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Thread: Number of recepts on a 20A branch circuit

  1. #61
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    Number of receptacles on 20 amp branch circuit

    Hi, I am new to posting on the forum, but browse it frequently. One thing I didn't see anyone mention in the first couple of pages is that the code book is not a design manual. It is for minimum acceptable standards to protect property and safeguard life. Sorry, I don't have my code book with me at the moment... , so that is paraphrasing. That being said, the only limit to the number of receptacles on a 20 amp branch circuit, in a house for example, is common sense!
    As other members stated earlier, the 180 va/receptacle is for load calculation purposes only.
    It was common practice once upon a time to have one gfci protected circuit feed all outside receptacles as well as bathroom receptacles, garage, basement...
    Was that practical for a well designed electrical system? No, not even close; however, it was perfectly legal. How many times did those circuits trip because there were 2 hairdryers going at the same time?
    We cannot control what Clark Griswald plugs in to his receptacles, but we can apply some common sense when we lay-out our electrical circuits and try to keep him from burning down his house

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adamjamma View Post
    but what about a case such as supplying a fridge, that is wired by manufacturer for a 15 amp outlet... because it is a dedicated circuit in the kitchen you are running it on a 20 amp breaker. but, it only needs the 15 amp outlet, and only needs a single as well, no duplex needed. But, because you cannot run the 15 amp single outlet on the 20 amp dedicated circuit you now are required to run the duplex outlet.
    Wasn't this changed for the 2017 NEC?
    Moderator-Washington State
    Ancora Imparo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adamjamma View Post
    but what about a case such as supplying a fridge, that is wired by manufacturer for a 15 amp outlet... because it is a dedicated circuit in the kitchen you are running it on a 20 amp breaker. but, it only needs the 15 amp outlet, and only needs a single as well, no duplex needed. But, because you cannot run the 15 amp single outlet on the 20 amp dedicated circuit you now are required to run the duplex outlet.
    Quote Originally Posted by tom baker View Post
    Wasn't this changed for the 2017 NEC?
    The 2017 changed the exception from allowing a 15 amp individual branch circuit for the fridge to allowing a 15 amp individual branch circuit for a specific appliance.

    Adam, I think you misinterpreted this section. The exception allowed a 15 amp circuit, so you didn't need to use a 20 amp breaker. I will open a new thread to discuss this issue separately.
    Charles E. Beck, P.E., Seattle
    Comments based on 2017 NEC unless otherwise noted.

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    Or was it different in the 2011, which is the handbook I have so I use it more and sometimes forget to flip over to the 2017..., may be possible.
    So, does this mean that we are now allowed to run a fifteen amp dedicated circuit to a microwave, or freezer, if they are on 15 amp plugs, which they usually are, and no longer needthe 20 amp dedicated circuits in pantry and kitchen areas, but only for the small appliance circuits?
    Student of electrical codes. Please Take others advice first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Land View Post
    Hi, I am new to posting on the forum, but browse it frequently. One thing I didn't see anyone mention in the first couple of pages is that the code book is not a design manual. It is for minimum acceptable standards to protect property and safeguard life. Sorry, I don't have my code book with me at the moment... , so that is paraphrasing. That being said, the only limit to the number of receptacles on a 20 amp branch circuit, in a house for example, is common sense!
    As other members stated earlier, the 180 va/receptacle is for load calculation purposes only.
    It was common practice once upon a time to have one gfci protected circuit feed all outside receptacles as well as bathroom receptacles, garage, basement...
    Was that practical for a well designed electrical system? No, not even close; however, it was perfectly legal. How many times did those circuits trip because there were 2 hairdryers going at the same time?
    We cannot control what Clark Griswald plugs in to his receptacles, but we can apply some common sense when we lay-out our electrical circuits and try to keep him from burning down his house
    2014, 90.1(A) says:

    The purpose of this Code is the practical safeguarding of persons and property from hazards arising from the use of electricity. This Code is not intended as a design specification or an instruction manual for untrained persons.

    For years NEC has kind of stepped on it's own feet by claiming it isn't intended as a design specification yet often continues to tell us how we are going to do things throughout the content. IMO unless a code requirement can be justified by a potential safety hazard to life or property or even more common in recent years is a requirement geared toward the ignorance of the unqualified, then it ultimately is a design specification.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adamjamma View Post
    Or was it different in the 2011, which is the handbook I have so I use it more and sometimes forget to flip over to the 2017..., may be possible.
    So, does this mean that we are now allowed to run a fifteen amp dedicated circuit to a microwave, or freezer, if they are on 15 amp plugs, which they usually are, and no longer needthe 20 amp dedicated circuits in pantry and kitchen areas, but only for the small appliance circuits?
    '17 did not change the basic requirements for the two or more small appliance branch circuits in that you still need them for receptacle outlets in then kitchen, dining breakfast, etc.
    It simply expanded the "individual" circuit for a refrigerator to include other "specific appliances".
    At my age, I'm accustomed to restaurants asking me to pay in advance, but now my bank has started sending me their calendar one month at a time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adamjamma View Post
    Or was it different in the 2011, which is the handbook I have so I use it more and sometimes forget to flip over to the 2017..., may be possible.
    So, does this mean that we are now allowed to run a fifteen amp dedicated circuit to a microwave, or freezer, if they are on 15 amp plugs, which they usually are, and no longer needthe 20 amp dedicated circuits in pantry and kitchen areas, but only for the small appliance circuits?
    SABC's still need to supply the 210.52 required receptacles in those areas. If a receptacle serves a countertop it is a general use circuit and not an individual circuit. If it is an individual outlet and intended to serve an individual utilization equipment then it is not a general use outlet and 210.52 doesn't apply to that particular outlet, you may still need additional outlet(s) to comply with 210.52. Have not checked out exactly what change in 2017 is, but before 2017, SABC's were to include refrigeration equipment, with the exception to use 15 amp for an individual outlet circuit supplying refrigeration equipment. An individual circuit to a fixed or dedicated location for something like a microwave was also permitted, and actually is not part of the SABC requirements, but a free standing microwave sitting on a typical countertop did not create a dedicated outlet situation, and the outlet was considered to be serving the countertop, nothing against code to run an individual circuit to that location, but it is an additional SABC if you do so.
    I live for today, I'm just a day behind.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Land View Post
    Hi, I am new to posting on the forum, but browse it frequently. One thing I didn't see anyone mention in the first couple of pages is that the code book is not a design manual. It is for minimum acceptable standards to protect property and safeguard life. Sorry, I don't have my code book with me at the moment... , so that is paraphrasing. That being said, the only limit to the number of receptacles on a 20 amp branch circuit, in a house for example, is common sense!
    As other members stated earlier, the 180 va/receptacle is for load calculation purposes only.
    It was common practice once upon a time to have one gfci protected circuit feed all outside receptacles as well as bathroom receptacles, garage, basement...
    Was that practical for a well designed electrical system? No, not even close; however, it was perfectly legal. How many times did those circuits trip because there were 2 hairdryers going at the same time?
    We cannot control what Clark Griswald plugs in to his receptacles, but we can apply some common sense when we lay-out our electrical circuits and try to keep him from burning down his house
    In commercial, such as factories or in offices, one does not have requirements concerning wall space as much as one has the limit of how many outlet spots per breaker... because in commercial places the outlets go where work is to be done, normally. So you will hit the limits in amperage on a circuit more often.

    But, in a home one can have 6 outlets around a room, by using the code spacings, yet only two of them actually get used... sometimes even overloaded in a way. Yet, often times, the 200 amp service in a home rarely exceeds 60 amps of actual usage. Compared to a factory hitting 170 amps per 200 amp panel.

    Now, given that, I myself usually use a limit of ten to twelve outlets on any breaker. I am trying to wait for the NEC exemptions list to come out because the country I do work in is adopting the NEC and I personally hope they change the current small appliance circuits from the current 3 outlets per circuit to at least the old Canadian limit of 5 per circuit. But I use what I am given. Yet, I am still learning, or trying to learn at least.
    So, I myself ask the questions that seem very dumb, but at least we both are asking the same thing...
    However, at least in residential, the UK and the USA agree in one thing.. there is no limit in outlets on a radial.
    Student of electrical codes. Please Take others advice first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kwired View Post
    SABC's still need to supply the 210.52 required receptacles in those areas. If a receptacle serves a countertop it is a general use circuit and not an individual circuit. If it is an individual outlet and intended to serve an individual utilization equipment then it is not a general use outlet and 210.52 doesn't apply to that particular outlet, you may still need additional outlet(s) to comply with 210.52. Have not checked out exactly what change in 2017 is, but before 2017, SABC's were to include refrigeration equipment, with the exception to use 15 amp for an individual outlet circuit supplying refrigeration equipment. An individual circuit to a fixed or dedicated location for something like a microwave was also permitted, and actually is not part of the SABC requirements, but a free standing microwave sitting on a typical countertop did not create a dedicated outlet situation, and the outlet was considered to be serving the countertop, nothing against code to run an individual circuit to that location, but it is an additional SABC if you do so.
    Actually the last sentence is where I argue a change needs made. If it is a dedicated circuit for an appliance such as a Microwave or a dishwasher, then I would like to see two things: one, that it not be called an SABC. Two, that it be allowed to have a AFCI/GFCI outlet before the actual dedicated circuit outlet, as long as that outlet has a label showing it as a dedicated position... for the safety factors of the afci/gfci, in so far as one cannot find the deadfront afci/gfci in certain places, an outlet is more affordable. I used to have bno problem with inspectors when I used a switch/outlet above a counter to control the dishwasher or the garbage disposal under the counter but suddenly there are problems.
    However, that is my own look at things, my own code look. Many say I am wrong here.
    Student of electrical codes. Please Take others advice first.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Adamjamma View Post
    ...outlet has a label...
    You just want heads to explode, don't you?

    Heck, I'm surprised outlets are not required to be labeled with ckt ID. That's like something the NEC could actually do to make things "safer."

    But then Maggie Homeowner would have to see labels...

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