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Thread: GFCI Outlet Questions

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member kailor's Avatar
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    Default GFCI Outlet Questions

    I'm remodeling a Mobile Home (MH) and have a couple of GFCI outlet questions.

    Q1: After locating the outlet at the BEGINNING of outlets wired in series, and finding the LINE for the beginning outlet coming from the circuit panel, if the breaker feeding the LINE is a 15A breaker, that means each plug in the series should be a 15A outlet, correct?

    Q2: When installing new outlets, would it be harmful to install 20A outlets, leaving the 15A breaker in the circuit panel, or should I also put in a 20A breaker in the circuit panel to feed the circuit, or should I just install 15A outlets to match the 15A breaker in the circuit panel (assuming 15A would adequately service the kitchen/bathroom plugs)?

    Q3: Which brand name of GFCI receptacles is the safest and best to get from a big box store?

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    While you can have 15A receptacles on a 20A circuit, you CANNOT put a 20A receptacle on a 15A circuit. Whether you can swap the circuit breaker to 20A would be determined by the wire gauge size. It must be at least 12g wire to swap it to a 20A CB. It's probably 14g. Can't help you with brands. Not all GFCI have a load output, so some cannot be used to protect those downstream.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Most GFI you will find readily are labeled 15 amp, ( 20 amp feedthrough). This is OK to be on a 15 amp breaker, as the only load which can be plugged in to any of them is a 15 amp load. But don't put in a 20 amp GFI ( it will have one blade vertical, and the other blade T-shaped.)

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by kailor View Post
    Q1: After locating the outlet at the BEGINNING of outlets wired in series, and finding the LINE for the beginning outlet coming from the circuit panel, if the breaker feeding the LINE is a 15A breaker, that means each plug in the series should be a 15A outlet, correct?
    Yes and it probably is. 20A GFCIs are more $$$.

    Quote Originally Posted by kailor View Post
    Q2: When installing new outlets, would it be harmful to install 20A outlets, leaving the 15A breaker in the circuit panel, or should I also put in a 20A breaker in the circuit panel to feed the circuit, or should I just install 15A outlets to match the 15A breaker in the circuit panel (assuming 15A would adequately service the kitchen/bathroom plugs)?
    You cannot change out the breaker. The breaker protects the wiring and is sized for the wiring in your home. 15A GFCIs are what is commonly installed in residential construction even if the breaker is rated 20A. If you install 20A GFCIs you won't hurt anything, but you will be throwing away your money as they are more expensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by kailor View Post
    Q3: Which brand name of GFCI receptacles is the safest and best to get from a big box store?
    Sorry, can't help here. I only shop those stores if I am desperate and I remembered to bring a paper bag to wear over my head That said I don't know of a brand that has a bad rep for GFCIs at the moment.

    -rick

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    DIY Senior Member Jeff1's Avatar
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    While you can have 15A receptacles on a 20A circuit, you CANNOT put a 20A receptacle on a 15A circuit.
    What is the reasoning used for this? I'm just trying to understand what code/physics is trying to protect us from. Thanks

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    Electrical Contractor Jim Port's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff1 View Post
    What is the reasoning used for this? I'm just trying to understand what code/physics is trying to protect us from. Thanks
    This is so that you do not plug 20 amp corded devices into a 15 amp circuit that is not rated to handle the current.

    Even a 15 amp slotted device will still be rated for 20 amp feed-thru.
    Last edited by Jim Port; 02-10-2011 at 01:25 PM.

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    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    The aggragate (sum) of the load could be 20A if the wiring supported it, but no individual load could exceed 15A if you restrict the use of receptacles to 15A (20A feed-through) on a 20A circuit. But, one 20A load would exceed the capacity of a 15A branch circuit, so why would you allow one to be plugged in by using a 20A receptacle? A device rated to exceed 15A requires a special plug, and preventing that from happening, is the reason. You could have numerous lower wattage devices plugged into one circuit, and thus desire a 20A branch, but not want any one device to hog all the power. Typically, a heavy user warrants a dedicated circuit.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Another good reason is that there is nothing in the average residence that uses a 20 amp plug and thus would require a 20 amp receptacle. The one exception I can think are a few of the bigger window or through-wall mounted air conditioners, but even most of them are 220V.

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    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cacher_chick View Post
    Another good reason is that there is nothing in the average residence that uses a 20 amp plug and thus would require a 20 amp receptacle. The one exception I can think are a few of the bigger window or through-wall mounted air conditioners, but even most of them are 220V.
    All kitchens in our zone must have 2 dedicated countertop 20 amp circuits with 20 amp receptacles.

    http://www.buyacehardware.com/cooper...e-3164696.html

    http://www.buyacehardware.com/ace-sa...e-3192531.html

  10. #10
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Unless they've modified the national code, they must be GFCI-protected 20A circuits, 20A pass-through receptacles, but the receptacles themselves only need to be 15A.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jadnashua View Post
    Unless they've modified the national code, they must be GFCI-protected 20A circuits, 20A pass-through receptacles, but the receptacles themselves only need to be 15A.
    This is correct

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    General Engineering Contractor ballvalve's Avatar
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    Kitchen counter level outlets, yes GFCI.

    So the code allows 15 amp receptacles on a 20 amp breaker? Is that so you can see how plastic melts and throws out smoke? Good code!

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    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Ballvalve, I don't believe your thinking is clear.

    A 15 amp receptacle will only allow a 15 amp plug to be plugged into it. A 20 amp receptacle will allow a 15 or 20 amp plug to be plugged into it. There is no other difference between the receptacles.


    20 amp plug

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    DIYer, not in the trades LLigetfa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ballvalve View Post
    All kitchens in our zone must have 2 dedicated countertop 20 amp circuits with 20 amp receptacles.
    Code does not let us daisychain kitchen counter outlets. In fact, we have to split each outlet and feed it with two breakers.

  15. #15
    Test, Don't Guess! cacher_chick's Avatar
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    Note that LLigetfa is in Canada, which for obvious reasons does not fall under the U.S. code.

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