Changing a 15 Amp Outlet to 20 Amps

It is important to know the electrical wire and breaker switches requirements for different kinds of outlet needs. This guide is about changing a 15 amp outlet to 20 amps.
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0 found this helpful
February 17, 2005 Flag

I recently replaced an outlet in my kitchen and realized that all my 15 amp outlets etc. seem to be running off of 20 amp breakers. I don't know how to tell what size the wires are. Are the 20 amp breakers something to be concerned about? Should they be 15?

Brian

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February 17, 20050 found this helpful

Yes, that definitely would be cause for major concern.

A 20 Amp breaker does not adequately protect a 15 Amp outlet.

The breaker is supposed to pop instead of, or before the house burns down.

Even in the very unlikely event that you have 20 Amp wiring, the appliances plugged into the 15 Amp outlet need to be protected with 15 Amp breakers.

Your fire insurance would not have to pay in case of a fire, since your house is not up to code. It would be a good idea to get an electrical inspector or experienced electrician to check out your house and tell you what needs to be done to bring it up to code.

Have FUN!

DearWebby

http://www.webby.com/humor/

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February 17, 20050 found this helpful

The rule is: use number 12 wire for a 20 amp breaker and 20 amp receptacle; use number 14 wire for a 15 amp breaker and 15 amp receptacle. You must find out the size of the wire. Do not be misled by the sizes of the breakers and receptacles you currently have.

Just find out the size of the wire and then you will know what size breaker and receptacle is needed.

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May 4, 20060 found this helpful

Actually, if you have more than one receptacle on the 20 amp line, you can use 15 amp circuits for all the receptacles on the line. If you have a dedicated 20 amp line going to one circuit only, you need a 20 amp receptacle .

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June 24, 20060 found this helpful

Thrifty, you don't know what you are taking about.

If you refer to the National Electical Code, table 210-21[b](3) you'll see that it is permissable to have several 15 amp receptacles on a 20 amp branch circuit.

As a general rule, a 20 amp branch circuit must be supplied with 12 gauge copper wire. There may be circumstances - unlikely to occur in residential settings - where a larger gauge wire is required.

RevMike - at - gmail - com

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August 7, 20080 found this helpful

15 A circuit is protected by a 15 A circuit breaker using #14 wire and one or more 15 A receptacles.

20 A circuit is protected by a 20 A circuit breaker using #12 wire, example 20 A kitchen appliance circuit with with more than one receptacle all receptacles are 15 A receptacles. A 20 A receptacle is only required if it is a dedcated 20 A circuit serving only one plug.

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August 7, 20080 found this helpful

15 A circuit is protected by a 15 A circuit breaker using #14 wire and one or more 15 A receptacles.

20 A circuit is protected by a 20 A circuit breaker using #12 wire, example 20 A kitchen appliance circuit with with more than one receptacle all receptacles are 15 A receptacles. A 20 A receptacle is only required if it is a dedcated 20 A circuit serving only one plug.

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January 6, 20090 found this helpful

Does each outlet on the receptacles get the full 15amp on type b plugs? or is it divided between them two? ie. each outlet gets 7.5/120, or each gets 15/120?

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March 19, 20090 found this helpful

Some local electrical codes permit 15 amp sockets on 20 amp circuits provided that the wiring itself is correctly rated (12 ga. copper). Codes in other areas forbid this. You can verify wire size by comparing what is connected to your outlet with a sample that you can get at your hardware store. Call your local building inspector and ask what the rule is in your area for 15 amp sockets on 20 amp breakers. If you already have 12 ga. copper wiring there is no harm in upgrading the outlets to 20 amp.

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0 found this helpful
September 7, 2012 Flag

I need to change one of my 15 amp outlets to a 20 amp outlet. I checked my fuse/breaker panel and all the breakers are 20 amp breakers. Can I just switch out the outlets and be OK?

By Jimmy D

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September 9, 20120 found this helpful

It depends on what size wire was used.

15 amp breakers and outlets can only be used with 14 gauge wire.

20 amp breakers and outlets can only be used with 12 gauge wire.

http://www.thec  house_wiring.htm

20 amp breaker is never allowed to run any circuit whose wires (anywhere on the circuit) are 14 gauge. but a 15 amp breaker's wires out on the circuit may be 14 gauge, 12 gauge, or even a mixture.

Best to get a licensed electrician; much cheaper than an electrical fire.

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