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Old 10-02-2012, 07:33 PM   #1
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


I've recently had a home inspection & 1 of the things to be repaired is the bathroom electrical outlet. The report reads Duplex receptacle shall be 120 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type. I think it should read Duplex receptacles shall be 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type.

I'm wondering how to determine if the in wall wiring will support a 20 amp outlet. How can this be determined? And if it will not, is it reasonable for the Inspector to require this, and about how much will it cost to have a 2nd floor bath wired to accommodate this type of plug. I believe the service is 100 amp service because the 2 main circuit breakers are 100 amp each. Will the current service panel support this type of plug & wiring?

Thanks In Advance,
Uni

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Old 10-02-2012, 07:40 PM   #2
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


When was the house built?
Where are you located?
The current code requires a 20a, gfci circuit, but does not require a 20 amp receptacle.

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Old 10-02-2012, 07:43 PM   #3
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


I can understand the GFCI part, but I can't figure out why someone would mandate a 20 amp circuit in a bathroom, unless you are running some heavy duty heat lamp on that circuit.

20 amp vs 15 amp receptacles are slightly different (one prong on a 20 amp rated circuit has a short horizontal slot).

Best way to see if the wiring is capable is to trace the circuit back to the breaker. If it has a 15 amp circuit breaker, assume that wiring is rated only for 15 amp usage.

Before going crazy with getting quotes, I would ask the inspector to clarify his or her report/

good luck
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:47 PM   #4
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


The house was built in Michigan in 1963.

Thanks.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:51 PM   #5
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


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The house was built in Michigan in 1963.

Thanks.
Gfci's were not required then, and are not required now.
It is a good idea to replace with a gfci.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:52 PM   #6
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


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Originally Posted by allthumbsdiy View Post
I can understand the GFCI part, but I can't figure out why someone would mandate a 20 amp circuit in a bathroom, unless you are running some heavy duty heat lamp on that circuit.

20 amp vs 15 amp receptacles are slightly different (one prong on a 20 amp rated circuit has a short horizontal slot).

Best way to see if the wiring is capable is to trace the circuit back to the breaker. If it has a 15 amp circuit breaker, assume that wiring is rated only for 15 amp usage.

Before going crazy with getting quotes, I would ask the inspector to clarify his or her report/

good luck
There is nothing heavy duty there. Do you know what the national electrical code requires?

Thanks,
Uni
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:56 PM   #7
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


are you buying or selling your house?

i am not an electrician so I would defer to jbfan's statement.

it is my understanding that unless i am changing existing circuits, any electrical wiring would be grandfathered to when it was first installed.

so i would change it to gfci (as jbfan said) for your personal safety but get a clarification from the inspector.

good luck
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:57 PM   #8
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


Short answer: Buy the 20 amp GFCI receptacle and install it to replace the old broken receptacle.

Really, you should first take the cover off the outlet box and insert a thin wood stick. If the box is only 2-1/2 inches deep and has more than one cable's worth of wires coming in, it might not be possible to install a GFCI receptacle there and you would need to install a GFCI breaker down in the panel instead. If there is any 14 gauge wire in that circuit or if you are unsure, then the breaker is limited to 15 amps.
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:58 PM   #9
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


I'm planning on buying.

But if I have to rewire the house, I'd likely pass on this one.

Thanks.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:01 PM   #10
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


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Short answer: Buy the 20 amp GFCI receptacle and install it.

Really, you should first take the cover off the outlet box and insert a thin wood stick. If the box is only 2-1/2 inches deep and has more than one cable's worth of wires coming in, it might not be possible to install a GFCI receptacle there and you would need to install a GFCI breaker down in the panel. If there is any 14 gauge wire in that circuit then the breaker is limited to 15 amps.

You can have a 20 amp GFCI receptacle (assuming it fits physically) even if the circuit itself is 15 amps.
so i could plug in a device that draws 20 amp on a wire that is rated for 15 amp?

i thought you can install 15 amp receptacle on a 20 amp circuit, not the other way round?
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:03 PM   #11
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


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I can understand the GFCI part, but I can't figure out why someone would mandate a 20 amp circuit in a bathroom, unless you are running some heavy duty heat lamp on that.
My girlfriends ConAir hair dryer pulls just north of 15A all by itself when it's on the highest setting. Just an example.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:04 PM   #12
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


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I'm planning on buying.

But if I have to rewire the house, I'd likely pass on this one.

Thanks.
Is this a foreclosed / short sale?

House buying decision is yours to make, but if this is the only "issue" raised, I would not be upset over it.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:06 PM   #13
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


Quote:
Originally Posted by Unicornz0 View Post
I'm planning on buying.

But if I have to rewire the house, I'd likely pass on this one.

Thanks.
As long as the house was built to code, there is nothing that needs to be done.
This issue becomes a point of negotiation between buyer and seller.
I'm sure there were other issues the HI citied that may be more pressing.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:09 PM   #14
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


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so i could plug in a device that draws 20 amp on a wire that is rated for 15 amp?

i thought you can install 15 amp receptacle on a 20 amp circuit, not the other way round?
Fifteen amp receptacles are permitted on a 20 amp circuit provided that the total number of receptacles is at least two singles or one duplex.

Nothing wrong with plugging a device into a 14 gauge wired circuit that could draw 20 amps but if you turn it on high so it actually tries to draw all 20 amps then it will (should) trip the maximum allowed 15 amp breaker.
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:09 PM   #15
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Upgrading an Outlet to 20 Amp /120 V grounded GFCI type


The Municipality has required this upgrade.

Thanks.

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