up.
This is completely untrue, and a myth perpetuated by folks who are not familiar with this stuff and the codes.

This is very similar thinking to that of a breaker tripping as soon as amperage is over a breaker's rating.
A 15A breaker will hold 20-25 amps for quite a while, yet the circuit is fine and everything remains normal, and the breaker will eventually trip.

A 15A receptacle IS rated for 20A feed-thru, even the cheap resi-grade devices.
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:31 AM   #8
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15 Amp Outlets on 20 Amp Breakers?


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Originally Posted by jbfan View Post

The biggest power hungry device that uses a 15 amp plug is a heater, and they are limited to 1500 watts=12.5 amps.
Well JB, we have all seen 1800 watt hair dryers, and they are perfectly legal to have a 15A plug, especially since they are not nearly considered a continuous load.

A circuit can have a load of 100% of it's rating.
This is another layman's myth, that a circuit can only be loaded to 80%. Not true.
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:41 AM   #9
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15 Amp Outlets on 20 Amp Breakers?


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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
Well JB, we have all seen 1800 watt hair dryers, and they are perfectly legal to have a 15A plug, especially since they are not nearly considered a continuous load.

A circuit can have a load of 100% of it's rating.
This is another layman's myth, that a circuit can only be loaded to 80%. Not true.
Yeah, forgot about the mega hair dryers!

I wasn't impling that the circuit was limited to the 12.5 amps that the heater would pull, just can't articulate as well as some of you guys.
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Old 12-24-2010, 09:45 AM   #10
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15 Amp Outlets on 20 Amp Breakers?


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I wasn't impling that the circuit was limited to the 12.5 amps that the heater would pull, just can't articulate as well as some of you guys.
Oh I know. The second part was more for other folks.
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Old 12-24-2010, 11:13 AM   #11
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15 Amp Outlets on 20 Amp Breakers?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Speedy Petey View Post
Well JB, we have all seen 1800 watt hair dryers, and they are perfectly legal to have a 15A plug, especially since they are not nearly considered a continuous load.

A circuit can have a load of 100% of it's rating.
This is another layman's myth, that a circuit can only be loaded to 80%. Not true.
Thanks for that, Speedy. I already knew it but far too many people, including experienced electricians don't get it correct.

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