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Old 04-03-2009, 10:44 AM   #1
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


I was told that its standard to put 15amp receptacles on a 20amp circuit as long as its a duplex receptacle and/or more than 1 thing is running on the circuit.

Here is my current config:
20amp circuit breaker
  • 1 switch to wall light in bathroom 1
  • 1 switch to wall light in bathroom 2
  • 1 doorbell
Here is what I want to do
  • 1 switch to wall light in bathroom 1
  • 1 switch to wall light in bathroom 2
  • 1 doorbell
  • 1 switch to ceiling vent in bathroom 1
  • 1 switch to celiing vent in bathroom 2
  • 1 duplex GFCI receptacle in bathroom 1
  • 1 duplex GFCI receptacle in bathroom 2
So is it true that I can use 15amp GFCIs and switches on that circuit?

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Last edited by diymonkey; 04-03-2009 at 10:50 AM.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:02 AM   #2
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


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Originally Posted by diymonkey View Post
I was told that its standard to put 15amp receptacles on a 20amp circuit as long as its a duplex receptacle and/or more than 1 thing is running on the circuit.

So is it true that I can use 15amp GFCIs and switches on that circuit?
Yes you are correct in what you heard. You can put duplex outlets rated at 15 amps on a 20 amp circuit so long as you have more than 1 outlet.

The doorbell should not however be on this same circuit, I would look to see if you can move it to a different circuit. 2 bathrooms on the same 20 amp circuit I believe is "ok" but it would certainly be better if you could put them each on their own separate 20 amp circuit. Other than that, just make sure this circuit(s) do not leave the bathroom area to feed other loads (like the doorbell).

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Old 04-03-2009, 11:07 AM   #3
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


The (2) GFCIs should be separate from the rest, on their own circuit, or each on an individual 20 amp circuit.

In addition to being Code, it's good design. There are some heavy loads that can be plugged in bathroom receptacles. (Hair dryers, etc.)

Even if each one is an individual circuit, a 15 amp GFCI can be used, assuming it is a duplex.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:08 AM   #4
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


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Originally Posted by theatretch85 View Post
2 bathrooms on the same 20 amp circuit I believe is "ok" but it would certainly be better if you could put them each on their own separate 20 amp circuit. Other than that, just make sure this circuit(s) do not leave the bathroom area to feed other loads (like the doorbell).

Thanks for the response. Its an old house, so adding a new circuit and running the wire wouldnt be easy. The 1st bathroom isnt used much, so there wouldn't be a load on each bathroom at the same time.

Why would it not be ok to leave the doorbell on that circuit? I could see about moving it to another location, but it seems like its a low power device and wouldn't hurt leaving it were its at.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:10 AM   #5
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


Not an electrician, but you may service one entire bathroom (outlets, lights..) on one 20A circuit. Nothing else on this circuit. Your other option is to place multiple bathroom outlets only on the same circuit, again nothing else (don't recommend). You may combine bathroom lights on a general circuit.

Just make sure that if you have a heat lamp or similar in the bathroom, see the mfgr. specs if that needs its own circuit.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:12 AM   #6
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


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Originally Posted by diymonkey View Post

Why would it not be ok to leave the doorbell on that circuit? I could see about moving it to another location, but it seems like its a low power device and wouldn't hurt leaving it were its at.
The doorbell transformer is fine.

So, what you are doing is adding exhaust fans and GFCIs to (2) existing baths?
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:13 AM   #7
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


One other question - are you sure this is a 20 amp circuit? It seems strange there is a 20 amp circuit for 2 lights and a chime.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:17 AM   #8
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


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The doorbell transformer is fine.

So, what you are doing is adding exhaust fans and GFCIs to (2) existing baths?
Yes, adding 2 exhaust fans (no heater) and 2 GFCIs (currently no outlets in the bathroom)

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnJ0906 View Post
One other question - are you sure this is a 20 amp circuit? It seems strange there is a 20 amp circuit for 2 lights and a chime.
All of my circuit breakers have red stickers on them. 11 total, 10 have a 20 amp sticker and 1 has 15amp sticker. Makes me wonder if those stickers are accurate.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:25 AM   #9
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


Quote:
Originally Posted by diymonkey View Post
Yes, adding 2 exhaust fans (no heater) and 2 GFCIs (currently no outlets in the bathroom)



All of my circuit breakers have red stickers on them. 11 total, 10 have a 20 amp sticker and 1 has 15amp sticker. Makes me wonder if those stickers are accurate.
Actually, the important thing, is that the wire size matches the breaker.

For a 20 amp circuit, you need #12.

You might want to see that all the 20 amp breakers actually have #12 and not #14 landed.

A common "solution" to a breaker tripping from overload (too many things on a circuit) is to put a larger fuse or breaker on the circuit. That is not good.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:38 AM   #10
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


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Originally Posted by JohnJ0906 View Post
Actually, the important thing, is that the wire size matches the breaker.

For a 20 amp circuit, you need #12.

You might want to see that all the 20 amp breakers actually have #12 and not #14 landed.

A common "solution" to a breaker tripping from overload (too many things on a circuit) is to put a larger fuse or breaker on the circuit. That is not good.
See picture below. It looks like the wires are indeed #12.

So do you think I should be ok by adding those things to the circuit?

CIRCUIT BREAKER BOX
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:39 AM   #11
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


The code for bathrooms receptacles is this.

The bathroom receptacle must be a 20 amp circuit.
There are two senarios.
1. Other items can be on the 20 amp bathroom receptacle circuit IF they are in the same bathroom. The 20 amp circuit can not feed anything outside its bathroom.
2. The 20 amp receptacle circuit can feed other receptacles in other bathrooms. It can not feed anything but receptacles in bathrooms. No lights or fans etc allowed.

So your plan to add 2 bathroom receptacles will not be code since the circuit also feeds lights and fans. If you can move the lights and fans to another circuit you can add the receptacles. The lights and fans can be on any other circuit.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:46 AM   #12
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


Quote:
Originally Posted by diymonkey View Post
See picture below. It looks like the wires are indeed #12.

So do you think I should be ok by adding those things to the circuit?

CIRCUIT BREAKER BOX
Hard to tell the wire gauge.

I can tell that A) the grounds are connected incorrectly, and, B) your panel is a Federal Pacific, and the only place they should be is the trash can.

Adding the fans is not a big deal, if there are only 2 lights and a chime.

The receptacles really should be on their own circuit. It is both a code requirement, and good design.

Replace that panel.
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Old 04-03-2009, 11:54 AM   #13
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


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Hard to tell the wire gauge.

I can tell that A) the grounds are connected incorrectly, and, B) your panel is a Federal Pacific, and the only place they should be is the trash can.

Adding the fans is not a big deal, if there are only 2 lights and a chime.

The receptacles really should be on their own circuit. It is both a code requirement, and good design.

Replace that panel.
I compared the wire gauge to some #14 wire I had laying around, it looked bigger.

Regarding the FP box, I know its crap. The inspector said it and suggested I replace it. He even said some insurance companies wont insure a house with a FP box. I plan on replacing the box when my wife gets out of college, sometime next year.

I'm going to setup 2 separate junction boxes for each bathroom. When I do have that panel replaced (probably with a SquareD) I can have the electrician run new dedicated wires to each junction box. Does that sound like a good plan?

The main reason I want to add these things now is we had some hurricane damage to the roof last year and I am replacing the ceilings and some sheetrock. Its alot easier to add electrical now than later.
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Old 04-08-2009, 01:42 AM   #14
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


I didn’t get a chance to work on this last weekend.

After thinking about it more, should I put the (2) GFCI receptacles (1 in each bathroom) on its own circuit? If so, I will connect these to its own junction box in the attic so later an electrician can run a dedicated line to it.

So, what option would be best?

OPTION 1:
Junction Box 1 (later to be on its own circuit)
- Bath 1 - GFCI receptacle
- Bath 1 - Wall Light
- Bath 1 - Ceiling Vent
- Door Bell transformer

Junction Box 2 (later to be on its own circuit)
- Bath 2 - GFCI receptacle
- Bath 2 - Wall Light
- Bath 2 - Ceiling Vent

OPTION 2:
Junction Box 1 (later to be on its own circuit)
- Bath 1 & 2 - Wall Light
- Bath 1 & 2 - Ceiling Vent
- Doorbell Transformer

Junction Box 2 (later to be on its own circuit)
- Bath 1 & 2 - GFCI receptacle
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Old 04-08-2009, 08:57 AM   #15
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles


By code the door bell transformer can't be on the circuit in option 1.

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