20 amp switches & outlets

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  #1  
Old 01-23-06, 02:04 PM
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Cool 20 amp switches & outlets

Plan to swap out some switches and outlets for appearance only (brown vs white) - could not find brown in all of the configurations I needed at the Home Depot so I went to the electric supply store - told him what I needed (# 3 way, single pole, dimmer, etc) and got all 20 amp rated. I will be using these on a 15 amp circuit wired with 12/2 & 12/3 - I know it is within code to use 15 amp outlets on a 20 amp circuit so I am assuming that using 20 amp outlets & switches (including one 4 way & one GFCI) on a 15 amp is to code as well.

Am I OK with this?

Thanks -
 
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  #2  
Old 01-23-06, 02:10 PM
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No, you are not okay. It is NOT allowed to have 20 amp receptacles on a circuit protected by a 15 amp breaker. For 15 and 20 amp branch circuits receptacles cannot be rated more than the breaker (or fuse) providing protection.

If you have a 20 amp breaker and all 12 gage wire then you can use 15 or 20 amp devices, but you can't have a receptacle larger than the wire or the circuit breaker.
 
  #3  
Old 01-23-06, 02:31 PM
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If you have all #12 just use 20 amp breakers.
Did you use 15's for a reason?

That or you can return the devices for 15's.
 
  #4  
Old 01-23-06, 03:35 PM
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It is fine to use 20 amp switches and dimmers on a 15 amp circuit. You can not use 20 amp T slot receptacles however. Some 15 amp receptacles are rated at 20 amp pass through. Those are fine they have two vertical slots they are 15 amp receptacles and good to go.
 
  #5  
Old 01-24-06, 10:00 AM
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Used 15 amp on one circuit that had 4 way switch because could only find 15 amp 4 way switch at local home depot so I made everything on that side (outlets and switches) 15 amp to 15 amp breaker but used 12/2 & 12/3 wire. Other side of the room in on 20 amp breaker - will plan to use only receptacles rated for 20 amp on the 20 amp side and 15 amp receptacles on the 15 amp side. But sounds like it's OK to use the 20 amp switches on a 15 amp circuit, including the dimmer switch.

Thanks -
 
  #6  
Old 01-24-06, 10:09 AM
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If your one circuit is truly all 12 gage wire then do the smart thing and change the breaker. In the long run you'll be glad you did.
 
  #7  
Old 01-24-06, 02:09 PM
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Sounds like a good idea - then I can just use the 20 amps devices all the way around.

Thanks
 
  #8  
Old 01-24-06, 02:40 PM
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In aresidential setting there really is no need for the20 amp devices. When was the last time you have seen a 20 amp plug, except for maybe a room air conditioner? The A/c should be onits own circuit anyway.
 
  #9  
Old 01-25-06, 05:17 AM
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I just moved in my house 6 months ago and noticed the basement was on a 20 amp service with 12-2 wire but all 15amp receptacle. I went and spent probably 30 bucks for 20 amp receptacles, so did I waste my money pretty much? Also if I add more plugs or make any changes it is safe to use 15 amp receptacles?
 
  #10  
Old 01-25-06, 05:26 AM
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"Waste" may be too strong a word, although some will say it's the right word. You spent money that you did not need to spend.

In the US the NEC allows 15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuits. The only time a 20 amp receptacle is required is when there is a single receptacle on the circuit.

Yes, if you add more receptacles to this or any circuit you can use 15 amp receptacles. Just make sure that the wire you use is 12 gage if the circuit breaker is 20 amp.
 
  #11  
Old 01-25-06, 05:33 AM
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Thanks a lot, you guys are the best! Wish I knew of this site back in july, probably would have saved a lot of money on a lot of different projects.
 
  #12  
Old 01-25-06, 08:38 AM
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2o amp switches and outlets

By putting a 15 amp rec on a 12g wire and 20 amp breaker, will it overload and pop the breaker quicker than a 20 amp rec?
Money aside, which would be better to use?
 
  #13  
Old 01-25-06, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by George P
By putting a 15 amp rec on a 12g wire and 20 amp breaker, will it overload and pop the breaker quicker than a 20 amp rec?
Money aside, which would be better to use?
No. The breaker tripping has nothing to do with the wire or the devices on the wire. It has everything to do with the current being drawn.

I recommend that you buy good quality receptacles. Not the ones from the bulk bin. If you buy good quality receptacles you can buy whatever is appropriate for the anticipated use.
 
  #14  
Old 01-25-06, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Cruttshome
Used 15 amp on one circuit that had 4 way switch because could only find 15 amp 4 way switch at local home depot so I made everything on that side (outlets and switches) 15 amp to 15 amp breaker but used 12/2 & 12/3 wire.
I think you are confused about the rules regarding switches and receptacles; they are different. Receptacles are matched to the circuit ampacity, with the only exception that 15A receptacles are allowed on a 20A circuit. Switches on the other hand are matched to the load they control regardless of the circuit ampacity. A 15A switch is allowed on a 20A circuit if the lights it controls total less than 15A.

Your initial design decision to make the circuit 15A because you could only find 15A switches was flawed. 15A switches are allowed and very common on 20A circuits.
 
  #15  
Old 01-27-06, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks
I think you are confused about the rules regarding switches and receptacles; they are different. Receptacles are matched to the circuit ampacity, with the only exception that 15A receptacles are allowed on a 20A circuit. Switches on the other hand are matched to the load they control regardless of the circuit ampacity. A 15A switch is allowed on a 20A circuit if the lights it controls total less than 15A.

Your initial design decision to make the circuit 15A because you could only find 15A switches was flawed. 15A switches are allowed and very common on 20A circuits.
Thanks - I get it. I did this work about a year ago and actually sought advice from this forum to determine the appropriate way to handle my concern over the 4 way (15 amp) switch problem - it was based on advice at the time that I ultimately ended up in my current configuration of all devices 15 amp on 15 amp breaker.
 
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