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Old 07-19-2010, 07:46 PM   #1
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20A receptacle nightmare!


Well, with my ongoing house project I have yet found another major problem. 95% to 99% of the receptacles in this house are 20A. I knew a couple were wrong so I turned off the 20A breakers in the panel and found about 80% still getting power on a 15A circuit. What rhyme or reason is there to put in all these 20A outlets? I am 45 years old and I have only owned one thing that needed a 20A receptacle.

If the wire runs are in 12 gauge wire is there any reason or code requirement not to change breakers to 20A? Otherwise, I will have to replace close to 50 outlets. I know a few runs are in 14 gauge so will tackle those first. So will be buying about 24 15A receptacles.

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Old 07-19-2010, 07:57 PM   #2
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20A receptacle nightmare!


As long as you can be sure that ALL the wire on a circuit is 12g you can install a 20a breaker

Canada has requirements for 15a circuits only
US does not --as far as I know

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Old 07-19-2010, 08:28 PM   #3
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20A receptacle nightmare!


I saw this web page which states that you can leave the 20 amp receptacles in the 15 amp circuit.

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Electrica...CI-outlets.htm

(added later) I saw the section of the National Electric Code showing circuit amperage and receptacle type. But here I would take a chance at failing the inspection by leaving the 20 amp receptacles in place.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:33 PM   #4
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20A receptacle nightmare!


I guess 20 amp outlets don't hurt to have, but there's no point really in going to that unless it's specifically needed. Typicly you won't need that unless it's for a specific appliance that goes in one spot, in that case I'd run a dedicated outlet. That's what I did in my office for my portable AC unit. I actually ran two separate wires to it that way in the future I can put it on a double pole and have two separate 20 amp circuits. I may want to plug in some servers I'm working on, or other things of the sort later on.
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Old 07-19-2010, 08:35 PM   #5
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20A receptacle nightmare!


According to 210.21(B)(3) you can't have a 20a receptacle on a 15a circuit
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Old 07-20-2010, 12:14 AM   #6
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20A receptacle nightmare!


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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
According to 210.21(B)(3) you can't have a 20a receptacle on a 15a circuit

This part will deal with both duplex and singleplex receptales.


Now for 4.0mm˛ {12 AWG } it will work either 15 or 20 amp breakers.

The only time I use the 15A breaker on 4.0mm˛ usealy on long distance runs that about it. unless the local code or building specs say something diffrent.

Merci.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:10 AM   #7
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20A receptacle nightmare!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
As long as you can be sure that ALL the wire on a circuit is 12g you can install a 20a breaker

Canada has requirements for 15a circuits only
US does not --as far as I know
House was ran in Romex and is exposed until it passes through floor. So I can follow the yellow brick road for most of the runs. As I remodel I am going to switch to Decora style receptacles in the kitchen so those will be correct. In the other part of the house I will have to change breakers, unless its 14 gauge wire.

Thanks ALL!
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:15 AM   #8
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20A receptacle nightmare!


i had a reverse problem when i got my house. a bunch of circuits were 14 AWG wire running on 20A breakers, which, i believe is fire hazard. so i replaced the breakers. i think the other way around, which is what you have, is certainly a less bad scenario.
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Old 07-20-2010, 11:54 AM   #9
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20A receptacle nightmare!


Quote:
Originally Posted by AllanJ View Post
I saw this web page which states that you can leave the 20 amp receptacles in the 15 amp circuit.

http://en.allexperts.com/q/Electrica...CI-outlets.htm
He should have posted the Article that allows this.

SD is correct.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
According to 210.21(B)(3) you can't have a 20a receptacle on a 15a circuit
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Old 07-21-2010, 12:20 AM   #10
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20A receptacle nightmare!


It might not be to code, but having an outlet that is rated for a higher amperage than the rest of the circuit won't hurt anything. What you really have to watch out for is a part of the circuit that is rated for less amperage than the breaker. That is really bad.

My 2 cents.
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Old 07-21-2010, 07:34 AM   #11
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20A receptacle nightmare!


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It might not be to code, but having an outlet that is rated for a higher amperage than the rest of the circuit won't hurt anything.

My 2 cents.
Strange that the NEC specifically made a rule against this when it won't hurt anything. The rule was made for a reason.

Please try to limit your answers to a Code compliant answer. Too many things can go wrong if things were wired based on feelings instead of actual data.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:23 PM   #12
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20A receptacle nightmare!


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Strange that the NEC specifically made a rule against this when it won't hurt anything. The rule was made for a reason.

Please try to limit your answers to a Code compliant answer. Too many things can go wrong if things were wired based on feelings instead of actual data.

Then enlighten us, oh licensed one. What, exactly, is the NEC's safety-based reason for prohibiting this? What is the "actual data" that supports a ban on 20A receptacles on 15A circuits? What is the science- or engineering-based justification for the rule? I guaran-damn-tee you there isn't any. Just like about 1/3rd of the NEC, this is nothing but a convenience rule. They don't want people to be annoyed by tripping breakers with 20A loads on 15A circuits. Assuming the OCPD is proper and working, there is no hazard.

Blind acceptance of the Wisdom of the Code is just as smart as wiring based on "feelings".
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:29 PM   #13
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20A receptacle nightmare!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
Strange that the NEC specifically made a rule against this when it won't hurt anything. The rule was made for a reason.
Unfortunately, those reasons are more and more becoming either convenience, design, or manufacturers lobbying the panel for profit.

Last edited by Proby; 07-21-2010 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:30 PM   #14
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20A receptacle nightmare!


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Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
Then enlighten us, oh licensed one. What, exactly, is the NEC's safety-based reason for prohibiting this? What is the "actual data" that supports a ban on 20A receptacles on 15A circuits?
You answered your own question:
Quote:
Assuming the OCPD is proper and working, there is no hazard.
Quote:
Blind acceptance of the Wisdom of the Code is just as smart as wiring based on "feelings".
Blind acceptance of the code is exactly what is expected of an electrician, both by the governing agencies and the customers. The code is the law of the land and is required to be followed.
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Old 07-21-2010, 01:34 PM   #15
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20A receptacle nightmare!


If I were to wire based on my feeling I could loose my license. I would rather follow the rules and not risk my livelihood or the safety of others. After all if something were to happen I would be held to the industry standard, so why not follow it?

Kind of like you do the right thing regardless of anyone watching. I believe some might call this ethics.

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