Why would there be a 15A outlet in a 20A line?


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Old 01-23-12, 04:08 PM
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Why would there be a 15A outlet in a 20A line?

Getting ready to replace some outlets in my kitchen to something a little more decorative and looked at the ratings for the existing outlets and GFCI's.

I also looked at the breaker panels rating as well, it is rated at 20A.

The GFCI's are rated at 20A.

The other normal (non-gfci) outlets are rated at 15A. This seems to be incorrect, but it is what the builder did.

The normal (non-gfci) outlets seem to be under rated. Should they also be 20A? I always thought everything in the same line needed to be rated the same. Is there any harm to keep them at 15A as they are now and always have been, or should I bump them up to 20A?

Thanks.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 04:20 PM
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15A receptacles are legal on a 20A circuit as long as there are 2. When you replace them, just be sure to use ones marked ''SPEC GRADE''. They have better retention, and will last longer.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 04:41 PM
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There is no issue with your setup and is allowed by the code. If there was only one place to insert a plug on the circuit you would need a 20 amp receptacle. A standard receptacle is called a duplex and counts as two places.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 05:23 PM
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Thanks for the replies, guess it doesnt make much sense to me since in theory (flawed?) I can plug into the circuit an applicance that draws 20A and everything on the circuit would be fine except the outlet that is rated at 15A. Wouldn;t the 15A outlet fail. fry, etc?

Still, would there be any harm with all 20A rated outlets?

Thanks for your explanation.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 05:32 PM
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The only difference between the two devices is the shape of the slots. The 15 amp device is rated for 20 amp feed-thru.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 05:38 PM
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IF your appliance would draw 20 amps, it would have a 20 amp cord cap (plug) which would require the 20 amp outlet. It would not fit in a 15 amp device.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 06:00 PM
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So based on what I am hearing, I really have a 15A line... since the outlets can never have anything other than a 15A appliance plugged in. Still a bit confused, but guess I'll just replace with what is there...

Wierd that my GFCI is rated at 20A but does not have a T slot for one prong. Is it really a 15A outlet?
 
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Old 01-23-12, 06:09 PM
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It can only accept 15 amp cord ends unless it has the T slot. It can provide for a 20 amp load downstream of it.

Don't forget that several devices can add up to the 20 amps of usage but only have 15 amp cords.
 
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Old 01-23-12, 07:31 PM
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I can plug into the circuit an applicance that draws 20A and everything on the circuit would be fine except the outlet that is rated at 15A.
I cannot think of a single home kitchen appliance that requires 20 amps or has a 20 amp plug on the cord and bet you don't own any either. You could, however, maybe have an air compressor or table saw that might have a 20 amp plug, but those typically would not be plugged into a kitchen receptacle. You'll have no problem with 15 amp devices on a 20 amp circuit.
 
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Old 01-24-12, 11:27 AM
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I went to the local store to buy my colored outlets, switches, etc. All they had were 15A in the color I wanted.

I should be OK replacing the 20A GFCI to a 15AGFCI, can someone confirm this for me? I will have all 15A devices on a 20A line. Seems to me not to be a problem, but some confirmation would make me feel better.

I should note that I am dealing with 2 circuits. One circuit only has the GFCI outlet. The other has a GFCI and 2 outlets.

Thanks for all the help.
 

Last edited by Steve123; 01-24-12 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 01-24-12, 12:14 PM
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Yes, a 15a GFCI is fine. It is still rated 20a pass through.
 
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Old 01-24-12, 12:33 PM
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So am I to understand that my existing GFCI is rated at 20A and does not have a T slot, that rating is a pass through rating?

Is this a different rating than the "regular" rating? Is there something else I should be looking for as far as ratings go? 15A with a 20A pass through or something similar?

fyi... this is the outlet I am looking at: ASPIRE Tamper Resistant GFCIs - 9566TR, 9569TR

thanks again.
 
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Old 01-24-12, 01:20 PM
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No T-slot it is 15a with 20 pass through. From what I have read the actual hardware inside is the same only the top cover is different. One cover has a T-slot and one doesn't.
 
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Old 01-24-12, 01:26 PM
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Yes, that makes sense....

Buy why is my GFCI rated 20A without a T-slot. Maybe I need to look a little closer as the 20A rating may be a pass thru rating.
 
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Old 01-24-12, 04:12 PM
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Buy why is my GFCI rated 20A without a T-slot. Maybe I need to look a little closer as the 20A rating may be a pass thru rating.
The contacts inside it are rated to interrupt current at 20A. If they weren't and the GFCI tripped, they'd blow apart.

From what I have read the actual hardware inside is the same only the top cover is different. One cover has a T-slot and one doesn't.
No, Ray. The insides are totally different. The 15A ones use a contact that will only accept a 15A blade, while a 20A one uses a beefed-up 15A blade for the hot, with a t-shaped contact for the neutral.
 
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Old 01-24-12, 04:48 PM
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The insides can be the same. The face can be the only difference.

Check this link, especially the pic on page 3.

15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuit ? - Page 2
 

Last edited by pcboss; 01-24-12 at 05:00 PM. Reason: added link
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Old 01-25-12, 12:39 PM
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Hi All,

I did take a close look at the GFCI and it did say 20A pass through and was rated at 15A.

So my set up is to use the GFCI with 2 15A outlets on one circuit. The other circuit will have 1 GFCI alone. Each circiut rated at 20A.

Even though I cannot find anywhere on the standard outlets that it is 20A pass through, It appears to me this setup will be ok and safe.

Let me know if something doesnt sound right. Thanks again for all the help.

Steve
 
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Old 01-25-12, 07:13 PM
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Sounds fine. Let us know how it turns out.
 
 

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