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  1. #1
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    Default Correct outlet for existing circuits

    I need to replace existing outlets with GFCI outlets in my kitchen and bath. My question is on the type of outlet to purchase. The breakers are 20A and the cable has 12ga conductors (I think). Based on this I'm thinking that I need 20A rated outlets, but I'm having trouble finding them at the big box stores. So.....if I am correct about the wire gauge am I comitted to 20A outlets? Can I put a 15A outlet in this circuit.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Correct outlet for existing circuits

    The 12 ga wire is capable of carrying 20 amps ... that doesn't mean that it has to ... in other words you can use it for a 15 amp circuit ( protected by a 15 amp breaker).

    If you were to use a 15 amp GFCI then you should make sure that's the only thing on that circuit.


    Hope this helps.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Correct outlet for existing circuits

    Almost all GFCI outlets I have seen are 15 amp with 20 amp pass through This means they are 20 amp rated but only have the slots for 15 amp plugs.
    Jack
    Last edited by JLMCDANIEL; 01-22-2008 at 11:48 PM. Reason: Clearity
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Correct outlet for existing circuits

    “Last edited by JLMCDANIEL : Yesterday at 09:48 PM. Reason: Clearity”

    The clairity stands out, Jack.

    I don’t know how the code reads in Canukland but here in the states the NEC allows 15 or 20 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuits and as Jack pointed out the plug configuration allows for a 15 amp cord cap to be plugged in. Which, are 99.9% of the plugs in any household.

    Also as Jack pointed out most 15 amp GFCI receptacles will allow 20 amp pass through which means that if you want to you can use the GFCI to GFCI protect downstream receptacles with the 15 amp GFCI on 20 amp circuits you may do so.

    See NEC article 210.21 and table 210.21(B)(3)

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Correct outlet for existing circuits

    Just mentioning that 12 ga wire can be used for a 15 amp circuit.

    Yep ... it's probably a little different code here. We are required in a kitchen to have each duplex on a dedicated 15 amp circuit .

    There can be the setup if there are two receptacles these can be split where one half of the duplex can be tied to one half of the other duplex together on one circuit leaving the other halves to be tied together on another circuit. Since it's required to have GFCI protection this could only be done with standard duplex receptacles removing the jumper but needing a GFCI breaker.

    It's much simpler and cost effective to simply use a GFCI duplex on one circuit for each.

    Bathrooms are pretty much the same ... generally a duplex on a dedicated 15 amp circuit.
    Last edited by canuk; 01-23-2008 at 12:36 PM. Reason: clarification

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Correct outlet for existing circuits

    I'm going by memory on this which is always a dangerous thing in my case....
    Is there a code requirement to have a 20A GFCI in the bathroom? I seem to recall that from somewhere, but a quick search didn't pull anything up. Something to do with handling the blow dryer / curling iron requirements, maybe?? Kentvw...you have referenced code sections in the past....anything??

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Correct outlet for existing circuits

    Thanks for all the great input. Technically I'm not covered by a code as I live in a rural area, but I know that their intention is safety so I like to try to follow as much as possible.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Correct outlet for existing circuits

    bp,

    Yea, the NEC, don't remember which revision, but a few years ago, the code changed to require at least one 20 amp circuit to feed bathroom receptacles only and nothing else

    NEC 210.11(C)(3)

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Correct outlet for existing circuits

    Quote Originally Posted by studyingtobehandy View Post
    Thanks for all the great input. Technically I'm not covered by a code as I live in a rural area, but I know that their intention is safety so I like to try to follow as much as possible.
    Ohio requires that the state electric (usually a copy of NEC) code be followed throughout the state.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Correct outlet for existing circuits

    Quote Originally Posted by kentvw View Post
    bp,

    Yea, the NEC, don't remember which revision, but a few years ago, the code changed to require at least one 20 amp circuit to feed bathroom receptacles only and nothing else

    NEC 210.11(C)(3)
    I though you could also add ONE switched vanity lite. As it is allowed in Central PA, as long as it is in the same double gang box with the GFCI.
    Feel free to correct me though, its been one of those days

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