using 15 amp outlet on 20 amp circuit


Old 09-08-05, 02:08 AM
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using 15 amp outlet on 20 amp circuit

Friends of mine are changing out old 2 hole outlets with 3 hole. I told them to make sure and connect the ground to the outlet because they were not doing this.

They are also putting 15 amp rated outlets in 20 amp circuits (kitchen, etc.).

I also noticed some of the switches they have do not have a ground screw.

My question for these above is it a code violation not to ground the switches. (And, I am already assuming for the first two questions it is a violation, right)?

Other questions I had:

1. How many circuits can you run off one main hot wire in a junction box, assuming you will not overload the circuit?

2. When you guys figure the max load on one circuit do you just calculate (volts x amps = watts)? Just wondering when I calculate the max load for the circuits in my house.

3. What is the best place to find code info online?

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Old 09-08-05, 04:57 AM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
In the US it is allowed to install 15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuits. In Canada this is not allowed. However, to install three prong receptacles they must either be properly grounded or be protected by a GFCI and then be labeled as "NO EQUIPMENT GROUND" and "GFCI PROTECTED" (or equivalent labeling).

Switches do not have to be grounded. If a ground is present in the box then the switch needs to be grounded, but if no ground is present you do not have to add one.

In residences there is no limit to the number of outlets (receptacles, lights, whatever) that you can install on a circuit. What is important is that you do not exceed the limits of the circuit. You can't violate rules for specific circuits either, such as mixing kitchen and living room receptacles. For general purpose circuits it is generally not a good idea to exceed 8 or 10 receptacles, but again, it all depends on the location of those receptacles and the anticipated load.

It is always a good idea to provide dedicated power for certain setups, such as home theater systems, computer setups, etc. And if you are wiring a shop you need to carefully plan on what tools will run simultaneously and where they will be plugged in.
Old 09-09-05, 09:27 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Ontario Canada
Posts: 1,767
The issue isn't load on the wire in the junction box, common sense dictates it is 15 or 20 A

The issue is how many cables you can fit in the box, and under a wire connector. It is called box fill, and is listed in code.

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