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Old 04-24-2008, 11:40 AM   #1
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15AMP vs 20AMP for Office?


Hello.

I'm currently trying to design my electrical requirements for my office in a residential house.

This is what I have in the office/server room (Basement/Canada/100AMP Breaker Box):
- 5-1200 Watt Computers (1 duplex per computer)
- 8- 22" LCD Monitors not sure of wattage (4 duplex total)
- 1 printer (1 duplex)
- Other Misc. 500watt (2 duplex)

I have been looking for 4-outlet receptacles but I cant seem to find any. I also cant seem to find any 20AMP duplex receptacles, only 15AMP.

Based on 1500Watt / 20AMP fuse I was thinking of running either 1 15-AMP-14/2 to EACH of the 12 receptacles in this room or should I run 20AMP-12/2 to EACH of the 12 receptacles ? My loads are abnormal and this is why I'm having a hard time getting info.

Should I look at doing something different in my situation?

Thanks

Matt

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Old 04-24-2008, 12:32 PM   #2
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15AMP vs 20AMP for Office?


When in doubt I always run 12 gauge.

You might want to split this office into a couple circuits based on the amount of things you're running, and the required amount of receptacles.

As for not being able to find four-outlet receptacles, you'll only find duplex. In a double gang box, two duplex receptacles installed next to each other will yield four receptacles.

20amp receptacles should be available at good home centers. If not, you'll certainly find them at electric supply houses. They look similar to the 15amp variety, but are listed and labled for 20amps, and also have a small perpindicular slot at the plugs...Normal electric devices will plug into them just fine.

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Old 04-24-2008, 01:52 PM   #3
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15AMP vs 20AMP for Office?


You do not need to use 20 rated duplex receptacles on circuits where there is more than one receptacle on the 20a circuit. (Look at your kitchen countertop and diningroom receptacles, identical to every other room.)

What kind of computers do you have that consume 1200 watts?

15a circuits can handle 1800 watts, and 20a circuits can handle 2400 watts.
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Old 04-24-2008, 02:26 PM   #4
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15AMP vs 20AMP for Office?


I run high end overclocked computers with liquid cooling (3d rendering/animation farm). Power supplies are anywhere from 800W to 1200W.

If I just use 15AMP fuse's should I stay with #14 wire or go with #12?

Or should I out two receptacles in a double gang box on 1-20AMP fuse /w @12 wire and do this for the rest of my outlets as well? Do I have to worry about anything when putting these on a 20AMP rather than 15AMP. ie too much AMPS causing damage to equipment?

Matt

Last edited by mfleming; 04-24-2008 at 03:12 PM.
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Old 04-24-2008, 04:51 PM   #5
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15AMP vs 20AMP for Office?


A 20 amp circuit isn't pushing out 20 amps to your equipment, it is the maximum amperage that the equipment can demand from the circuit. On a 20 amp circuit you might never exceed 15 amps of demand, but the potential is there should you need it. 15 amps and 20 amps are both 110 volts, so your equipment will never know the difference and will not be affected.

14 gauge wire can be used on 15 amp circuits. Use 12 gauge for 20 amps though. You can use 12 gauge wire on a 15 amp circuit but it is unnecessary and you won't benefit from it because all you need for 15 amps is 14 gauge. You must use larger wire for more amps, but the voltage remains the same. For clarity, compare electricity to water in pipes...Look at voltage like pressure, and amps like water. Your breakers limit the amperage that your equipment can demand to flow through the wire, make sense? That way you don't overheat/burn/melt wires.

You're giving this way too much thought. You have a lot of equipment that requires a lot of receptacles. Why regret not installing a 20 amp circuit (or circuits) to save a small amount of money. 15 amps will get it done, but 20 amps will get it done just as well and leave you a lot more room for expansion should you need it.

Last edited by Termite; 04-24-2008 at 04:55 PM.
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Old 04-24-2008, 05:00 PM   #6
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15AMP vs 20AMP for Office?


Ok, so I'll go with 20AMP Fuse,#12 wire and regular duplex receptacles and not the "20A Receptacles" if going to more than 1 receptacle with the wire right?

Thanks everyone for all your help!

Matt
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Old 04-24-2008, 08:11 PM   #7
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15AMP vs 20AMP for Office?


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Originally Posted by mfleming View Post
Ok, so I'll go with 20AMP Fuse,#12 wire and regular duplex receptacles and not the "20A Receptacles" if going to more than 1 receptacle with the wire right?

Thanks everyone for all your help!

Matt
You can not do this in Canada, if you use a 20A breaker you have to use 20A plugs. You can buy them at Home Depot, get the t slots for you can use regular 15A plugs in it.

I would use #14 on 15A breakers with regular plugs.

Someone also mentioned that a 15A breaker is good for 1800, which technically is true you are not allowed to load the breakers to more then 80%, so this brings it down to 1440W.

For your cicuits I would run an individual circuit for each computer, check the wattage on the monitors and you may be able to use the same circuit. If not maybe run two circuits to each computer and then you will have lots of room for expansion.

Your printer and other stuff should be able to be on one circuit.

So at a minumum your looking at 6 circuits but maybe more depending on your monitors. Let me know how much wattage the monitors take and I will give you a better answer.

Darren
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Old 04-24-2008, 08:35 PM   #8
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15AMP vs 20AMP for Office?


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Someone also mentioned that a 15A breaker is good for 1800, which technically is true you are not allowed to load the breakers to more then 80%, so this brings it down to 1440W.
While this is true for a continuous load, it does NOT apply to general use receptacles in a residence. You most certainly are allowed to load a circuit (breaker) to 100%.
Very little in a home, even a home office, is considered a continuous load, even lighting.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:19 PM   #9
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15AMP vs 20AMP for Office?


Monitors are: 100 to 240 VAC / 50 or 60 Hz +/- 3 Hz / 2.0A (Max.)
  • Active Off - Less than 2W
  • Switched Off - Less than 1W
Which is pretty much nothing. I was just at Home Depot and saw the price of the #12 wire same length as #14 but over $100 more. I think I should go with the standard 15A and #14 for each circuit (6 - 8). Can I use 14/2 wire or should I use 14/3 wire just in case I want to add a switch or something?
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Old 04-24-2008, 11:01 PM   #10
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15AMP vs 20AMP for Office?


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Originally Posted by mfleming View Post
I was just at Home Depot and saw the price of the #12 wire same length as #14 but over $100 more. I think I should go with the standard 15A and #14 for each circuit (6 - 8). Can I use 14/2 wire or should I use 14/3 wire just in case I want to add a switch or something?
You HAD to be looking at 1000' spools.
How much do you need? Has long are the runs. I'd get the #12 and be done with it.
You obviously have thousands of dollars of equipment there. You're going to quibble over $100 ????

No, just us the 2-wire for standard receptacles.
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Old 04-25-2008, 07:58 AM   #11
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15AMP vs 20AMP for Office?


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You obviously have thousands of dollars of equipment there. You're going to quibble over $100 ????
Now DON'T get me started!
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Old 04-25-2008, 09:50 AM   #12
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15AMP vs 20AMP for Office?


My runs will be around 60-70feet. I was looking at the 150M spools ( yellow wire).

I just cant seem to find 20A receptacles that I need, well at least on the homedepot.ca website. The only thing with going with 20A is the wire, fuse, receptacles ect are more $$ and that all adds up. I guess if something had to be replaced later for some ODD reason I can leave the 20A wire installed and just change the fuse & receptacle to 15A.

I'll go with 12/2 wire with 20A fuse and 20A receptacles.

Thanks

Matt

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