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  1. #1
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    Default 15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuit

    I inspected a new home last Friday. All of the wiring appears to be correctly installed (ground fault, arc fault, etc) except that the contractor used 15 amp receptacles everywhere. When I pointed this out to the buyer, the contractor, who was present, responded (in the tone a thrid grade teacher uses on the class dummy/show off) that there was an exception in the electrical code that allows that installation in 110 volt circuits.

    I asked him to show me the section of the code but neither of us had a book with us. Back in the office, I could find the exception, and wrote up the finding in the report as incorrect. I always do the same in existing homes with the same condition.

    Does anybody know if this exception exists?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: 15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuit

    As long as there is more than one spot to insert a plug on the circuit the use of 15 amp receptacles is allowed. A standard duplex receptacle counts as two places.

    Fifteen amp receptacles are good for 20 amp feed thru. The difference is in the slot configuration.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: 15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuit

    You are allowed to use 15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuits as long as there are two or more receptacles on that circuit.

    It's not an "exception", it is "allowable practice".

    From the 2008 NEC.
    - 210.21 Outlet Devices.
    - - (3) Receptacle Ratings. Where connected to a branch circuit supplying two or more receptacles or outlets, receptacle ratings shall conform to the values listed in Table 210.21(B)(3), or where larger than 50 amperes, the receptacle rating shall not be less than the branch-circuit rating.
    - - - Exception No. 1: Receptacles for one or more cord-and-plug-connected arc welders shall be permitted to have ampere ratings not less than the minimum branch-circuit conductor ampacity permitted by 630.11(A) or (B) as applicable for arc welders.
    - - - Exception No. 2: The ampere rating of a receptacle installed for electric discharge lighting shall be permitted to be based on 410.62(C).
    - - - Table 210.21(B)(3) Receptacle Ratings for Various Size Circuits
    - - - - Circuit Rating 20 ampere / Receptacle Rating 15 or 20 amperes

    *IF* there is ONLY ONE receptacle on the circuit, then the answer changes to a 20 amp receptacle on a 20 amp circuit (with two exception which are not applicable here).

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: 15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Fifteen amp receptacles are good for 20 amp feed thru.
    It's not that the receptacle is "feed through", it's that the circuit conductors are tied to the same mini-bus link (unless removed - which is for a different thread entirely) between the two terminals, the two conductors are effectively tied together, thus not "feeding through" the receptacle.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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    Default Re: 15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    It's not that the receptacle is "feed through", it's that the circuit conductors are tied to the same mini-bus link (unless removed - which is for a different thread entirely) between the two terminals, the two conductors are effectively tied together, thus not "feeding through" the receptacle.
    Since the 'mini-bus' link is providing the connection the current is feeding thru the receptacle. If a pigtailing type arrangement were used the current would not have to pass thru the device.

    I will call the manufacturers and let them know that you say their products are mislabeled.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: 15 amp receptacles on 20 amp circuit

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Since the 'mini-bus' link is providing the connection the current is feeding thru the receptacle. If a pigtailing type arrangement were used the current would not have to pass thru the device.
    The current is not passing though the receptacle, it is passing through that 'mini-bus' link.

    A feed through wiring is like when you wire a GFCI up as feed through, the current "feeds through" the receptacle and its sensing device.

    I will call the manufacturers and let them know that you say their products are mislabeled.
    Thanks.

    I just looked over an installation instruction for a Leviton receptacle and I see no reference to "feed through".

    I do, however, see where it states (which is not the opposite of "feed through" but "dual feed", i.e., where the receptacle is fed with two conductors):

    FOR SEPARATE FEED CONVERSION ONLY:
    This device is provided with break-off fins located between the terminal screws. To control the top outlet and the bottom outlet with two different hot wires (two circuits), remove the break-off fin between the two HOT terminal screws (brass or black) before wiring. Use needle nose pliers and bend fin back and forth until it breaks off.
    So, yes, thanks for taking a moment to let them know.


    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

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