15 or 20 amp GFCI receptacle?

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Hello All:

Do I need 20 amp GFCI's?

Backgorund info:

Upon the recommendation I got from this forum, I am about to replace a few of my two-prong receptacles with GFCI ones.

Some are in the kitchen, and some are in the lving room and bed rooms.

One of them-- you may have read my earlier story about an arcing receptacle-- is for the microwave.


Thanks.
 

kok328

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That depends on the circuit.
What is the wattage of your microwave?
Is this a 15 or 20 amp breaker?
Is the guage of wire correct for the breaker on this circuit?
A 15amp breaekr will have 14AWG wire a 20amp breaker will have 12AWG wire.
You will not want to put a 15 amp GFI on a 20 amp circuit
 

speedy petey

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You will not want to put a 15 amp GFI on a 20 amp circuit
Why not??? You are aware that 15A GFI's are rated for 20A feed through, right?

When was the last time you needed a 20A configured receptacles for anything general in a home? I am not talking about a dedicated appliance, A/C or power tool.

There is simply NO reason to use 20A receptacles in a general use residential application. This is for the US, I believe Canada has different rules.
 

JoeD

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You are correct about Canada. The receptacle has to match the circuit. A 20 amp circuit has to have 20 amp receptacles. They can be the T slot version that accepts 15 amp plugs or they can be the dedicated 20 amp version with the horizontal only slot.
 

richlady39

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Hi - The GFCI outlet in the bathroom died - it is 3-prong w/red & black buttons in center - have no idea if it is a 15 or 20amp. It is the only outlet in the bathroom. Other switches are for the lights and fan. Do I use a 15 or 20amp and what is the difference??? Thanks...
 

kok328

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The red/black buttons in the middle are the 'test'/'reset' buttons.
If by 'died' you mean tripped, press the 'reset' button to restore power to the outlet.
If the 'reset' button won't hold down then turn off the circuit breaker to the outlet (and for this will have to verify no power with a voltage meter or sensor), remove the outlet, verify no voltage, what amp it is and replace it with same amperage.
 

Ocean_Man

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Use a 15 amp GFCI unless you use a lot of power out of this outlet. If you figure you use more than 12 amps then consider a 20 amp GFCI. But, you will need to verify #12 or larger wire before you do. Most GFCI receptacles are fine to be 15 amp rated and there is nothing wrong with using them on 15 or 20 amp circuits unless they are going to be submitted to very high load.
 

nealtw

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Use a 15 amp GFCI unless you use a lot of power out of this outlet. If you figure you use more than 12 amps then consider a 20 amp GFCI. But, you will need to verify #12 or larger wire before you do. Most GFCI receptacles are fine to be 15 amp rated and there is nothing wrong with using them on 15 or 20 amp circuits unless they are going to be submitted to very high load.
If the plug is rated for 15 amps and you plug in two items that add up to more than 15 amps but less than 20, you have a problem. Far safer to use the 20 amp plug and there might be rules on this .
 

Ocean_Man

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If the plug is rated for 15 amps and you plug in two items that add up to more than 15 amps but less than 20, you have a problem. Far safer to use the 20 amp plug and there might be rules on this .
There are rules on it. The rule says that on a 20 amp branch circuit your receptacles can be rated at 15 or 20 amps.

So if you are really drawing high amperage go for the 20.
 

Ocean_Man

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Woops, didn't realize you are in Canada. I don't know what the rules are in Canada. Probably slightly different, though.
 

nealtw

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Don't care what the rules are it still has to make sence, I can plug in two items at 9 amps each, I have overloaded the plug and I have no protection from the breaker. Take the rules as a guide, just because they missed it , dosn't mean you should.
BTW Welcome to the site.
 

Ocean_Man

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What 2 items do you plug in that are 9 amps each?

But you're right if you use 18 amps on one receptacle it had better be a 20 amp receptacle. However, the vast majority of receptacles do not use 18 amps and are only rated for 15 amps.

Also, if you really are using 18 amps on one receptacle it's time to consider installing another circuit...unless its the only thing on that circuit.
 

nealtw

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You do have to remember you dealing with people and people do all kind s of things, it just wouldn't be that hard to get to 18 amps

US_multiplug6_double.jpg
 

speedy petey

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Use a 15 amp GFCI unless you use a lot of power out of this outlet. If you figure you use more than 12 amps then consider a 20 amp GFCI. But, you will need to verify #12 or larger wire before you do. Most GFCI receptacles are fine to be 15 amp rated and there is nothing wrong with using them on 15 or 20 amp circuits unless they are going to be submitted to very high load.
WHAT are you talking about???
You are implying that a GFI has any kind of overcurrent function. They do NOT.
GFI's have NOTHING to do with the load on the circuit or the device itself other than to monitor for imbalance.

A 15A GFI is TWO 15A receptacles. A 20A GFI is two 20A receptacles.
The ONLY reason to use a 20A GFI is if you need the 20A plug configuration. BOTH have a 20A feed-thru rating. They are basically the same internally.
 

speedy petey

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If the plug is rated for 15 amps and you plug in two items that add up to more than 15 amps but less than 20, you have a problem. Far safer to use the 20 amp plug and there might be rules on this .
Don't care what the rules are it still has to make sence, I can plug in two items at 9 amps each, I have overloaded the plug and I have no protection from the breaker. Take the rules as a guide, just because they missed it , dosn't mean you should.
BTW Welcome to the site.
What 2 items do you plug in that are 9 amps each?

But you're right if you use 18 amps on one receptacle it had better be a 20 amp receptacle. However, the vast majority of receptacles do not use 18 amps and are only rated for 15 amps.

Also, if you really are using 18 amps on one receptacle it's time to consider installing another circuit...unless its the only thing on that circuit.
Wow! So much misinformation. :eek:

See my previous reply. A 15A DUPLEX receptacle is TWO 15A receptacles with a feed-thru of 20A. YES, you CAN plug in two 9A loads into a 15A duplex and it will be FINE.

Neal, I know you are a long time member here, but this statement: "I can plug in two items at 9 amps each, I have overloaded the plug and I have no protection from the breaker.", is just painfully wrong. HOW can you possibly say there would be no protection from the breaker? On top of this, the breaker protects the wire, NOT the load.

Sorry guys, but replies like this bother me quite a bit. It shows that anyone, even folks who really don't know all they should, can give electrical advice, and any unsuspecting DIYer will just read it and take it for fact.:mad:
 

nealtw

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Wow! So much misinformation. :eek:

See my previous reply. A 15A DUPLEX receptacle is TWO 15A receptacles with a feed-thru of 20A. YES, you CAN plug in two 9A loads into a 15A duplex and it will be FINE.

Neal, I know you are a long time member here, but this statement: "I can plug in two items at 9 amps each, I have overloaded the plug and I have no protection from the breaker.", is just painfully wrong. HOW can you possibly say there would be no protection from the breaker? On top of this, the breaker protects the wire, NOT the load.

Sorry guys, but replies like this bother me quite a bit. It shows that anyone, even folks who really don't know all they should, can give electrical advice, and any unsuspecting DIYer will just read it and take it for fact.:mad:
I don't mind being told I am wrong but I came by this on honestly. Home owner, removed stove, split the feed and install 120 volt plugs and over loaded the plug and gutted the kitchen.
 

JoeD

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A stove circuit is 40 or 50 amps not 20amps. There is a big difference there.
I would be curious to know if the plug overheated or the cable overheated and caused the fire. More likely the cable overheated.
 

nealtw

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The breaker was never changed , the fire started at the box, the wire was still protected by the breaker, so the thought by others involved was the outlet.

I have no doubt that Speedy is right when he say the 15 amp plug will carry 20 amps. But that being said I doubt if it says that on the plug, I don't have one to look at.
The breaker is there to protect the wire and I will argue the the plug is part of the wire system and if the breaker isn't there to potect that what is?
We have to remember who is reading this thread and how many people reading it never drop by to clarify the answer. Do we really want to put info out there where people should disregard the amp rating on anything, code or not?
 

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