GFCI 15amp or 20amp

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  #1  
Old 02-11-05, 07:12 AM
PugGuy2001
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GFCI 15amp or 20amp

I recently had my electrician install a GFCI outlet in my kitchen on the counter top area close the sink. I noticed he used 12/2 Romex with a 20amp breaker and a 15amp GFCI receptacle. I wanted to run another GFCI on the other side of the sink counter. While at my local hardware store I noticed that GFCI receptacle also came in 20amps. What the difference with a 15amp GFCI to a 20amp GFCI? Whats the right way? Would it be ok to use the load screws on the existing GFCI to connect the new one. Can I use a normal receptacle and hook it up to the load connectors on the GFCI? Will it protect this outlet if I can do it this way?
 

Last edited by PugGuy2001; 02-11-05 at 07:37 AM.
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  #2  
Old 02-11-05, 07:43 AM
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What the difference with a 15amp GFCI to a 20amp GFCI?
Two things: (1) The 20-amp GFCI costs more, and (2) The 20-amp GFCI has a "T" shaped slot in the face. Save your money.

Would it be ok to use the load screws on the existing GFCI to connect the new one. Can I use a normal receptacle and hook it up to the load connectors on the GFCI? Will it protect this outlet if I can do it this way?
Yes. Yes. Yes.

If the new receptacle you install is not there to provide power for countertop appliances, then it's a code violation to install it. If you have concerns about this, post more information about what this new receptacle is for.
 
  #3  
Old 02-11-05, 07:50 AM
PugGuy2001
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The only reason I want to install this other outlet is so it looks uniform...An outlet on each side of the sink. If you split my kitchen in half down the sink it looks like a mirror image. Thats the only real reason why. Besides how would anyone really know what the outlet is being used for? I have plenty of outlets already in the kitchen.
 
  #4  
Old 02-11-05, 08:34 AM
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Smile Just my 2 cents:

I'm definitely not a pro, as a matter of fact I use this forum for some really basic questions (yes, I have "Wiring Simplified" and read that too!)

The part of your message that I want to reply to is the "How would anyone really know?"

I'm a 30+ year professional real estate broker. Nowadays, almost all buyers have home inspections. While home inspectors used to be your local handyman with so-so knowledge of houses, most of them now are highly trained. Liability issues are going through the roof! If there is even the slightest question, they will write on the report,"Recommend further evaluation by a licensed electrician." The buyer WILL have an electrician come in, the electrician WILL find all code violations, and the buyer WILL insist that the seller fix all these violations or the deal is off.

Now you've got a situation that sometimes involves tearing into walls,removing backsplashes/cabinets/built-in appliances/whatever,taking down basement ceilings and every other pain-in-rear scenario that you can imagine! All because the homeowner didn't do it right in the first place.

If you EVER plan on selling your home (and you do!) do it up to code.
 
  #5  
Old 02-11-05, 10:19 AM
PugGuy2001
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I was just saying for me its looks. I understand everything has to be to code and that is why I had my electrician do it in the first place. The GFCI outlet he installed is for my appaliances. When I sell the house 20 somewhat years from now, how do I know what the new owner is going to use the other outlet for. I just wanted for uniformity. So back to my original question: If its down stream for the original GFCI using the load screws is this ok? Or does the GFCI's in the kitchens have to be on ther own circuits and thats that? I think the point being made about if its being used for appliances is that if both outlets are being used by counter top appliances, at the same time, the possiblity of it triping is more likely. If I went the other route and used a GFCI oultet once the test button is pushed they will see it works. As far as seperate circuits this of couse will need to be inspected, so this is why I ask my question. What ever is code, ofcourse has to be , I just need to know.
 
  #6  
Old 02-11-05, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by PugGuy2001
I was just saying for me its looks. I understand everything has to be to code and that is why I had my electrician do it in the first place. The GFCI outlet he installed is for my appaliances. When I sell the house 20 somewhat years from now, how do I know what the new owner is going to use the other outlet for. I just wanted for uniformity. So back to my original question: If its down stream for the original GFCI using the load screws is this ok? Or does the GFCI's in the kitchens have to be on ther own circuits and thats that? I think the point being made about if its being used for appliances is that if both outlets are being used by counter top appliances, at the same time, the possiblity of it triping is more likely. If I went the other route and used a GFCI oultet once the test button is pushed they will see it works. As far as seperate circuits this of couse will need to be inspected, so this is why I ask my question. What ever is code, ofcourse has to be , I just need to know.
Like Mr. Nelson already said, "Yes. Yes. Yes." The most common way to wire GFCI circuits is to use one GCFI outlet and power the other "regular" outlets off the load side. That is why most GFCI outlets come with little stickers that say something like "Ground Fault Protected" that you put on the downstream outlet covers.
 
  #7  
Old 02-11-05, 11:01 AM
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I think there is just a wee bit of confusion here, and I hope this clears it up. It is in what has not been said, not in what has been said, which has been pretty good info and advice.

John Nelson is referring to a section in the NEC that requires kitchens to be fed from two 20 amp receptacle circuits. Their exact term is "small appliance branch circuits". I believe that is why he said it must be for using appliances. You're right, you have no way of preventing a person from plugging in something that is not an appliance. It is simply put there for appliances. It's just like you are supposed to use a wrench or a socket to install or remove a hex bolt, but you can't prevent some idiot from using vise grips on it.

If your home was to code when it was built, but the code has changed since, your wiring is grandfathered to the code of the day. But if you modify a circuit, even adding one additional receptacle, the code says the entire circuit must be brought up to today's code. It sounds like you have at least one 20 amp small appliance branch circuit. You may have more than one 20 amp breaker serving kitchen appliances, but we won't get into that. And you have 12-2 wire. I believe if you add one more receptacle to an existing 20 amp circuit and use # 12 you should be OK with the code, since it sounds like the existing circuit generally complies with the 2005 edition.

Yes, you can feed the new receptacle from the load side of the existing GFCI. That is what the load side terminals are for. The new receptacle does not have to be a GFCI type. I have bought the Leviton Decorator type receptacles that are not GFCI, but are duplex square shaped receptacles that look like GFCIs without the test & reset buttons, but are less expensive but they match. (Don't want to screw up your mirror image!) If you feed a non-GFCI from a true GFCI, the downstream receptacle(s) are GFCI protected because they pass through the GFCI receptacle. If the true GFCI trips, all downstream receptacles become de-energized until you reset the GFCI.

Hope that helps.

Juice
 
  #8  
Old 02-11-05, 11:45 AM
hth
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But if you modify a circuit, even adding one additional receptacle, the code says the entire circuit must be brought up to today's code
if I am moving, not adding, a receptacle from one wall to opposite wall, would it be brought to code also? thx.
 
  #9  
Old 02-11-05, 06:09 PM
PugGuy2001
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Thank You Juice Head. You answer my question and also saved me some money instead of spending it on expesive GFCI. So would this rule apply for bathrooms also or is this another issue? Its 12/2 romex wire, 20amp breaker... same set up as kitchen.
 
  #10  
Old 02-11-05, 07:15 PM
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Kitchens and bathrooms are the two most regulated rooms in your house, but the rules are different. But if you want to add another receptacle to your bathroom by connecting to the load side of the GFCI already in the bathroom, go ahead.

New bathroom receptacle circuits installed today must be 20-amp circuits with at least #12 wire.

The code is over 700 pages long. By necessity, any time we give advice we must summarize a bit. Although I referred to a circuit that is used "to provide power for countertop appliances", the code doesn't use that phrase. The real code for this circuit is covered in several articles scattered around the code. One part of this is the phrase referring to "receptacles installed in a kitchen to serve countertop surfaces". Although most people use kitchen appliances on the kitchen countertop, nothing at all (other than common sense) prevents you from plugging a cement mixer in there.
 
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