20 AMP circuit question

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  #1  
Old 02-25-05, 10:13 AM
kdkrone
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20 AMP circuit question

My kitchen has receptacles in the splashes that are on 20amp breakers with GFI receptacles. The wires to all receptacles are all 12 gauge. The receptacles, however, do not have the little 90 degree pin receptacle (I don't know what one calls it--instead of both pins being up and down, one is up and down and the other is side to side) that allows for a 20amp plug to be inserted.

Is there any reason to not put in the 20amp receptacle to accommodate a 20amp appliance? Our remodel was done about 18 years ago--were those receptacles available then?

Thanks
Ken Krone
 
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  #2  
Old 02-25-05, 10:22 AM
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Yes, 20 amp receptacles were available back then.

20 amp receptacles cost more than 15 amp receptacles. This, and the fact that they cannot be backstabbed are the main reasons that they are not used unless specifically needed.

There are very few devices that have a 20 amp plug. Air conditioners and large microwave ovens are two that come to mind. When a device does need a 20 amp plug, it generally needs it's own circuit anyway.
 
  #3  
Old 02-25-05, 11:19 AM
kdkrone
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<<There are very few devices that have a 20 amp plug. Air conditioners and large microwave ovens are two that come to mind. When a device does need a 20 amp plug, it generally needs it's own circuit anyway>>

Got it. The device that we are considering is an espresso machine. It has a 20amp plug but also has an internal switch to allow it to run in "economy" mode. Rather than change the plug, I will change the receptacle. (Interesting that when I called my local hardware store, they said that they have the receptacles in GFI but that they have the backstab for 14 gauge wires!! "Welcome to China" is what the clerk said. Love it!)

Anyway, although you did not say so, I assume that as long as I have 12 gauge wire, I can swap out the GFI 15 amp receptacle for the 20 amp?

Thanks much,
Ken K
 
  #4  
Old 02-25-05, 01:02 PM
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In order to install a 20 amp receptacle (GFCI or non-GFCI), you must have 12 gauge wire on the entire circuit and have a 20 amp breaker.

They do make GFCI receptacles that have 20 amp "faces" on them. The other option would be to replace a 15 amp downstream receptacle with a 20 amp receptacle. in fact, if this is a kitchen counter then you need to do one of these, as you need to have GFCI protection.

I don;t what the device needs in economy mode, but in regular mode it is likely to trip the breaker if you have something else of any significance on the circuit and turn on.
 
  #5  
Old 02-25-05, 01:16 PM
kdkrone
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Thanks. I have the requisites (20 amp breaker installed and 12 gauge wire throughout).

Ken K
 
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