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Old 11-20-2005, 08:13 PM  
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Default 20A receptacles

I have a garage wiring project to do in the near future. Using the book Wiring Simplified 41st Edition as a guide, it highly recommends the use of 12 AWG wire and 20A breakers for 110V circuits.

So, jumping in head-long, I bought a 100A loadcenter for the garage, a 1000 ft spool of 12/2 wire and various 20A single pole breakers. When I got to lightswitches and outlet receptacles, I became puzzled.

It seems that outlets and lightswitches rated for 20A are harder to come by, as I could find none. The regular 15A outlets say "for use with 14 or 12 AWG wire." Why would they say this on them when 12AWG wire is used for 20A circuits?

Do people typically use 12 AWG wire with a 20A breaker and a 15A receptacle?

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Old 11-22-2005, 10:58 AM  
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You may need to go to a dedicated electrical supply place for the 20A receptacles/switches---although I get them at any of several local HD stores.

The basic difference between 20A and 15A receptacles/switches is that the 20A seldom have pushin connection ports---you have to use the screws. That makes a much more secure connection, as the spring loaded quick connect ports can get over heated and loosen, causing sparking and excessive resistance.

Some 20A units do have a bit heavier metal parts.

I have 15A receptacles in my shop, as I seldom have two machines/tools operating at the same time. The wiring is 12 gauge, however.
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Old 12-04-2005, 10:12 AM  
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If the 20A circut is dedicated (supplying just one device or outlet) then code requires the use of a 20 amp recepticle. If you are daisy chaining the same circut across several devices, then the use of 15 amp recepts is allowable.
Do not forget GFIC protection!
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