Light switch question on a 20 amp circuit.

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Old 06-27-12, 10:30 AM
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Light switch question on a 20 amp circuit.

All of our circuits are 20 amps (that's what the breakers are rated at) and all wiring is 12awg. Our receptacles are all 20 amp tamper resistant. The light switches are 15 amp switches.

We have a 2 story 7 year old house, one breaker controls the kitchen lights, living room lights and I believe one hallway (all on the first floor). The kitchen lights are controlled by two light switches, as is the living room and hallway.

I want to replace the regular flip light switches with the decora rocker style switches. The only one that I can find that I like is rated for 15 amps; I don't have any receptacles running on this circuit, just light switches.

Is it OK to use 15 amp switches on a 20 amp circuit?
 
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Old 06-27-12, 11:43 AM
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As long as the load is less than 15 amps you can use the 15 amp switches. I can't think of any place in the house where you would be switching more than 15 amps worth of lighting.
 
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Old 06-27-12, 11:51 AM
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Is it OK to use 15 amp switches on a 20 amp circuit?

All of our circuits are 20 amps (that's what the breakers are rated at) and all wiring is 12awg. The [existing] light switches are 15 amp switches.
It would be rare for you to have more than 15 amps (1800 Watts) of lighting controlled by one switch, or one pair of switches. So, so far as I know, that's OK. Others here may differ.

That said, Leviton, the trademark holder on Decora, makes a lot of different 20A rocker switches.
 
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Old 06-27-12, 11:54 AM
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Our receptacles are all 20 amp tamper resistant.
Actually they could probably all be 15 amps. So long as there are at least two places to plug in on a branch circuit (example: duplex receptacle) and you don't have some really weird appliance to plug in there is no need for a 20 amp receptacle. Note pass through for 15 amp receptacles is still almost always rated 20 amps.
 
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Old 06-27-12, 12:03 PM
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I did actually find that Leviton has 20 amp rocker switches after searching a bit but it's good to know that running 15 amps switches would be fine as well. All lighting uses much less that 1800 watts thanks to CFL and soon to be LED lighting.

Ray2047- They are actually 20 amp receptacles (T prong type) by Leviton. These are the exact model: 20-Amp White Tamper Resistant Duplex Outlet-R52-T5820-0WS at The Home Depot
 
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Old 06-27-12, 12:07 PM
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I'm sure they are - I think Ray was pointing out that it would be fine to have 15 amp receptacles just as a side note to the idea you could have 15 amp switches.
 
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Old 06-27-12, 01:12 PM
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I think Ray was pointing out that it would be fine to have 15 amp receptacles just as a side note to the idea you could have 15 amp switches.
Correct. No reason to spend extra for 20a receptacles when the same grade 15a are probably a bit cheaper.
 
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Old 06-27-12, 01:33 PM
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And the OP probably doesn't have one T-slot cord cap in the whole house.
 
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Old 06-27-12, 01:35 PM
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All lighting uses much less that 1800 watts thanks to CFL and soon to be LED lighting.
Lighting loads are calculated on the basis of the rating of the fixtures, not on the lamps installed. Someone could always install the larger lamps in the future.

Twelve recessed cans that can each take a 150W lamp make an 1800W - or 15A - load.

I just realized that that is also an example of why residential light loads are rarely greater than 15A on any given switch circuit.
 
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