20 amps called for but 15 amp plug?

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  #1  
Old 11-18-04, 09:21 AM
brakbrak
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20 amps called for but 15 amp plug?

I have a microwave that the instructions call for a 20 amp breaker, yet the plug is a regular 15 amp plug. Unfortunately panasonic dosent give the actual amp rating on this unit but for an identical different model they list that it uses 12.2 amps, which is fine for a 15 amp breaker.

so my questions are:
1. why do they ask for 20 amps to be available?
2. if the microwave is the only thing on the line, can i get away with changing the breaker to 20 on a new 14/2 line?

thanks for any advice. i'm pretty sure the answer will be 'its not code but it is safe' but i'd like to hear other opinions on the matter...
 
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  #2  
Old 11-18-04, 09:57 AM
sjr
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You cannot use a 20A breaker on 14-2 cable. You must use 12-2 if you want to run a new 20A circuit.

As for why the instructions call for a 20A circuit, it could just be so that it won't trip the breaker if there is something else on the circuit at the same time as the microwave. If you know for a fact that the microwave is the only thing on the circuit, then the 15A circuit is most likely fine.
 
  #3  
Old 11-18-04, 01:31 PM
brakbrak
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I think I understand now, the draw of the micro is 12.2 amps but you're only supposed to use 80% so that would be 12. Therefore they ask that you use a 20 amp line to cover their butt (even though they give you a plug that fits 15 amp sockets). But this should work safely and to code on 15 amp is what I've convinced myself so I'll try that first. Someone must have run across this before?
 
  #4  
Old 11-18-04, 02:23 PM
sjr
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The 80% rating is specified for continuous loads (water heater, etc). I doubt a microwave falls under this category--if you nuke something for 3 hours, you probably won't want to eat it...
 
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