20A vs 15A for general use circuits...?

Reply

  #1  
Old 03-15-06, 10:19 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
20A vs 15A for general use circuits...?

Quick question. For general use circuits that feed receptacles in, say, bedrooms or offices, is it typical to install 15A circuits or 20A circuits. Of course in areas where code dictates 20A circuits, dedicated or shared, those would be 20A, but for other rooms, let's say receptacles in a dining room, family room, etc, are 15A circuits the norm?

Thanks.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 03-16-06, 05:51 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Dining room receptacles must be 20 amp, and are subject to the same rules as kitchen counter top receptacles.

In other rooms the choice is yours. However, I would never install a circuit serving receptacles as anything but 20 amps. The cost is only slightly higher for 12 gage wire and you get 33 percent more power. To me it's a no brainer.
 
  #3  
Old 03-16-06, 06:13 AM
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: North of Boston, MA.
Posts: 2,113
And in bedrooms they must be on Arc-fault, Too many variables in your initial post to be more specific
 
  #4  
Old 03-16-06, 07:44 AM
bolide's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 1,909
Definitely 20A. 15A is too easy to overload.

(Other than where 20A receptacles are required, it is fine to use 15A receptacles on a 20A circuit.)
 
  #5  
Old 03-16-06, 08:33 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
thanks guys. just checking. I was planning on the 20A but I saw in my reference book that a lot of these circuits are stated as 15A, but I'm sure this is the minimum rather than the norm.
 
  #6  
Old 03-16-06, 08:38 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
Originally Posted by racraft
Dining room receptacles must be 20 amp, and are subject to the same rules as kitchen counter top receptacles.
I was not aware that dining room receptacles required GFI..? Also thought that you could put your refrigerator on the dining room receptacle circuit..? And if is the case, (I may be wrong) then a refrigerator only requries a 15A circuit anyway, right?
 
  #7  
Old 03-16-06, 09:00 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
Originally Posted by bolide

(Other than where 20A receptacles are required, it is fine to use 15A receptacles on a 20A circuit.)
Is this a code requirement, as far as 20A receptacles? Or is it a determination based on the load of what will be plugged into the receptacle? Thanks.
 
  #8  
Old 03-16-06, 09:15 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
In the US the dining room receptacles need to be on the small appliance circuits. This is because it is conceivable that you might plug appliances into these receptacles for serving, perhaps in a buffet setup.

In the US it is legal to use 15 amp receptacles on a 20 amp circuit, provided that there is more than one receptacle on the circuit. A duplex receptacle counts as more than one receptacle. There are very few 120 volt devices that truly require a 20 amp circuit, and if they do (such as with an air conditioner or microwave), they usually require a dedicated circuit anyway.
 
  #9  
Old 03-16-06, 09:58 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
Originally Posted by racraft
In the US the dining room receptacles need to be on the small appliance circuits. This is because it is conceivable that you might plug appliances into these receptacles for serving, perhaps in a buffet setup.

In the US it is legal to use 15 amp receptacles on a 20 amp circuit, provided that there is more than one receptacle on the circuit. A duplex receptacle counts as more than one receptacle. There are very few 120 volt devices that truly require a 20 amp circuit, and if they do (such as with an air conditioner or microwave), they usually require a dedicated circuit anyway.
Now I'm a little confused. You're saying that the dining room receptacles MUST be on the kitchen small appliance (countertop circuits), or that they should be..? Can you point me to a section of the NEC that states these requirements? Trying to get everything mapped out for my upgrade. Thanks racraft.
 
  #10  
Old 03-16-06, 10:39 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,533
The section is 210.52.

(B) Small Appliances
(1) Receptacle outlets served. In the kitchen, pantry, breakfast room, dining room, or similar area of a dwelling unit, the two or more 20A small-appliance branch circuits required by 210.11(C)(1) shall serve all wall and floor receptacle outlets covered by 210.52(A), all countertop outlets covered by 210.52(C), and receptacle outlets for refrigeration equipment.

Exception 2 allows a seperate, dedicated circuit for the fridge independent of the small-appliace circuits.

Basically, you must have 2 or more 20A circuits for small appliances that serve the above listed locations. If you only have 2 small appliance circuits, then they must also serve the dining areas. The dining areas can be served by a third (or fourth) 20A small-appliance circuit in addition to the two in the kitchen if you choose to have more than 2 small appliance circuits.
 
  #11  
Old 03-16-06, 10:40 AM
bolide's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 1,909
> You're saying that the dining room receptacles MUST be on the kitchen small appliance
> (countertop circuits)

No.

They can counted as such and, if so, may not serve loads or rooms that are not such.

If you pull a separate 20A circuit for your dining receptacles, I believe that you are fine.
It doesn't also have to be used in the kitchen.
It just can't serve the living room or bedroom etc.

You can also use more 15 or 20A general use circuits provided that a receptacle from a 20A small appliance circuit is available in the room too.


> Can you point me to a section of the NEC that states these requirements?

210.52.
 
  #12  
Old 03-16-06, 10:52 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
Thanks guys. That was my plan; two 20A circuits dedicated to the kitchen couter tops. One 20A circuit covering the refrigerator (which would be ok under the section of the NEC you provided) and the dining room receptacles.

Sound ok?
,
 
  #13  
Old 03-16-06, 11:05 AM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
As long as those dining room receptacles are on a 20 amp circuit that serves nothing else.
 
  #14  
Old 03-16-06, 11:15 AM
bolide's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 1,909
> two 20A circuits dedicated to the kitchen couter tops.
> One 20A circuit covering the refrigerator
I use 15A (12/2 cable) for the fridge and avoid the GFCI.

This way, if you blow the breaker with some other appliances (toaster oven, George Foreman griddle, crockpots), the fridge is still running.
And you don't GFCI protect the fridge.

> (which would be ok under the section of the NEC you provided) and
> the dining room receptacles.

Why not pull another 20A circuit for the dining room?
You could put some kitchen receptacles on it too to bring more power to the kitchen.
 
  #15  
Old 03-16-06, 01:19 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
Originally Posted by bolide
> two 20A circuits dedicated to the kitchen couter tops.
> One 20A circuit covering the refrigerator
I use 15A (12/2 cable) for the fridge and avoid the GFCI.

This way, if you blow the breaker with some other appliances (toaster oven, George Foreman griddle, crockpots), the fridge is still running.
And you don't GFCI protect the fridge.

> (which would be ok under the section of the NEC you provided) and
> the dining room receptacles.

Why not pull another 20A circuit for the dining room?
You could put some kitchen receptacles on it too to bring more power to the kitchen.
What I was planning at a minimum was two gfi protected circuits for the coutertops. One 20A non-gfi protected circuit for the fridge and the dining room circuits. I am not sure why I would go with 15A for the refrigerator/dining room circuit.

This is at a minimum. Of course, pulling a new circuit for the dining room/other kitchen appliances and dedicating the refrigerator circuit is also an option (probably the one I will go with)
 
  #16  
Old 03-16-06, 01:41 PM
bolide's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 1,909
Originally Posted by fuente
What I was planning at a minimum was two gfi protected circuits for the coutertops.
One 20A non-gfi protected circuit for the fridge and the dining room circuits.
And what about lights?
You are required to have lights also.


> I am not sure why I would go with 15A for the refrigerator/dining room circuit.

I wouldn't. 15A is if it is dedicated with a simplex receptacle.
 
  #17  
Old 03-16-06, 01:46 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
I was going to put the dining room, living room and adjacent bedroom lights on a 15A circuit. This circuit would only be lighting, nothing else.
 
  #18  
Old 03-16-06, 01:52 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
Bedrooms require AFCI protection. Do you really want your living room and dining room to be AFCI protected as well?
 
  #19  
Old 03-16-06, 01:55 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
Originally Posted by racraft
Bedrooms require AFCI protection. Do you really want your living room and dining room to be AFCI protected as well?
The lighting requires AFCI protection? or just the receptacles?

210-12. Arc-Fault Circuit-Interrupter Protection
(a) Definition. An arc-fault circuit interrupter is a device intended to provide protection from the effects of arc faults by recognizing characteristics unique to arcing and by functioning to de-energize the circuit when an arc fault is detected.
(b) Dwelling Unit Bedrooms. All branch circuits that supply 125-volt, single-phase, 15- and 20-ampere receptacle outlets installed in dwelling unit bedrooms shall be protected by an arc-fault circuit interrupter(s). This requirement shall become effective January 1, 2002. (Graphic)
 
  #20  
Old 03-16-06, 02:57 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
The 2005 NEC puts the requirement for AFCI protection on ALL outlets in a bedroom, which means lights, receptacles, and even smoke alarms. Local amendments may apply, so check them out.
 
  #21  
Old 03-16-06, 03:00 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
can you post the section in the code? So lighting is considered an outlet/receptacle?
 
  #22  
Old 03-16-06, 03:10 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
The 2005 code uses the term outlet. it does not include the term receptacle.

The term outlet (by itself) means receptacle, light, smoke detector, anything.

I am not going to type the code.

I do not know what the 2002 code says.
 
  #23  
Old 03-16-06, 03:13 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
ok thanks. so I guess that since I will be combining the lighting circuits for the dining, family and bedroom, it will need to be AFCI protected. No big deal. Thanks.

The other lighting circuit will serve the kitchen, family room and guest bath. AFCI protected?

The third will serve the other two bedrooms, master bath. Again, AFCI protected.
 
  #24  
Old 03-16-06, 03:34 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
For the 2005 NEC, anything electrical serving bedrooms needs to be AFCI protected.

Check if the 2005 code applies for your area, or if there are local ammendments that might apply.

Don't forget that you need interconnected smoke detectors for the house.
 
  #25  
Old 03-16-06, 03:56 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
yep, I plan on installing those smoke detectors. So what does the NEC say about AFCI in kitchens and bathrooms? AFCI for lighting?
 
  #26  
Old 03-16-06, 04:08 PM
Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
For the 2005 NEC, anything electrical serving bedrooms needs to be AFCI protected.

The NEC does not discuss AFCI protection for other locations.
 
  #27  
Old 03-16-06, 04:10 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 749
great. thanks !
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes