Exact definition of a general purpose outlet ? (ON)


Old 05-01-11, 10:05 AM
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Exact definition of a general purpose outlet ? (ON)

I'm in Ontario. I'm told I can put a maximum of 12 general purpose outlets on a standard 15A breaker.

Is that 12 "pairs" (i.e. one standard box containing 2 plugs), or 12 actual plugs, so 6 standard boxes with a pair of plugs in it ?

I'm pretty sure I'd asked the ESA some time ago, but now I don't recall, and I'm finally starting my work on wiring the basement!

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Old 05-01-11, 01:56 PM
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Caveating this by saying I've never read the Canadian Electrical Code, but I understand it to mean up to 12 duplex receptacles on a single circuit.
Old 05-01-11, 02:24 PM
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I doubt it's defined differently in CEC, but the term 'outlet' means any device - whether it be a duplex receptacle, a light, or a smoke alarm.

Here's my opinions..

I would not put 12 receptacles on any circuit - 6-8 max. Receptacles should always be on a 20A circuit. With all the crap we have plugged in today, it's worth it. I believe CEC requires T-slot receptacles on 20A circuits though, so just be sure.

Even though there is nothing in the Code that prohibits it, for safety reasons one should never mix lighting and receptacles on the same circuit - If you plug something in that overloads/shorts and trips the breaker, you don't want it to leave you in the dark.

Smoke detectors should ALWAYS be on a dedicated circuit. I know there are a few people that disagree with this because it 'makes it too easy to disable them', but that is a silly argument. Flipping the breaker has no effect on the battery backed alarms that are required now - they will run for months with no AC power and will still chirp when the battery gets low. Most of them have hush buttons for false alarms, so there would be no reason to flip the breaker anyway. I'm not sure of CEC's position on smoke alarms, but if you can not dedicate a circuit, use a lighting circuit (one that has no fluorescents on it). DO NOT power them off a receptacle circuit. For the obvious reason of it being a lot easier to trip the breaker, but also because some of the things you plug in can interfere with them electrically and cause them to false.
Old 05-01-11, 02:48 PM
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I agree with Matt except with the 20 amp circuits. I rather run more 15 amp circuits and #14 wire then fight #12 everywhere. 8 duplex receptacles on a 15 amp circuit is plenty good IMO.

I like to run the smokes of a frequently used lighting circuit. That way if something happens to that circuit you will know right away.

Last edited by Tolyn Ironhand; 05-01-11 at 08:42 PM.
Old 05-01-11, 06:41 PM
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Meh, that's pretty subjective.. IMO #12 isn't really that much more difficult to work with, especially in new work.. But that's just me, I think a little extra effort is worth the extra capacity on the circuit.

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