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Thread: 20A recep on 15A circuit?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    20A recep on 15A circuit?

    Title says it all. Was this legal in previous codes
    i have a electrical inspector (selling the house)telling me I cant have that now
    I put them in years ago and it makes no sense why this
    would be a problem now or in the past
    technically the breaker protects the wire and the recep not the
    load and a 15 breaker especially new gfci/afci
    ones will trip ling before any problems would arose if
    someone even plugged in a dedicated 20amp liad
    To even find something these days outside of industrial and heavy
    commercial use items that have a cord and plug with dedicated 20
    configuration is almost impossible
    Do I really have to change them???

  2. #2
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    If the 20A receptacle is not a stand-alone and is part of a multi-receptacle branch circuit, then it is allowed.
    If it's a single receptacle then it has to be on a 20A breaker and the correct size wire, or the breaker would have to be changed to a 15A if the wire is only sized for 15A.

    Welcome to the forum!
    If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time!

  3. #3
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    Thanks.

    Hey thanks. Even though it still makes no sense to me
    that a single 20amp recep cant be on a 15 amp circuit
    mine are all part of a multi outlet system
    its an old 1959 house with 2 wire ragwire so I grabbed the circuit at its first
    recep and changed it to a 20amp gfci and changed all the downstream to 20 amp
    new receps. Actually they are mostly hospital grade
    and tamper resistant
    i had a project that over ordered receps and back then i
    was a 4th year apprentice so i asked if i could have the
    extras. They sat at the shop for 3 months and then were
    given to me. I asked the question i asked you and i was told
    ya no problem as long as its over rated not underrated
    I mean you dont have a violation for putting #6
    on a 40amp breaker even though the wire could
    somehow some way maybe get 55amps drawn on it
    Thats why I always question an inspectors reasoning
    and judgement and the people writting the code or
    making the juristitional rules
    Thanks again man
    PS
    I had seen that the code now allows the same thing backwards
    with 15amp receps on a 20amp circuit unless its a single
    outlet

  4. #4
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    A single 20 amp receptacle is permitted on a 15 amp circuit. A 20 duplex is not.
    Rob

    Moderator

    All responses based on the 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Little Bill View Post
    If the 20A receptacle is not a stand-alone and is part of a multi-receptacle branch circuit, then it is allowed.
    If it's a single receptacle then it has to be on a 20A breaker and the correct size wire, or the breaker would have to be changed to a 15A if the wire is only sized for 15A.
    Isnt that the other way around? One single (simplex) 20A receptacle is allowed on a 15A breaker, but a duplex or multiple receptacles must be 15A.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    JNOE, welcome to the forum. If the wiring is all #14, then changing out the 20A receptacles to 15A is the only choice. If it's #12, you could upsize the breakers to 20A and be compliant. You dont need spec/hospital grade GFCI receptacles, and if you buy 3-packs or contractor packs of TR GFCI receptacles the price goes down to around the $11 ea mark. All of the regular receptacles will need the "GFCI Protected - No Equipment Ground" stickers as well (if on the load side of the GFCI).


    "I mean you dont have a violation for putting #6 on a 40amp breaker even though the wire could somehow some way maybe get 55amps drawn on it"

    Barring some massive derating for bundling/conduit fill or high ambient temperatures, there is nothing unsafe about using #6 on a 40A breaker. Most old 3 wire ranges have exactly that setup: 3 wire #6 AL SE cable to a 50A tombstone receptacle utilizing a 40A breaker.
    Last edited by JFletcher; 03-19-17 at 11:14 AM.
    Electricians do it until it Hertz!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFletcher View Post
    Isnt that the other way around? One single (simplex) 20A receptacle is allowed on a 15A breaker, but a duplex or multiple receptacles must be 15A.
    That's what I was thinking, too. It's kind of a strange rule.
    Cheers and Stay Safe,

    Marky the Sparky

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JFletcher View Post
    Isnt that the other way around? One single (simplex) 20A receptacle is allowed on a 15A breaker, but a duplex or multiple receptacles must be 15A.
    Yes, and this addresses the issue of a 40 amp circuit (like a kitchen range) where only 50 amp single receptacles are manufactured.
    Rob

    Moderator

    All responses based on the 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted

  8. #8
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    I don't think NEC addresses this, if it is a violation it would have to be via 110.3(B) I would think.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    I don't think NEC addresses this, if it is a violation it would have to be via 110.3(B) I would think.
    Addresses what specifically? The larger single receptacle on a circuit less than its rating?
    Rob

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    All responses based on the 2014 NEC unless otherwise noted

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by infinity View Post
    Addresses what specifically? The larger single receptacle on a circuit less than its rating?
    yes. Go ahead and shoot me down with a code section now

    40 amp circuit/ 50 amp receptacle is one situation that has already been covered.

    Get over 50 amps and if anything the rules change a little. You don't necessarily find a receptacle rated for 150 amps to plug that 115 amp load into and may end up using a device rated for 200 amps but only have a 150 amp circuit.

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