Outlet vs Breaker Ratings


Old 04-15-08, 06:56 PM
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Outlet vs Breaker Ratings

I actually posted this on the tail of an older question but realized that it might not be looked at so I am reposting as a new question.

In my non-attached shop I have a subbox with a 20A breaker feeding a 20A GFCI followed by downstream 15A non-GFCI outlets. The wiring from the GFCI to the downstream outlets is 14/2 w/ground.
My question is, do the 15A outlets and/or the 14 guage wires have a potential for shorts before the 20A breaker would trip and should they be replaced with 20A outlets and 12 guage wiring? I am making an assumption that I will never have enough load at any one time to exceed 15 amps total.

Thanks for the advice.


P.S. - I am in Washington state
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Old 04-15-08, 07:46 PM
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That 20 amp breaker needs to go down to a 15amp or replace the 14ga wire with 12. 14ga wire cannot be on a 20amp circuit, but the 15amp receptacles are fine as-is.
Old 04-15-08, 08:09 PM
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The circuit breaker is to protect the wiring, so the breaker must be sized to protect the smallest wire on the circuit.

If there was a short on the 14-2, it could heat up enough to damage the wire before the 20 amp breaker would trip.

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