20 amp circuit questions


Old 07-25-05, 10:03 AM
george ranier
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20 amp circuit questions

Hi all - I'm a relative novice in the world of DIY electrical projects, but my girlfriend wants to put a fountain in the yard....so here I am. My plan is to rewire a mudroom and then run the cable underground from there about 30 feet to the site of the fountain. There is a receptacle as well as a ceiling fan and outdoor light pre-existing on the mudroom circuit now. The new circuit will incorporate the existing stuff, as well as the new fountain and a light out near the fountain. My plan is to use a 20 amp GFCI breaker and 12 gauge wire throughout. The questions that I have are as follows: with the new circuit being 20 amps, do I need to replace the old switches and receptacles (which I suspect are all 15 amp) in the mudroom? Further, can I wire 15 amp rated receptacles to the new 20 amp circuit or do I need to use all 20 amp rated swithes and outlets? I'm not planning to plug any heavy current using devices into any of these receptacles, but my reason for making it a 20 amp circuit is that I figure there's going to be a lot of current flowing to all these different lights, the ceiling fan, and the pump for the fountain. What do you think? Thanks for taking time to answer!
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Old 07-25-05, 11:08 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 973
Assuming you are in the US, 15A recepticals are allowed on a 20A circuit so long as there is more than one receptical (in other words, a 20A circuit cannot be used to serve a *dedicated* 15A simplex receptical with no additional loads).

You might want to give consideration to using two circuits rather than one for this. Is there something wrong with the existing circuit? Why not leave it alone and just add a second circuit for the addtional load?

I'll let others comment further on particulars of your project...
Old 07-25-05, 12:09 PM
george ranier
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the existing circuit is likely 50+ years old. it is spliced off another circuit that also serves receptacles in the butler's pantry. further, it looks as if the wire they used is something that you would find in an extension cord - ie braided small diameter copper. Also, I am in the US. Further, I suppose I could put the fountain on a dedicated circuit, but I'd still like to rewire the mudroom while I'm at it.

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