15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuit???


  #1  
Old 05-28-04, 09:03 AM
tbano
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15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuit???

I 've searched but could not find this answer. I'm running a new 20 amp circuit using 12 ga wire from the main circuit box. This is only going to feed 6 to 8 receptacles in 2 small rooms. I need to know if I can use common grounded residential receptacles marked 15 amps for this purpose. The back of the outlet says for use with 12 or 14 ga wire. Nothing plugged into an individual receptacle would exceed 15 amps but I need 20 amps for the whole circuit based on power consumption on the whole circuit.

The reason I ask is that these outlets cost approx $.42 each and the commercial 20 amp outlets are $6 each.

Thanks in advnce for any help.
Tony
 
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Old 05-28-04, 09:07 AM
J
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The 15-amp receptacles are fine.

Not sure what you searched for, or how far the archives of this forum go back, but you are the one millionth person to ask this exact same question here.
 
  #3  
Old 05-28-04, 09:33 AM
tbano
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John,

Thanks for the quick answer. I read the 1st 4 pages of this forum and searched for 20 amp and 15 amp and could not find it. Maybe my title on this thread will allow people to find this answer more easily.

Thanks again,

Tony
 
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Old 05-28-04, 09:37 AM
Mr Dave
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15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuit???

I'm sorry but I have to disagree that 15 amp receptacles on a 20 amp circuit is fine. This can be potentially become a fire risk due to the fact any thing plugged into the 15 amp receptacle now has the ability to draw more current then it was designed for.

If you are wiring receptacles to an 20 amp circuit then they must be rated for 20 amps. Trying to save money on the receptacles is not the correct thinking here.
 
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Old 05-28-04, 09:46 AM
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Mr Dave, you may disagree, but the National Electrical Code does not. Conduct an experiment. Buy a 15-amp receptacle and a 20-amp receptacle in the same brand and approximately the same price range. Put each on your workbench and smash them with a hammer. You'll find that the internals are identical. The only difference is the shape of the slots in the faceplate.

He's going to plug 15-amp appliances into this 20-amp circuit whether he puts 15-amp or 20-amp receptacles on it.

I also note that 98% of all residential receptacles on 20-amp circuits are 15-amp rated receptacles. If your house is new enough to have 20-amp circuits in your kitchen and/or bathrooms, then check the receptacles in your own bathroom and kitchen. They almost certainly will not be 20-amp devices.
 
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Old 05-28-04, 11:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Mr Dave
I'm sorry but I have to disagree that 15 amp receptacles on a 20 amp circuit is fine. This can be potentially become a fire risk due to the fact any thing plugged into the 15 amp receptacle now has the ability to draw more current then it was designed for.

If you are wiring receptacles to an 20 amp circuit then they must be rated for 20 amps. Trying to save money on the receptacles is not the correct thinking here.
As long as there is more than one outlet on the circuit, 15A receptacles are fine. BTW, a duplex receptacle is considered 2 outlets.
 
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Old 05-28-04, 11:54 AM
doingitmyself
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The 20 amp receptacles have a horizontal slot in them that will accept either a 15 or 20 amp appliance plug. The 15 amp receptacles will not allow a 20 amp plug, so there's no risk of a 20 amp appliance being placed into a 15 amp receptacle, right? Or, do some 20 amp appliances come with the plug blades that will fit a 15 amp receptacle?

I still don't see why one wouldn't just place a 20 amp receptacle if one is using 12 AWG and a 20 amp breaker. The cost isn't that big a difference.
 
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Old 05-28-04, 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by doingitmyself
The 20 amp receptacles have a horizontal slot in them that will accept either a 15 or 20 amp appliance plug. The 15 amp receptacles will not allow a 20 amp plug, so there's no risk of a 20 amp appliance being placed into a 15 amp receptacle, right? Or, do some 20 amp appliances come with the plug blades that will fit a 15 amp receptacle?

I still don't see why one wouldn't just place a 20 amp receptacle if one is using 12 AWG and a 20 amp breaker. The cost isn't that big a difference.
The cost difference is $.50 for a 15A receptacle vs. $6.00 for a 20A. That price difference would start to sting the more outlets you had to replace. Especially since it is not required for the situation.
 
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Old 05-28-04, 12:45 PM
Mr Dave
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15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuit???

I guess it depends on the receptacles and the manufactures of these receptacles and where you are loctaed. The 20 amp gfi receptacle I have just recently installed in the bathroom can accept either the standard 15 amp plugs and 20 amp plugs in the same receptacle.

So from this observation I would more likely suspect that newer houses if correctly wired would have the 15/20 amp receptacles if they are connected to a 20 amp circuit.
 
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Old 05-28-04, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr Dave
I guess it depends on the receptacles and the manufactures of these receptacles and where you are loctaed. The 20 amp gfi receptacle I have just recently installed in the bathroom can accept either the standard 15 amp plugs and 20 amp plugs in the same receptacle.

So from this observation I would more likely suspect that newer houses if correctly wired would have the 15/20 amp receptacles if they are connected to a 20 amp circuit.
I disagree, the 20A plug is identical to the 15A plug. Mr Dave, how much did you pay for your 20A receptacle? I'm with John on this one, no one installing 100's of these in a house is going to put 20A ones in when they can put the cheap 15A ones in. And I will also confirm that the NEC says so.
 
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Old 05-28-04, 01:17 PM
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Dave, no builders today (or yesterday either) are installing 20-amp receptacles in new homes. It would cost them extra money to do so, and the buyer isn't going to pay an extra dime for a house with 20-amp receptacles. Only one person in a 1000 even has anything with a 20-amp plug on it that they need to plug in.

hurdler, a true 20-amp is different than a 15-amp plug. And a true 20-amp receptacle is different too. Most, but not all, 20-amp rated receptacles are designed to accept both 15-amp and 20-amp plugs.
 

Last edited by John Nelson; 05-28-04 at 01:28 PM.
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Old 05-28-04, 02:51 PM
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Where I live 20 amp duplex receptacles are about $1.00 more than the cheapest 15 amp ones.

GFCI outlets are a different animal. The GFCI has to be rated for 20 amp feed through if it's on a 20 amp breaker (since the user MAY use the feed through). The older GFCI receptacles I have are rated for 20 amp feed through, but only accept 15 amp plugs. The newer ones are rated for 20 amp feed through, and also accept 20 amp plugs.
 
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Old 05-28-04, 05:57 PM
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All receptacles, GFCI and not, 15-amp rated or 20-amp rated, are tested by U.L. for 20-amp feed-through.
 
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Old 05-28-04, 08:44 PM
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The breaker protects the wire in the wall not the device connected to it. If the device needs protection it has its own internal fuses. Imagine what would happen if a small portable tape recorder or a video game was to draw 15 amps. I think you would be seeing smoke.
 
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Old 05-29-04, 07:01 AM
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Very interesting, I know I've never seen anything with a 20 amp plug on it. Could it be something drawing this much power they simply made it for 240V, like an air conditioner?

Baldwin
 
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Old 05-29-04, 07:17 AM
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When I first bought a microwave oven (some 18 years ago), I almost bought one that required a 20 amp receptacle.

In my house I have 20 amp receptacle outlets in the kitchen, the garage and the unfinished basement. These are, of course, 20 amp circuits. Other 20 amp circuits in the house have 15 amp receptacles.
 
  #17  
Old 05-29-04, 09:50 AM
troyandmarsha
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Question GFI outlets in garage?

would a 15 amp GFI recepticle be more likely to be tripped if i'm running a radial arm saw or table saw from it as compared to a 20 amp GFI recepticle -- all running from a 20 amp circuit. does it make sense to do this or should i replace the fuse box with a box that has switches that could be tripped instead? -- in the garage
 
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Old 05-29-04, 10:28 AM
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As far as I know, what it takes to trip a 20-amp GFCI is exactly the same as what it takes to trip a 15-amp GFCI and the same as what it takes to trip a GFCI breaker. If you're not currently having a problem, leave it alone. If you are currently having a problem, tell us what it is.
 
 

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