Replacing 15 amp receptacles with 20


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Old 07-10-14, 01:55 PM
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Replacing 15 amp receptacles with 20

NEW QUESTION. I've been having some issues with 15 amp sockets failing in my house, these were all new about 10 years ago, but over the last 5 years I've been having to replace outlets that just went dead, wire is fine outlet is not, no noise no nothing before they go bad, this is bizarre since I've had outlets in houses that were 30 years old and they never went bad. So I decided after looking at outlets and seeing they're made in China and thus probably crap to try a 20 amp outlet and see what happens because they seem a bit more robust in construction.

If I'm not plugging anything into that I wouldn't normally plug into a 15 amp outlet, or overloading it with dozens of extension outlets all plugged into one outlet, and I'm not changing the circuit breaker to a higher amp capability then what harm is there doing that if the circuit breaker will pop should I by chance exceed it's capability?

I also replaced a switch for a garbage disposer with a 20 amp because that original 15 amp switch went bad, and so far no problems for the last 3 years.

I read all the above stuff on this thread but I just don't see how it's a problem doing what I'm doing, but I'm tired of replacing outlets because cheap made in China 15 amp ones are just quitting. I talked to a friend of mine who is a electrician and he saw no problem doing what I'm doing either and that outlets are not made as well as they use to be made and so they will fail from time to time but a 20 amp should last longer. So why all the negatives on this?
 
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Old 07-10-14, 02:05 PM
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Welcome to the forums, froze.

I moved your question into its own thread, you'll get a lot more visibility that way than tacked on to the end of a four year old thread.
 
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Old 07-10-14, 02:13 PM
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IF any of the receptacles are on 15 ampere circuits it is a code violation to install 20 ampere receptacles. Rather I would suggest using "specification grade" receptacles.

Most likely the original receptacles were the lowest cost option available when the house was built. Were these original receptacles connected by push-in connections or by the screws, if screws were even an option. In my house the receptacles did not have screws but only push-in connections and I have replaced them.
 
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Old 07-10-14, 02:40 PM
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Same guts in a 15 amp and 20 amp receptacle. Only the slots in the face are different. As Furd wrote just try a better grade.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 07-10-14 at 06:22 PM.
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Old 07-10-14, 03:45 PM
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I talked to a friend of mine who is a electrician and he saw no problem doing what I'm doing either
Your friend doesn't sound like a very good electrician if he is encouraging you to violate the National Electric Code.
 
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Old 07-10-14, 05:56 PM
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It truly is amazing..... you buy receptacles from .49 each up to $4-$5 each.
You definitely want to buy spec grade devices like Furd mentioned.
 
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Old 07-10-14, 07:39 PM
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I would say that installing spec grade in a house is way overkill and a waste of money. Commercial grade should be enough and several dollars cheaper.

When I was in my first house even the cheapest receptacles lasted 15 years.
 
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Old 07-10-14, 08:03 PM
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When I was in my first house even the cheapest receptacles lasted 15 years.
Those days are long gone. Even some commercial grade devices are lacking.
 
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Old 07-10-14, 08:29 PM
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Your friend doesn't sound like a very good electrician if he is encouraging you to violate the National Electric Code.
It isn't a code violation if the receptacle circuits are 20 amp and I don't think the OP mentioned the rating of his receptacle circuits. That being said, I have never had a problem using residential grade 15 amp devices, but I have found a lot of them over the years with loose stabbed connections and loose connections at the screw terminals. The connections are probably your problem with the receptacles. I have seen a few 15 amp residential switches fail, but even that is rare and no big deal.
 
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Old 07-10-14, 11:35 PM
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Same guts in a 15 amp and 20 amp receptacle. Only the slots in the face are different. As Furd wrote just try a better grade.
That's not true, for the Hubbell ones I use anyway.

As long as you have a 20A breaker and wiring capable of 20A, there is nothing wrong with using 20A receptacles.
 
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Old 07-11-14, 04:44 AM
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Perhaps I misread it but I think he was referring to putting 20A outlets on a 15A circuit....

ie:
If I'm not plugging anything into that I wouldn't normally plug into a 15 amp outlet, or overloading it with dozens of extension outlets all plugged into one outlet, and I'm not changing the circuit breaker to a higher amp capability then what harm is there doing that if the circuit breaker will pop should I by chance exceed it's capability?
And why are we even discussing this? Pony up for the 2 dollar outlets and call it a day.
 
 

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