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Thread: 20 amp rated fan timer on 15 amp circuit?

  1. #1
    DIY Member Jeff_08's Avatar
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    Default 20 amp rated fan timer on 15 amp circuit?

    Hi-

    I wanted to buy a hardwired wall timer switch for my bathroom's exhaust fan and the hardware store had the one I wanted but most of them are rated for 20 amps. The house is over 30 years old and has a 15 amp supply into the bathroom, and I've looked around and didn't find the exact answer to this so I wanted to get some opinions. Since the supply/breaker is 15 amps can I use this 20 amp rated timer to control the fan? Since it's not an outlet and the fan is the only thing that will ever be connected to it, the load would be less than the 20 amp rating and if I understand correctly that should be fine, right? Thanks for any help.

  2. #2
    In the Trades Bob NH's Avatar
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    The timer can be rated at 100 Amps if you can find one as long as it doesn't have 20 Amp receptacle. The only limit on what is connected to the circuit is the load.

  3. #3

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    Timers and switches don't add load to the circuit, but they can blow if they aren't rated for the potential load on the circuit (i.e., the components need to be able to pass the entire load through without frying).

    Your 20a rated timer will work fine.
    (important note: I'm not a pro)

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    DIY Member Jeff_08's Avatar
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    Thanks for the responses. I was pretty sure my understanding of the amp rating on a timer was correct (I'm not an electrician, though), but I wanted to verify it with others than do electrical work more than I do.

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    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    What you wouldn't want to do, is the opposite (a 15-amp switch on a 20-amp circuit).
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    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchie View Post
    What you wouldn't want to do, is the opposite (a 15-amp switch on a 20-amp circuit).


    Why not? Its legal...

  7. #7
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Unless the load controlled by that switch was more than 15A...?
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #8
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Unless the load controlled by that switch was more than 15A...?

    Correct, switches are based on load, not the size of the breaker or conductors...

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