"general purpose circuits are not being observed while I am at work or in bed asleep."
i would like to see ANY stats on home fires or any problems being caused by using 12ga vs 14ga. i really think that if this was as big of a problem as you propose, there would be a very rapid change in the code, requiring only 14ga wire to be used.
i really think that you should start lobbying lamp makers and extention cord makers to require OCP in their wire or device. I think you would be a great person to lead that fight. either that, or maybe lobby for 5 and 10a breakers on general purpose circuits.
Last edited by Chad Schloss; 06-12-2012 at 03:57 PM.
Your hair dryer exceeds what is allowed to be on a 15 amp circuit.
This in no way means that the blade slots of a 15 amp receptacle is rated any more than 15 amps. The only part of a 15 amp receptacle that is rated at 20 amps is the fin tab between the two screws not the entire receptacle.
There is no one condemning your installation but I think you need to understand what a 20 amp circuit for general purpose circuits entails. The train of thought that a 20 amp circuit is better than a 15 amp circuit for general purpose receptacles has a flaw. All I have done is point out those flaws. I have also pointed out that most of the required 20 amp circuits while in use will be monitored while in use such as the bathroom receptacle unless someone knows how to blow dry their hair while asleep. The same is true for the laundry and small appliance circuits but the general purpose circuits are used while we are at work and asleep. These circuits are used more than those required by 210.11(C) for dwelling units.
Back in the late ‘60s and ‘70s many homes were wired using all 20 amp circuits. After many problems this practice fell by the way side except for those who were so closed minded to see the dangers. This lingers till this day with many who cannot see the nose on their face.
What is overlooked by most electricians and inspectors today is the two small appliance (210.11(C)(1)), the laundry (210.11(C)(2)), and the bath (210.11(C)(3)) circuits when used with a 15 amp receptacle (Table 210.21) is still no more than 12 amps for cord and plug appliances which leaves out the use of your 1500 watt hair dryer. 1500/120= 12.5
I have and still do work with the NFPA as well as with IEEE, IAEI, NEMA, NCDOI, and several others for safer electrical installations throughout our land.
Take a good look at the committees and officers of this web site for more information;
My name is Mike Whitt. The IAEI works with those mentioned above for safer electrical installations and as you can see I hold a couple of seats with the NCIAEI. Google search a few of the names that are beside of mine to see just who I work with daily.
Those things I have pointed out are facts that can be proven using math. I have not nor will I ever say that it is not code compliant but I have always said and will keep saying that the adage that 20 amp circuits are better is flawed. There is not one thing that can be said to make a 20 amp circuit safer than a 15 amp circuit no matter how one tries to put it into words.
Along with the committees and boards that I sit on I have over 44 years of experience in the field and more than 12 years in the classroom. I have dedicated my life to the electrical trade and the safety involved with the use and installation of electrical systems.
no, i wanted JW to answer, that's why I had quoted him. Nothing against you (or him) just wanted his answer.
When someone asks a question and someone gives the answer most of the time I will remain silent and leave their answer alone but once in a while someone will take personal an answer thus a debate is started between two instead of the forum. I try to keep this from happening by not saying anything when someone else gives the answer therefore I didn't answer directly.
We need to remember that this is a “Do-it-Yourself” type of web site where for the most part the members have no experience or knowledge of electrical theory and installations. The knowledge that most have are old wives tales past down from one to another and in most cases these methods are wrong.
A good case in point is the installation of 20 amp general purpose circuits throughout a home is better than 15 amp circuits. Are these installations compliant? Yes. Are they safer? Not according to the math.
Another is to keep the lights and receptacles on two different circuits so in the event of a breaker tripping one won’t be left in the dark. In 60 years of living I have been left in the dark by a power failure 1000 times for every one time I was left in the dark over a tripped overcurrent device so there is a flaw in that thinking.
What I find most interesting is that when someone points out one of these flaws to the old wives tales most take it personally or as an attack instead of keeping an open mind to the points of views of others especially when the one giving that advice has credentials far above theirs.
As I have pointed out several times in this thread the installation of 20 amp general purpose receptacles is a compliant installation but to think that this circuit somehow gives me more amperage so I can vacuum while watching a DVD on the big screen through the sound around system has flaws.
I like the one where the 20 amp circuits were installed so portable electric heaters could be used. The 20 amp breaker and number 12 conductors in no way change the maximum load that that 15 amp duplex receptacle will handle.
It has been my experience over the years that the receptacle fails and all that wasted natural resource did nothing to prevent the failure.
Ever plug something into a receptacle and the cord cap just fall out? What did we do? Spread the prongs apart a little so it would stay in place?
The receptacle was loaded to the point that the spring metal in the slots have weakened to the point of no grip or the receptacle has failed. No amount of oversizing the conductors and overcurrent device will fix this problem. Upgrading the circuit to 20 amps only causes the failure to happen quicker as we can now put a larger load on that 15 amp receptacle.
This is the facts no matter what someone has told you. This is real world installations that through my career I have personally witnessed as well as many others that I have talked with through my years of experience in the electrical trade.
Then we have those who make the statement that a 15 amp receptacle is rated for 20 amps of feed through. This is true. The metal between the two screws is rated at 20 amps but should someone take the time to take a 15 and 20 amp receptacle apart it is easy to see that the blade slots of the two are a lot different. What we must know is that a 15 amp receptacle even on a 20 amp circuit is rated for 12 amps. The fact that it is on a 20 amp circuit does not change this nor does it change the cord we use to plug in our appliances. The cord is installed by the manufacturer and in most cases will handle a fraction of the amperage of the branch circuit. Up grading the amperage of the circuit then allows more current to flow through these cords. One does not need a formal education to know that the more heat energy allowed to flow through a conductor will allow it to break down faster.
Once again, is it compliant to install 15 amp receptacles on a 20 amp circuit? Yes. Is there more danger when doing this? Yes especially on the general purpose circuits that for the most part are overloaded in the first place.
It is better to install two 15 amp circuits than to install one 20 amp circuit.
I installed 20 amp receptacles in my house on 15 amp circuits and my plugs almost require pliers to remove. Seems like a safe investment. And the worst that happens is the tv goes off when you iron on the same circuit.
The NEC mandates that in addition to other circuits required at least one 20 ampere “LAUNDRY” circuit is to be installed. See 210.11(C)(2)
I know that in this world that some think the codes says washing machine circuit but instead it says laundry. Ironing is part of doing laundry so guess which receptacle the electrician installed for the iron?
Should someone decide to do the ironing in the middle of the living room they would to let the electrician know before wiring the house that there needs to be a laundry receptacle installed at the place where the ironing is to take place.
Take a high end iron even a 20 amp receptacle and circuit is not big enough. Should that TV be plugged in the laundry receptacle then the iron would have the same effect. The receptacles in the living room for the TV and the receptacle installed for the washing machine for the iron. This is how the codes have it set up.
On a side note, when we did our room addition I plugged in the air compressor in the bed room receptacle. The air compressor draws 12.8 amps when running. The point here is we can plug in whatever we want where ever we decide to plug it in but if the installation is compliant the worst thing that can happen is the breaker trip.
Most Utility or “LAUNDRY” Rooms do not have room for a Ironing board, or Wide screen TV.
Or a extra outlet for the Iron and TV, or a cable hookup.
And not many people Iron Clothes in their garage.
I thought every thing was perm press anyway.
Ain't gonna happen !
You are much closer to this discussion than I will ever be, but it seems to me that the code is evolving to ensure that every component of the system is slightly under-utilized. That is, to have a fail-safe margin. Electricians can make poor joints when twisting wires together (not me), we can stress a conductor pulling it (OK, I know I have) and a dozen other factors can make a 12 ga conductor weak at 15 amps.
I would not be surprised if at some time the ratio of watts to sq ft in general purpose circuits changes to demand more circuits.
As a fully practical matter: to work with 14 ga is just faster and easier than 12 ga. Often one guy can do the first where using the 12 ga will demand a helper. And the material is profoundly more expensive for the 12 ga.
Instead of thinking "let's build in a big fat safety margin and wire it all at 20amps", I prefer to put in one more 15 amp circuit than is utterly needed. It really is hardly any more material, and it goes just as fast, and if one is half smart about how the house is split up, one does OK sharing the load among the circuits.
As for requiring 20 amp circuits in the kitchen etc, we go back to the matter of building in a margin. There are appliances used in kitchens and bathrooms and the laundry that will get past 80% of 15 amp on a regular basis.
Somebody asked why don't we require that the house be wired with 7 amp circuits, if higher ratings are so dangerous. I suppose that would be possible. Of course, it would be hideously inflexible compared to a 15 amp circuit, which could serve several rooms and not be stressed, where a 7 amp circuit could find itself loaded with an entertainment center and have no margin for a few lights and the proverbial vacuum.
The answer is that the line needs be drawn somewhere. Two common amperages to be found at classic Edison outlets, and the professional electrician knows which goes where, and the home owners concern themselves with paying the mortgage and getting the kid to earn decent grades.
15amp is safer, cheaper and easier. What is not to love? Where 20 amp is needed, put it in.