Can I Use a Double Pole Switch Here??

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  #1  
Old 02-07-03, 01:15 PM
W
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Can I Use a Double Pole Switch Here??

howdy,
I've got 2 exterior receptacle circuits, each 20 Amp, and I'm wondering if I can control them using a double pole switch.
I only have room in my switch box for one switch body, and was considering a "combination switch" with double switches, one for each circuit.
But its been difficult finding ones rated for 20A, and when I do, they're expensive. So I thought I could put them on a double pole switch rated for 20 or 30A (they don't need to be independantly controlled, and this kind of switch is easier for me to get).
I know these switches are usually used to control 220, like water heaters, etc, but any reason why I couldn't use it to control these two seperate circuits?

Any comments appreciated...
 
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  #2  
Old 02-07-03, 01:43 PM
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Gary Tait
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Electrically there is no problem, if you run each half
from a two pole breaker, and run a 12/3 from the breaker to the switch location.
 
  #3  
Old 02-07-03, 02:10 PM
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hotarc
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Are those exterior outlets duplex receptacles--space to insert two cords into each receptacle? If so, then you can use a 15 Amp switch.
 
  #4  
Old 02-07-03, 05:41 PM
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First, is the 2 recepts actually 2 seperate circuits? If they come from the same box where you are going to switch them from then they are probably on the same one and you could use the double switch setup the easiest. You can use the 15 A switches on that circuit.
 
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Old 02-08-03, 09:55 AM
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I need to clear some things up...

I want to add several outside recepts to the front of my house for tons of Christmas lights. So far I've added two new single-pole 20A breakers to my service panel and ran 2 lengths of 12/2 up to my switch box beside the front door. This box is a 3 gang that already has 3 switches in it (porch light, lamp post, 3-way living room switched recpt). At first I was going to put the porch light and lamp post on a combination switch, leave the living room 3-way switch the way it is, and then put both 20A outside recpt circuits on a combination switch rated at 20A. But this combination switch would run me $25.00.

If I use a 15A combination switch, wouldn't I be risking a fire, the switch being the "weak link".
With a double pole switch rated at 20A, I figure I can run the hot wire from each circuit to each side of the switch, then come off the other two screws to feed my two receptacle circuits??

I dont want to add a larger box either. I want to disturb as little of the original plasterwork as possible. Also, the walls in that area of my house are concrete block with furring strips and the plasterboard applied over that. I would have to cut away some major pieces of block to add a larger switch box.
 
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Old 02-08-03, 11:25 AM
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texsparky
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Lightbulb

Hello wingnut,
Did you ever consider adding a 2 pole time clock at the panel to control the x-mas light receptacles?The time clock is about the same price as the switch your looking at buying.Just a thought.

http://www.lowes.com/lkn?action=prod...-TC2/WH%2021-6
 
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Old 02-08-03, 07:28 PM
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Actually you can use regular 15 a recepts out there and you can use a 15 a switch on that circuit. This may sound wierd but you can do it. Are they gfci recepts?
 
  #8  
Old 02-09-03, 06:29 AM
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Gary Tait
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I believe, by NEC rules, you cannot connect two totally
separate circuits on the same device, and must run them off of
the same breaker, even if it a two pole (not tandem), so the one throw de-energizes both circuits.
 
  #9  
Old 02-10-03, 10:29 AM
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Thanks all for the suggestions.


sberry27...

The recpts are GFCIs.

I get the 15A recpts on a 20A circuit deal, but I still don't understand the 15A switch thing.

If I set up one circuit with 15A recpts, a 15A switch, 12/2 wire and a 20A breaker, I could plug a sufficient number of lights into one recpt to draw 10A, and then enough lights into another recpt to draw 10A, that would give me 20A on that circuit. Not enough to throw the breaker, but enough to overload the switch??
or am I missing something?


G Tait...
I guess if only one breaker trips, someone could tear into the switch box thinking there are no live wires in there, and get zapped.
Is that the thinking behind that particular section of the code?
 
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Old 02-10-03, 12:26 PM
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Gary Tait
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Something like that.
 
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Old 02-10-03, 04:18 PM
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I am headed out the door, and I wouldnt mind hearing the official explanation of a 15A switch on the 20A circuit either.
 
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Old 02-10-03, 05:01 PM
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There is no "official" explanation. The NFPA doesn't issue official explanations. All we can do is speculate, and I'm not sure we can do that very well.
 
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Old 02-10-03, 06:57 PM
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John,, I guess what my question was, that I understand why a 15A recept is allowed on a 20 circuit (by the design of the plug that it can accept) and had heard or read as to why a 15A switch was allowed but just cant seem to remember the explanation. Thats what I was getting at and didn't word it very well.
 
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