20 AMP circuits

Did a home today that had all of the circuit wiring for lights and outlets done with 20 amp breakers and 12 gauge wire. All of the outlets and switches however were rated for 15 amp circuits. What kind of problems can come from this?

If you have 15 amp recep’s on a 20 amp breaker call it out.

It is correct to have 20 amp circuits in the kitchen and dinning room.

I did call it out. I was wondering if not corrected what problems could arise from having 15 amp rated outlets & switches on 20 amp rated wire & breaker in bedrooms, living room, dining room etc…

15 amp receptacles and switches are used all the time on 20 amp circuits…it’s perfectly legal. In fact, it is very rare to ever see a 20 amp receptacle or switch in a residence even though there are many 20 amp circuits. The only time it would be a violation is when there is a single 15 amp receptacle on a 20 amp circuit, only one place to plug in. A duplex receptacle would be allowed.
I don’t believe it would be wise to call this out on your report, it is niether a hazard nor a violation.

Thanks Brain. Why would it be ok if it is a duplex and not if it is a single?

15 amp recp.s are not allowed on 20 amp circuits.

You have ‘outlets’ that are rated 15/20 amp thats OK.

I’m with Todd, Peter, and Mike on this one.

If one has more electricity coming in than what the device is rated for, one can melt/burn up the device. In this case, that 19th amp can melt/burn up those 15-amp switches and outlets, ergo a fire hazard. In earlier history I might have called it a remote fire hazard, but in today’s world where everyone seems to gather in the same room with all the lights on, stereo on, television on, computer on, GameBoy on, etc., etc., etc., I think it’s not such a remote hazard anymore.

Brian is correct. I’m sure that Jeff or Paul will be able to cite to the applicable code provision. I know that the board is a place to learn, but I find it very disconcerting that more than a few of the issues that arise, such as the one in this thread, relate to issues that no inspector, let alone one who purports to be certified, has an excuse not to be aware of. If I were a seller and someone called out as a defect 15A duplex receptacles on a 20A circuit, I’d be mighty po’d.

Please explain… Are you saying that since I purport (claim to be) certified I should know the answear to this question and have no excuse not to ???

Folks you can’t plug equipment requiring a 20 amp circuit into a 15 amp recep, the plug won’t fit. Besides that, I have never seen any household equipment with a 20 amp cord cap, has anyone? Also, the 15 amp recepts are rated for 20 amp feed thru. Check out the over the range microwave next time you see one, it will be plugged into a 15 amp duplex. The microwave only draws 13-14 amps, if it drew over 15 it would be required to come with a 20 amp cord cap.

Russ go look in yout kitchen, I’ll bet you don’t have any 20 amp receptacles in there even though your kitchen circuits are 20 amps. Look at Paul’s post in the “circuit tester question” thread where he shows the configuration for a 20 amp 120V receptacle.

And, if you plug in two devices that each pull 13 amps the 20 amp breaker will eventually trip. 15 amp receptacles are perfectly ok on 20 amp circuits.

Even with 20 amp receptacles someone can plug in several space heaters and overload the circuit, this is why the important thing is to have the wire match the breaker size.

Can’t do it.

I had my house redone back in 2003 when the Zinsco panel gave out on me. All the circuits were upgraded to a minimum 20-Amp (the kitchen, baths, and bedrooms used to be 15-Amp, the outlets were upgraded to 20-Amp, and I had GFCI’s installed in the kitchen, baths, and garage.

I would not want a 20-amp circuit “protecting” 15-amp outlets because then there is no protection. If the outlets are rated for 15-amps, then that means that the manufacturer doesn’t want 16-amps or more going into them. I find that quite simple and understandable.

As my logic teacher taught me, to determine if something is right or wrong, take it to its extreme. So take this to its extreme: Would you want 200 amps coming into a 15-amp outlet? No (at least, I hope not). 200 amps is more than 15 amps, as is 20 amps. Both are wrong.

I don’t mind having a 15-amp circuit protecting a 20-amp outlet, but why spend the additional money on the 20-amp outlets then?

Would one accept a 40-amp circuit “protecting” a 35-amp cooling condenser? I hope not.

If the outlets are 15/20-amp outlets, then it would be okay in my house. Otherwise, no.

Brian has it right. The rest of you need to read the NEC code carefully. :wink:

Per NEC (2005) Table 210.21(B)(3)

15A duplex receptacles are permitted on a 20A circuit.

Exception (1) A single receptacle installed on an individual branch shall have an ampere rating NOT LESS than that of the branch circuit.

The code is simply a minimum, and it is not always right, which is why they revise codes every two or three years. I’ll stick with Mr. Spock’s logic on this one.

Okay, I’m diving in here trying to learn something.

There are two different perspectives here right?

Isn’t it true that the 20A circuit can handle up to the 20A, therefore why would it be wrong to have a 15A receptacle?

You want the circuit to be the same as or HIGHER than the receptacle correct. Just not lower?

So there isn’t anything wrong with the situation. Is that correct?

Well, to be perfectly honest, in my view, yes. This isn’t a question of the subtleties of box fill requirements or some other arcane issue. Others may disagree but to my mind, this topic is more along of lines of whether it’s acceptable to have more than one grounded conductor on a bus in a panel or to have 3-prong receptacles in the absence of a grounding conductor on a non-GFCI protected circuit. I did not mean to offend.

You never cease to amaze me Russ.

I have been told many, many times that, yes, I am an amazing individual.

I did note that you conveniently only quoted what you wanted to quote. Reminds me of religious political extremist fanatic Bible thumpers. :wink:

Non sequitur (absurdism), a comment which is humorously absurd or has no relation to the comment it follows

This does not compute. This does not compute.Error, Error, Error, fizzzzzz…

The codes get revised based on changed circumstances and not Russ’s opinion.