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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles

Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles

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  #1  
Old 04-03-09, 07:50 AM
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Is this correct regarding 20amp circuit and 15amp receptacles

I was told that its standard to put 15amp receptacles on a 20amp circuit as long as its a duplex receptacle and/or more than 1 thing is running on the circuit.

Here is my current config:
20amp circuit breaker

* 1 switch to wall light in bathroom 1
* 1 switch to wall light in bathroom 2
* 1 doorbell

Here is what I want to do

* 1 switch to wall light in bathroom 1
* 1 switch to wall light in bathroom 2
* 1 doorbell
* 1 switch to ceiling vent in bathroom 1
* 1 switch to celiing vent in bathroom 2
* 1 duplex GFCI receptacle in bathroom 1
* 1 duplex GFCI receptacle in bathroom 2

So is it true that I can use 15amp GFCIs and switches on that circuit?
 
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  #2  
Old 04-03-09, 08:40 AM
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Not sure about the doorbell transformer. Only bathroom loads on bathroom circuits.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 04-03-09 at 08:58 AM.
  #3  
Old 04-03-09, 08:43 AM
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Originally Posted by toolmonkey View Post
I was told that its standard to put 15amp receptacles on a 20amp circuit as long as its a duplex receptacle and/or more than 1 thing is running on the circuit.
That is correct in the U.S. If you are in Canada, the receptacle must match the circuit.

Here is what I want to do
Your plan is not allowed. When powering a bathroom you have two options:

1) A 20A circuit which feeds only receptacles in multiple bathrooms. Lights and fans on other circuits.

2) A 20A circuit which feeds any outlets (receptacles, lights, fans) within a single bathroom.

You cannot have one circuit power both lights and receptacles in multiple bathrooms.

So is it true that I can use 15amp GFCIs and switches on that circuit?
Once your circuit layout is straightened out, yes you can use 15A devices on the circuit.
 
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Old 04-03-09, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
That is correct in the U.S. If you are in Canada, the receptacle must match the circuit.



Your plan is not allowed. When powering a bathroom you have two options:

1) A 20A circuit which feeds only receptacles in multiple bathrooms. Lights and fans on other circuits.

2) A 20A circuit which feeds any outlets (receptacles, lights, fans) within a single bathroom.

You cannot have one circuit power both lights and receptacles in multiple bathrooms.



Once your circuit layout is straightened out, yes you can use 15A devices on the circuit.
I plan on replacing my main panel sometime next year.

I'm going to setup 2 separate junction boxes for each bathroom. When I do have that panel replaced, I can have the electrician run new dedicated wires to each junction box. Does that sound like a good plan?

The main reason I want to add these things now is we had some hurricane damage to the roof last year and I am replacing the ceilings and some sheetrock. Its alot easier to add electrical now than later.
 
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Old 04-03-09, 09:16 AM
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Please fill in the "location" field of your profile for best advice.

I recommend this book practically daily, but if you are in the U.S., get a copy of the inexpensive green paperback Wiring Simplified. Read up on all the bathroom codes so that you can get it right the first time.
 
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Old 04-03-09, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
Please fill in the "location" field of your profile for best advice.

I recommend this book practically daily, but if you are in the U.S., get a copy of the inexpensive green paperback Wiring Simplified. Read up on all the bathroom codes so that you can get it right the first time.
Location added.

Thanks for the book suggestion.

Would 1 junction box for each bathroom be acceptable?
 
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Old 04-03-09, 10:18 AM
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What is the reason you cannot run dedicated lines now, instead of waiting until next year?
 
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Old 04-03-09, 11:21 AM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
What is the reason you cannot run dedicated lines now, instead of waiting until next year?
I cannot run dedicated lines because its an old panel (Federal Pacific) and I am not comfortable messing with the main panel. Money is tight.

I understand that it wont be to code but both bathrooms are not used at the same time (1st bathroom is hardly ever used), so why would it pose a safety issue for the time being.
 
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Old 04-03-09, 12:16 PM
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Your idea of wiring everything in each bathroom from a junction box specific to that bathroom is a good temporary idea. Be sure to use all 12-gauge wiring in the bathrooms and don't forget to follow through next year when you upgrade the panel.

The one problem you will have is that if you have a permit for the work this year, it won't pass inspection. And if you don't have a permit, the electrician next year may refuse to connect to it, and/or the inspector may require you to rip everything you are doing now out again. And if you unexpectedly need to sell your house within the next year, the home inspector may detect the unpermitted work and ask that you rip it all out.

This may put you into a tight fix whichever way you go. You may want to consider just deferring this work until next year, despite the opportunity presented by the hurricane damage. That opportunity may be a trap.

A possible compromise is to just wire up one bathroom and install conduit in the other bathroom for later use. Of course, you wouldn't really be able to use that second bathroom until next year.
 
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Old 04-03-09, 12:25 PM
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Originally Posted by John Nelson View Post
Your idea of wiring everything in each bathroom from a junction box specific to that bathroom is a good temporary idea. Be sure to use all 12-gauge wiring in the bathrooms and don't forget to follow through next year when you upgrade the panel.

Thanks for the suggestions. Why is it required to use 12gauge wiring in the bathrooms? I thought 12gauge was mainly for dedicated 20amp circuits.
 
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Old 04-03-09, 12:30 PM
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#12 (or larger) is required for any 20amp circuit. You can use #14 on a 15 amp breaker for the lighting but receptacles must be on a 20 amp breaker..
 
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Old 04-03-09, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
#12 (or larger) is required for any 20amp circuit. You can use #14 on a 15 amp breaker for the lighting but receptacles must be on a 20 amp breaker..
Is it ok to use #14 from a junction box to a light & switch and use the #12 from the junction box for the receptacles? Or do all the wires have the be the same gauge? I'm confused because if its ok to use a 15amp receptacle on a 20amp circuit, why do you have to use a #12 wire on a 15amp receptacle?
 
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Old 04-03-09, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by toolmonkey View Post
Is it ok to use #14 from a junction box to a light & switch and use the #12 from the junction box for the receptacles?
No. All wiring on a 20A circuit must be #12, and all receptacles in a bathroom must be supplied by 20A circuit(s). Lighting and/or fans may be supplied by 15A circuit(s) which are separate from the receptacles.

I'm confused because if its ok to use a 15amp receptacle on a 20amp circuit, why do you have to use a #12 wire on a 15amp receptacle?
The 15A receptacle is rated for 20A pass-through. You could have two 10A appliances plugged in; neither exceeds 15A but the total used on the circuit is 20A. This situation is very likely in a bathroom where there could be a curling iron and a hairdryer plugged in simultaneously.
 
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Old 04-03-09, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by ibpooks View Post
No. All wiring on a 20A circuit must be #12.

The 15A receptacle is rated for 20A pass-through. You could have two 10A appliances plugged in; neither exceeds 15A but the total used on the circuit is 20A.
I see, makes sense now

#12 is a pain to work with but since all but one of my circuits are 20amp, Home Depot here I come for some wire.
 
  #15  
Old 04-03-09, 03:01 PM
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Using all #12 will save you the trouble of stocking two different sizes of cable.
 
  #16  
Old 04-07-09, 10:43 PM
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I didnít get a chance to work on this last weekend.

After thinking about it more, should I put the (2) GFCI receptacles (1 in each bathroom) on its own circuit? If so, I will connect these to its own junction box in the attic so later an electrician can run a dedicated line to it.

So, what option would be best?

OPTION 1:
Junction Box 1 (later to be on its own circuit)
- Bath 1 - GFCI receptacle
- Bath 1 - Wall Light
- Bath 1 - Ceiling Vent

Junction Box 2 (later to be on its own circuit)
- Bath 2 - GFCI receptacle
- Bath 2 - Wall Light
- Bath 2 - Ceiling Vent

OPTION 2:
Junction Box 1 (later to be on its own circuit)
- Bath 1 & 2 - Wall Light
- Bath 1 & 2 - Ceiling Vent

Junction Box 2 (later to be on its own circuit)
- Bath 1 & 2 - GFCI receptacle
 
  #17  
Old 04-08-09, 06:57 AM
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It is unusual, but allowed, to put a bathroom receptacle on a circuit all by itself. It is also allowed and not unusual to put multiple bathroom receptacles in different bathrooms on a circuit by themselves with nothing else on the circuit. Wiring Simplified covers all this.

Either of your two options is fine. Personally I'd choose option 1 as it better handles two hair dryers / curling irons in simulaneous use in the two bathrooms and requires less cable. However, option 1 may cause the bathroom lights to dim slightly when the hair dryer comes on. This is not a safety or code issue, but if you think it will drive you crazy (or more importantly to make your spouse think you're an incompetent electrician), then you could do option 2.
 
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Old 04-08-09, 07:21 AM
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Thanks John Nelson.

I actually checked out "Wiring Simplified" from my local library. Itís a pretty good book, so I plan on buying it. I didnít see where they talked about putting receptacles on the same circuit, I must have overlooked it.
 
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