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Old 11-11-2012, 07:00 AM   #1
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


Hi there. I'm finishing my basement and will likely end up using some of it as a workshop. Will also have a fridge down there near the bar. I couldn't decide how best to split the room into two different breakers so I end up running two cables to every outlet. a 14-2 and a 12-2. My question is this. Can I break the tab on a 20 amp outlet and use the top for 15 and the bottom for 20 amp?

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Old 11-11-2012, 07:28 AM   #2
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


Not sure of the code answer to that, but it will work electrically. But if it is for the shop, why not install another box for the shop and have an extra outlet, or do a double duplex for more. I assume the 20A is for the shop?? The frig does not need 20A.

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Old 11-11-2012, 08:03 AM   #3
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


I've got about 25 outlets but I haven't committed to what area of the basement will be the shop.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:07 AM   #4
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


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.......so I end up running two cables to every outlet. a 14-2 and a 12-2.
That's 4 cables uin each box. I bet the boxes are over-filled.


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My question is this. Can I break the tab on a 20 amp outlet and use the top for 15 and the bottom for 20 amp?
WHY in the world would you want to???
If you did you'd have to get a handle tie for the 15 & 20A breakers. Two circuits feeding a duplex receptacle MUST have a two-pole breaker or handle tied.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:07 AM   #5
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


You are going to find problems with what you want to do. First, did you pull a permit? Most places now require AFCI protection for finished basement receptacles and if you have multiple circuits going to the same device, it must be on a 2 pole breaker. They are starting to make 2 pole AFCI breakers, but not all manufacturers do as of now.

You man also find box fill issues...2 12/2 and 2 14/2 in the same box would require the box to be minimum 25.75 cubic inches.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:10 AM   #6
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


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Most places now require AFCI protection for finished basement receptacles and if you have multiple circuits going to the same device, it must be on a 2 pole breaker. They are starting to make 2 pole AFCI breakers, but not all manufacturers do as of now.
Good point. I forgot all about that. It could NOT be done with two 2-wire cables anyway.
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Old 11-11-2012, 08:15 AM   #7
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


If you are going to run two cables and are unsure of how much equipment will be in a given room, why not run both 12-2 cables leapfrogging so each circuit serves every other receptacle in a given room?

Other ways of running cables include having one cable/circuit serving rooms on both sides of a given wall.

If any of the receptacles served are in an unfinished part of the basement then the cicuit needs ground fault circuit interrupter protection. For a single circuit with 2 conductor wiring the GFCI can either be a breaker unit or be a GFCI receptacle unit in the first outlet box in or before the unfinished area of the basement.
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Old 11-11-2012, 11:42 AM   #8
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


To answer the original question, forgetting the jumble of code rules that you should and must follow already stated, you can have higher rated device on any type wire as long as the overcurrent protection is sized for the wire. So 20a receptacle on 14/2 with a 15a breaker is fine. It's useless as you only have 15a available though.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:12 PM   #9
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


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..., you can have higher rated device on any type wire as long as the overcurrent protection is sized for the wire. So 20a receptacle on 14/2 with a 15a breaker is fine.
Sorry Andrew, this is just not so. A 15A circuit can ONLY have 15A receptacles on it.
See Table 210.21(B)(3)
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:37 PM   #10
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


Hmm I figured that one would be the same in the u.s as it is here. Makes sense for it to be so. Thanks for the correction. I'll learn this silly nec yet
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:13 PM   #11
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


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Hmm I figured that one would be the same in the u.s as it is here. Makes sense for it to be so. Thanks for the correction. I'll learn this silly nec yet
For the life of me it didn't occur to me you were posting from a Canadian perspective. lol
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Old 11-11-2012, 10:12 PM   #12
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


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Sorry Andrew, this is just not so. A 15A circuit can ONLY have 15A receptacles on it.
See Table 210.21(B)(3)
Really makes no sense. Folks put 50 Amp receptacles on 40 Amp circuits every day. Same concept.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:57 AM   #13
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


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Really makes no sense. Folks put 50 Amp receptacles on 40 Amp circuits every day. Same concept.
A 20 Amp receptacle implies the circuit can safely provide 20 Amps. Which in the case of a 15 Amp circuit is not true. The fact that it's done "every day" is irrelevant.
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Old 11-12-2012, 12:00 PM   #14
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


You can not put 20 amp receptacles on 15 amp circuit in Ontario. You can not put 15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuits in Ontario either which I think is permitted in USA.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:14 PM   #15
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Can I use a 20 amp outlet on 15 amp circuit?


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Really makes no sense. Folks put 50 Amp receptacles on 40 Amp circuits every day. Same concept.
Because a single receptacle is allowed.

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