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Old 11-04-2008, 02:28 PM   #1
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


Just for a sanity check here, so I don't burn anything up.

My upstairs bar area has 2 outlets. 15A style outlets. Protected by a 15A breaker in my main panel. No other outlets or lights on the circuit. The NM running to the outlets is 12 gage. I have physically gaged the wires with my klien strippers in the panel and at the outlet and it is 12 gage wire.

So I am planing on putting a couple 20A outlets on it and upgrading the breaker to 20A.

I can't imagine why they would not have put in a 20A breaker in the first place.

Anything I could possiably be missing here? Anything I am not seeing? 12 gage in the panel, only 2 outlets, 12 gage at the outlets...

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Old 11-04-2008, 03:30 PM   #2
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


The wire run to the outlet is 12-2 without ground. They have an extra wire run as ground. However the ground wire is only 14 gage for some reason.

Are ground wires required to always be the same gage as the circuit? Does the circuit need to stay at 15 Amp due to the 14 gage ground wire?

I am going to check what size the ground wire is on some 20A outlets that are on 20A breakers, because I think other stuff is wired with an external ground wire where they used 12 gage.

Jamie

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Old 11-04-2008, 03:33 PM   #3
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


If they really ran 12-2 without a ground being installed in the cable, then I would just install a 20 amp gfci breaker and call it done.
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:43 PM   #4
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


What chris said pretty much sums it up, 20 amp gfci because that ground isnt proper.
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Old 11-04-2008, 04:53 PM   #5
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


You could also just use GFCI receptacles as well. whatever is in your budget. They would only need to be 15amp rated in the US.
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:05 PM   #6
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


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Originally Posted by rgsgww View Post
...because that ground isnt proper.
Actually, 250.130 allows the ground to be done in that fashion, for replacement of non-grounged type receptacles with grounded type, but only in existing installations, though it's rare to see it. Someone probably did a change out previously.
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:20 PM   #7
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


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Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
The wire run to the outlet is 12-2 without ground. They have an extra wire run as ground. However the ground wire is only 14 gage for some reason.

Are ground wires required to always be the same gage as the circuit? Depends on the size of the OCPD of the circuit. In this case if you wanted a 20A circuit, the EGC would need to be 12 ga. My guess is it was on a 15A brkr because they ran 14 ga. Does the circuit need to stay at 15 Amp due to the 14 gage ground wire?

I am going to check what size the ground wire is on some 20A outlets that are on 20A breakers, because I think other stuff is wired with an external ground wire where they used 12 gage.

Jamie
If you want a EGC for that circuit, you might be able to use the 14 ga as a 'pull-string' and fish a 12 ga in place of it. Just an idea. I like Chris' ideas too.
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Old 11-04-2008, 07:38 PM   #8
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


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Actually, 250.130 allows the ground to be done in that fashion, for replacement of non-grounged type receptacles with grounded type, but only in existing installations, though it's rare to see it. Someone probably did a change out previously.

Oh, I just looked that up...my bad.
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:01 PM   #9
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


Why are you planning to increase the current capacity of the circuit?
Is there a problem?
Is the breaker tripping from time to time?
If so, what is being plugged into it, that would cause the breaker to trip!
I'm missing something, I think!
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:43 PM   #10
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Wildie View Post
Why are you planning to increase the current capacity of the circuit?
Is there a problem?
Is the breaker tripping from time to time?
If so, what is being plugged into it, that would cause the breaker to trip!
I'm missing something, I think!
It is a bar area that does some lite cooking, so we do run some resistance appliances from time to time, plus a fridge and a microwave.

To answer your question, yes, we do pull over 15A if we are running a resistance appliance (hotplate, pizza oven, coffee roaster, etc.) and the microwave. When I discovered that we had 12 gage wire running to it.. I thought, easy upgrade.

So it is not cricitcal to upgrade it, however it would be nice if it is an easy upgrade.

The 20 amp outlets in my kitchen are deffinatly fed with 12-2 without ground and they are then fed with a 14 gage ground. I wonder if that is a big problem? It's been that way for 50 years... without and fires. :-) I know that doesn't mean it is safe..

jamie
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Old 11-05-2008, 02:04 AM   #11
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


Personally, if the wire is #12 throughout the whole circuit, I would use it as a 20 A. Technically the ground wire should be the same size as the circuit conductors, but unless you are already tearing walls open, there's no reason to start ripping it out.
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Old 11-05-2008, 02:09 AM   #12
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


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Personally, if the wire is #12 throughout the whole circuit, I would use it as a 20 A. Technically the ground wire should be the same size as the circuit conductors, but unless you are already tearing walls open, there's no reason to start ripping it out.
It appears that this is the same situation in my kitchen (with the 14 gage ground wire), however in the kitchen, there are 20A outlets on a 20A breaker.

So do you think it is fine to leave the ones in the kitchen like this as well?

I can't understand why they ran this 12-2 without ground in it, in the basement on the 20A's they ran 12-2 with ground. This is all orig work from 1963.

Jamie
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:13 AM   #13
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


Before upgrading to a 20 amp breaker, check ALL the wire in that circuit. (Look for junction boxes.)

Sometimes people will add on to a circuit and use a different gauge of wire. So there could be 14 ga. at the panel, then 12 ga. further on up the line. Or 14 ga. somewhere in the middle.
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:21 AM   #14
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


You do not have to upgrade to 20 amp outlets. The 15 you have are fine.
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Old 11-05-2008, 08:35 AM   #15
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20A upgrade from 15A - Am I missing aynthing?


I am in agreement with jbfan, you do NOT need to change the receps to 20amp, unless you have a specific appliance that demands true 20 amps (one of the blades will be horizontal). Don't waste your money.

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