circuit breaker size and receptacle size

Old 11-25-00, 09:43 PM
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I have a couple of questions. First, in wiring in a circuit for a microwave if you use a 20 amp breaker do you have to use a 20 amp receptacle or can you use a regular one? Second, in our breaker box there is a 30 amp breaker with 14 gauge wire running 7 ceiling fixtures, 7 light switches and 8 receptacles. This is 2 full bedrooms and lights in fam. room, kitchen, dining room, hallway, bathroom and part of the garage. How do we break this up without making alot of holes in our walls? Do we have to put a different size breaker in our box with that small wire? thanks for any help rhonda
Old 11-26-00, 06:30 AM
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OK, first things first.

It is allowable to have a 15 amp receptacle on a 20 amp circuit. You cannot do this for a single 15 amp receptacle on a 20 amp circuit (only one plug on the outlet instead of two). Look at your microwave cord. If it is a standard shape plug, install a standard 15 amp duplex receptacle.

Your 30 amp breaker on 14 gauge wire is a fire waiting to happen. I would guess that in the past, that circuit had tripping problems (most likely due to overloading), and someone installed a larger rated breaker to solve the tripping problem. This is the worst possible solution. 14 gauge wire is rated at 15 amps because carrying more current will cause the wire to overheat. Overheated wire will eventually melt the wire's insulation and cause a fire. Change the 30 amp breaker to a 15 amp, and then repair the circuit if need be.

It is possible to split a circuit without opening the walls if you can gain access to that circuit. Your circuit must run through the attic, unfinished basement, crawlspace, or some other accessible location. If it does not, then drywall repair or exposed raceways such as wiremold would be needed.

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