15amp VS 20amp outlets and GFCI

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  #1  
Old 12-14-13, 05:30 PM
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15amp VS 20amp outlets and GFCI

Couple questions here:

As I continue to change outlets out in my house, I'm taking inventory to budget out all of the outlets I need. I have 100 amp service to my house. In looking at my breaker, I see mostly 15 amp circuits and a few 20 amp. If I take out a 20 amp outlet, can I install a 15 amp outlet in place of it or is that a big no for safety and code (I'm in Wisconsin if that helps, in a suburb of Milwaukee)?

Also for GFCI's, my understanding is if you do not have a grounding wire (which I assume I do not in my kitchen, that YOU CAN still install them as not grounded, it is just that you have to put the sticker on the outlet that comes with that says "not grounded"

Also today I checked out an outlet in my kitchen. It was one of the only 3 prongs that I have installed in my house. I was curious to see what is behind it, and to my suprise it did have a grounding wire. What was different was the other two wires were inserted into a tiny hole in the back instead of using the screws. If I run into this in other rooms, is there a trick to releasing those wires or do I need to cut them and strip them to put into a new outlet?
 
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Old 12-14-13, 05:35 PM
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As long as there is more than one place to plug into on the 20 amp circuit you can use the 15 amp slot receptacles.

Correct about the GFI's.

There should be a release slot you can insert a small screwdriver or a finish nail into to release the wire from the clamp.
 
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Old 12-14-13, 05:54 PM
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Thank you for the fast response.



"As long as there is more than one place to plug into on the 20 amp circuit you can use the 15 amp slot receptacles."

I am not sure I understand this response, can you elaborate please?


"There should be a release slot you can insert a small screwdriver or a finish nail into to release the wire from the clamp."

When I do change this outlet out, and I release the wires, do I have to put the wires on the new outlet in the back or can I use the screws on the side?
 
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Old 12-14-13, 06:03 PM
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The screws are preferable.

A common receptacle in your house is two places to plug into a circuit. If you only had half of that you would need to use a 20 amp device on a 20 amp circuit.
 
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Old 12-15-13, 05:34 AM
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Fifteen amp receptacles can be used on a 20 amp circuit provided that there are at least two receptacles (one duplex or two singles) of any description counting receptacles both upstream and downstream of a GFCI unit on that branch circuit.

Each half of a multiwire branch circuit (two hots sharing a neutral) is treated as a separate branch circuit for this calculation..

Note: If the two halves of a duplex receptacle have the tab in between the screws snapped off and are fed by different hot wires, then they count as one each for the respective circuits they are fed by.

If, after you remove the wire end from the hole in back of the receptacle, you find the wire is nicked, it is suggested you snip off the end at the nick and uncover more wire end to make the screw connection with. Holes in back where the wire is actually prevented from rotating or twisting by a small internal clamp with a screw just outside are just as safe to use as screw teminals. Double check the clamp screw for tightness but do not use tremendous force.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 12-15-13 at 07:09 AM.
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Old 12-15-13, 06:11 AM
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There should be a release slot you can insert a small screwdriver or a finish nail into to release the wire from the clamp.
Im curious, why even mess with this? Just snip with your sidecutters and make new connections on the screws or backwired clamps.

I usually just cut them off the screws as well.... I figure the wire is going to be compressed and nicked anyway. Starting with fresh copper seems better to me.
 
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Old 12-15-13, 07:04 AM
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Im curious, why even mess with this? Just snip with your sidecutters and make new connections on the screws or backwired clamps.

I usually just cut them off the screws as well.... I figure the wire is going to be compressed and nicked anyway. Starting with fresh copper seems better to me.
That's fine if you have plenty of wire length, but many times you won't especially in older homes. In a newer home, I have found the first sign of an inexperienced DIYer is wires that are barely long enough to connect to the device.
 
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Old 12-15-13, 07:56 AM
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Also for GFCI's, my understanding is if you do not have a grounding wire (which I assume I do not in my kitchen, that YOU CAN still install them as not grounded, it is just that you have to put the sticker on the outlet that comes with that says "not grounded"
Are you sure your not mechanically grounded thru your metal box and conduit if that is what you have?

Do you have appliances that are requiring a 20A outlet?



That's fine if you have plenty of wire length, but many times you won't especially in older homes. In a newer home, I have found the first sign of an inexperienced DIYer is wires that are barely long enough to connect to the device.
I agree. Ive come up short many times (not because of me stripping another 3/4" though).

If the original poster finds himself with much less than the ideal 6".... whats the proper way to extend the wire or get it on the device short of pulling a new wire?

I thought about those "wallnuts" when a wirenut wont work but I am afraid to put a large load thru them.
 
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Old 12-15-13, 01:46 PM
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whats the proper way to extend the wire or get it on the device short of pulling a new wire?
Pigtail each wire with a short piece of the same size and color.
 
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Old 12-15-13, 02:45 PM
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Pigtail each wire with a short piece of the same size and color.
Of course... but what about when they are too short to make a wirenut connection?
 
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Old 12-15-13, 02:53 PM
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That is the perfect time for the push-in connectors.
 
  #12  
Old 12-15-13, 05:21 PM
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"Are you sure your not mechanically grounded thru your metal box and conduit if that is what you have?

Do you have appliances that are requiring a 20A outlet?"

I do not believe I have any appliances requiring 20A outlet, that the GFI's will use. My refrigerator and microwave outlets will not be changed. These are two or three outlets near my counter that will have a toaster, blender, mixer, and a small TV.

As for mechanically grounded thru the metal box, if I buy a self grounding GFI I guess so, but from what the pros responded in a previous post of mine, I do not believe it still would truly be grounded.
 
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Old 12-15-13, 07:00 PM
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The self grounding receptacles will do nothing if the wiring method does not provide a ground. They will still be ungrounded.
 
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