Theoretical Question?

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Old 09-15-06, 07:42 PM
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Theoretical Question?

If a person is building his own (custom) home and cost is not an issue.......is it acceptable to use 12/2 wire with 20 amp receptacles and 20 amp breakers on every outlet? Or is there code that requires 15 amp circuits in certain locations and 20 amp circuits in other locations.

Thanks,
Phil
 
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Old 09-15-06, 08:01 PM
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All 20A circuits is certainly acceptable and actually quite common now.

Now if you were asking if all the receptacles can be dedicated 20A each, then you'll have to take into account that you can't have more than 42 circuits.
 
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Old 09-15-06, 08:26 PM
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Originally Posted by MAC702
Now if you were asking if all the receptacles can be dedicated 20A each, then you'll have to take into account that you can't have more than 42 circuits.
You can't have more than 42 crcuits per panel but that doesn't stop you from having multiple panels.

A common situation I encounter is using 1 200 amp panel with a main breaker and feed through buss which ties directly to a 200 amp MLO panel right next to it. That gives you 84 circuits right there. You could add panels in this manner (as long as each subsequent panel is rated as large as the main in the first panel) or run subs into other areas of the house to have as many breakers as you desire. By using the service panel as a main distribution panel, you could run up to 21 240 volt panels from that one distribution point. Then if you have 42 circuit panels at each point you would have 882 single pole circuits. How many circuits do you want?? (the last situatuation is obviously an extreme example)
 
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Old 09-15-06, 08:42 PM
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You're right, since it was a theoretical question, there was plenty of room for throwing in the extra panels as necessary.
 
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Old 09-15-06, 08:48 PM
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"Theoreticaly", Why would you waste your "hard" earned money?
20A, Is good for certain applications. A total waste of money for others. Figure out what you need, (not what your neighbor does not have).If "one" needs to have a 20A ckt in every room thats great! When you move in........ There will be alot of things you missed. 20A ckt or not.


*All 20A circuits is certainly acceptable and actually quite common now*
I think I may relocate!
 
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Old 09-15-06, 09:07 PM
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I wired all my circuits with 12AWG. I have one that is dedicated and direct wired (no plug connection) to a range hood only, and it is on a 15A breaker. I also have a spa tub that is plug connected to a dedicated 15A duplex GFCI and I also put that on a 15A.

Although those breakers meet the appliance manufacturer's minimum specifications, I am not sure what the NEC requires, and they did not specify a maximum like you would see with HACR nameplates. In other words I don't know if I could have used a 20A breaker for those dedicated circuits.

Also local codes vary greatly, but generally in the US (NEC) you don't have to use 20A receptacles on a 20A circuit, as long as there is at least one duplex (15A) recep on the circuit. That is, if you have only one single receptacle outlet on a 20A circuit it shall be a 20A receptacle outlet. However seems to me in Canada you cannot put 15A receps on a 20A circuit.
 
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Old 09-15-06, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by nap
You can't have more than 42 crcuits per panel but that doesn't stop you from having multiple panels.

A common situation I encounter is using 1 200 amp panel with a main breaker and feed through buss which ties directly to a 200 amp MLO panel right next to it. That gives you 84 circuits right there. You could add panels in this manner (as long as each subsequent panel is rated as large as the main in the first panel) or run subs into other areas of the house to have as many breakers as you desire. By using the service panel as a main distribution panel, you could run up to 21 240 volt panels from that one distribution point. Then if you have 42 circuit panels at each point you would have 882 single pole circuits. How many circuits do you want?? (the last situatuation is obviously an extreme example)
All well and good. So each ckt. has 3 amps tops. Could we not make better/more effficiant use of these ckts?
Then we may not need 300 ckts..And all the sub panels. With a total load of 90Amps. MAX, If your lucky (unlucky), with ENTIRE home ON.
No doubt, SAFETY first. But...............
 
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Old 09-16-06, 12:50 AM
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Originally Posted by lectriclee
All well and good. So each ckt. has 3 amps tops. Could we not make better/more effficiant use of these ckts?
Then we may not need 300 ckts..And all the sub panels. With a total load of 90Amps. MAX, If your lucky (unlucky), with ENTIRE home ON.
No doubt, SAFETY first. But...............
we were speaking in the theoretical situation.

but to the "each circuit has 3 amps tops". No, each circiut has whatever size breaker you use. There a very few panels that are installed using the total added ampacity of ecah cnd every breaker. Most all panels contain a much greater total amps in breakers than the main can deliver.
 
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Old 09-16-06, 04:48 AM
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Why not use 12ga, 20 amp breakers, and 15 amp receptacles? I think you can do that in the US, but possibly not in Canada.
This forces an appliance which needs a 20 amp circuit to be used ONLY on one of the dedicated circuits.
 
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Old 09-16-06, 05:01 AM
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Originally Posted by lectriclee
"Theoreticaly", Why would you waste your "hard" earned money?
lectriclee,
I just upgraded the service in my home and added some new circuits and what I found is the cost of 12/2 wire, 20 amp receptacles and 20 amp breakers isn't that much more than 14/2 wire, 15 amp receptacles and 15 amp breakers.

I can see where a builder or contractor would have to be cost conscious; but to a person who wants to build a custom home and is spending top dollar on things like plumbing, appliances and other “Trim” items…….what’s the big deal about spending an extra .18 cents per foot on wire?

My "theoretical" question has to do with Code and if it is acceptable to have 20 amp circuits on every wall. Imagine you're talking to Donald Trump or Bill Gates and "theoreticaly" money is not an issue!
Phil
 
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Old 09-16-06, 05:12 AM
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Phil,
I see your point, and there is no problem with it.
It's just, why do you need 20a receptacles? IMO they are ugly, and contrary to some belief's, there is VERY little actuually uses a 20a plug. Tell me the last time you had to plug anything general in that had one. Of course I do not mean a specialty tool or appliance such as a large A/C. I would assume a house like this has central air and a dedicated workshop.




"This forces an appliance which needs a 20 amp circuit to be used ONLY on one of the dedicated circuits."

594,
I'll pose the same question to you. When was the last time you saw a 20a plug in your home? Not a "20 amp" applaince, but the actual plug on it.
 
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Old 09-16-06, 08:31 AM
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Smile

Some of the branch circuits in a home require 20 Amp conductors. Such as Kitchen Counter receptacles (minimum of 2 circuits), Laundry Receptacle (minimum of 1 circuit), Bathrooms [(1) circuit if dedicated to power everything in that bath], and some appliances.
Most of the general use receptacles would probably be OK on 15 Amp circuits if they will carry the load safely..
I use #12 for all of the 120V branch circuits. It costs more, but it makes (IMO) a better quality installation. Also, it's required in some jurisdictions.
steve
 
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Old 09-16-06, 09:27 AM
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"I use #12 for all of the 120V branch circuits. It costs more, but it makes (IMO) a better quality installation."

I am very curious as to what you mean.
How is it "better"?
 
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Old 09-16-06, 09:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
"I use #12 for all of the 120V branch circuits. It costs more, but it makes (IMO) a better quality installation."

I am very curious as to what you mean.
How is it "better"?
Well for one thing you cant "backstab" #12 into receptacles and switches, which is in my opinion a shoddy way to make a connection. Another is..all of the circuits are 20A which lessens the risk of overloading any circuit. #12 wire is physically stronger and less likely to be damaged (such as by someone walking between ceiling joists hidden by insulation) in the attic.
I know that #14 is allowed by code and is a lot easier to run and terminate, but IMO, it's not as good.
If #12 wasn't better why would #14 be prohibited in some areas?
Just my opinion
steve
 
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Old 09-16-06, 11:15 AM
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Backstabbing is poor workmanship regardless of wire size.

I have never seen #14 prohibited anywhere. You say you have and I believe you. It is just not nearly common. If it were better, or safer, it would be code across the country.
I have also seen NM cable prohibited. That does not make conduit better just because NM is not allowed.

These things do not make #12 "better" IMO.
Better is a very subjective term.
 
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Old 09-16-06, 01:11 PM
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Pete, I gotta disagree. I can see no good reason to put in 15 amp circuits for receptacles, todays gadgets just eat too much electricity. They didn't have 60" tv's back in the old days.

Example: say I'm in the bedroom listening to tunes on my computer (7.4 amps) and my kid comes and plugs in the vacuum cleaner (12 amps) you have 19.4 amps right there. I see it coming right around the corner... all circuits will be 20 amps for receptacles.

Far as backstab receptacles go, the Levitron ones I have will accept 14 or 12 wire, not that it's a good idea. Seems someone posted about a year ago the early ones only took 14, not anymore and mine are cirica 1975.

Just a thought.

Baldwin
 
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Old 09-16-06, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by Baldwin

Example: say I'm in the bedroom listening to tunes on my computer (7.4 amps) and my kid comes and plugs in the vacuum cleaner (12 amps)
Forget all this talk about amperage. Shut off your computer, get in the car and bring that kid to my house!

 
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Old 09-16-06, 03:10 PM
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First off, of course if you plug a vacuum in it will tax a circuit. This has been an issue forever, regardless of the circuit. So anything plus a vac will be a heavy draw.

Second, older codes allowed both #14 & #12 to be backstabbed. Newer codes prohibit #14 to be backstabbed on receptacles.
It is NEVER a good idea to backstab anything.

Third, my point was about ALL #12, not just receptacles. The statement was made that using ALL #12 in a new house is "better". This is untrue IMO.

Do I use #12 and 20a for all receptacle circuits? No, I don't.
Do I think it is necessary? NO, I don't.
I myself see NO reason to wire bedrooms with 5-6 receptacles on a 20 amp circuit.
I also do NOT load my circuits with 12-14 receptacles like some folks do. I don't mix room's receptacles if I can help it as well.

I personally think it is more about how you wire, not what you wire with.
 
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Old 09-16-06, 05:20 PM
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Thumbs up

#my kid comes and plugs in the vacuum cleaner (12 amps) you have 19.4 amps right there.#

This is not only theoreticaly impossible, It is also hypotheticaly impossible, and most likely totally impossible!
Unless you have that one alien we have all been looking for!

Argmematey;get in the car and bring that kid to my house!

Captn', Forget the car part, I'll pick the kid up and deliver the kid back home.
.
 

Last edited by lectriclee; 09-16-06 at 06:53 PM.
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Old 09-16-06, 05:27 PM
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I personally think it is more about how you wire, not what you wire with.

You are not alone., Plan, adjust and think.
If done logicaly, anything can be acheived.
 
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Old 09-16-06, 08:19 PM
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WOW....This has been an interesting "Theoretical Thread"
I got the full gamut of answers all the way from: "It's actually quite common now" to: "Why would you waste your hard earned money?" to: "It's more about how you wire, not what you wire with"
Thanks guys, now I'm worse off than I was before I asked the theoretical question! (((LOL)))
Phil
 
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Old 09-17-06, 03:15 AM
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You know what they say about asking ten different people the same question.
 
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Old 09-17-06, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
Third, my point was about ALL #12, not just receptacles. The statement was made that using ALL #12 in a new house is "better". This is untrue IMO.

Do I use #12 and 20a for all receptacle circuits? No, I don't.
Do I think it is necessary? NO, I don't.
I myself see NO reason to wire bedrooms with 5-6 receptacles on a 20 amp circuit.
I also do NOT load my circuits with 12-14 receptacles like some folks do. I don't mix room's receptacles if I can help it as well.

I personally think it is more about how you wire, not what you
wire with.
I think that it's both.
I didn't mean ruffle your feathers about the #12 wire.
If you want to use #14, have at it. I know that it's cheaper..errrr...costs less. It's your choice, and the code allows it, so if you feel comfortable with it, Tally Ho!
I was just giving my opinion, and you know (like b**holes), everyone's got one of their own.
As far as putting 12-14 receptacles on one circuit, I don't do that either, but like using #14 wire, I could if I wanted too.
steve
 
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Old 09-17-06, 04:44 PM
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Angry

Theoreticaly. (not so far from the truth) White envelope with green interior.... You can pretty much do what you want.
Sad but true. The guy who gives and the guy who takes..
Their not worth their salt!!! (can you say "DIRT BAG"?).
 
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Old 09-18-06, 06:48 AM
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not everyone uses power the same way you do

Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
I myself see NO reason to wire bedrooms with 5-6 receptacles on a 20 amp circuit.
But you always have to remember that not everyone uses power the same way you do. What if each bedroom had its own computer, stereo, TV, blow dryer, etc?

I don't know what kids these days do, but in my bedroom when I was growing up, I had the computer (Apple II) and stereo (home built amp) on all the time, plus frequently a soldering iron and whatever electronics I was messing with at the time. That may not have overloaded the circuit back then, but computers and entertainment centers use a lot more power now.

Also, do you really want the alarm clock in your bedroom relying on what those kids are doing?
 
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Old 09-18-06, 08:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Speedy Petey
I have never seen #14 prohibited anywhere. You say you have and I believe you. It is just not nearly common. If it were better, or safer, it would be code across the country.
My hometown of Davenport, IA prohibits #14. Always a little amusing to see a local jurisdiction that thinks they know better than the NEC. It's hard to see the big safety benefit, because #12 is not appreciably 'safer' than #14 (assuming you're on 15A of course). Sure you'll get less I^2R heating, the wire is more robust, etc., but those should never be issues in a proper installation.

And any Joe Jackleg can use #14 in their house - they still sell it at Home Depot after all. The pro who is forced to use #12 in an inspected job isn't going to screw it up in the first place - he shouldn't be forced to use #12 if #14 works.
 
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Old 09-18-06, 11:01 AM
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14 AWG is illegal by county code in my hometown also.
All circuits must be wired with 12 AWG.
No circuit breakers less than 20 AMP.
They also do not want to see more than 5 outlets on a circuit. They will tolerate up to 8 but will force a new circuit after that.
Obviously all these rules are local, but this reasserts how important it can be to discuss your plans with the local inspector first. Mine was very helpful and kept me from having to rewire some pretty big jobs when I moved into this area.
An ounce of prevention.....
 
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Old 09-18-06, 12:57 PM
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My 2 cents

The thing that is driving me to wire my house with all 12 AWG and 20 amp everything instead of 15A is the future. Why I am rewiring at all is a separate reason. Speedy Pete has a great point about the last time I saw a 20 amp device, but I am not a professional like him so whenever I can get overkill, I do it.

Just because no 20 amp device is around my home today, that doesn't mean in 5 or 20 years that will still be true.

Also, as long as I am going through the effort to rewire, I am going to wire it at the top of the line, even if it is slighter harder and slighter more expensive.
 
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Old 09-18-06, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by jn
14 AWG is illegal by county code in my hometown also.
All circuits must be wired with 12 AWG.
No circuit breakers less than 20 AMP.
They also do not want to see more than 5 outlets on a circuit. They will tolerate up to 8 but will force a new circuit after that.
Obviously all these rules are local, ...
This was interesting and I thank you for sharing your local codes. However, it would have been much MORE interesting if your profile said where you lived...
 
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Old 09-18-06, 07:05 PM
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Question

Does anyone beleive that there is a correlation between local code, and the Licensing procedure for said areas?
Perhaps some areas rely on overkill to manage lack of training.

IN NO WAY is this to be interpreted as unlicensed states have unqualified or unknowledgable professionals.

I see alot of talent here!
 
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