Kitchen circuit GFCI question

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by stardog, Feb 9, 2019.

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  1. Feb 9, 2019 #1

    stardog

    stardog

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    I plan to upgrade five 2-prong receptacles in our kitchen. The house was built in 1960. I will be replacing the very first receptacle in the run with a GFCI-AFI receptacle, then replacing the other 4 downstream receptacles with standard 3-prong receptacles, thereby protecting the entire circuit.

    My question is this: The kitchen circuit is protected by a 20 amp breaker in the panel box. But all of my new receptacles will be standard household 15 amp 3-prong receptacles. To meet code, is it allowable to use a 15 amp GFCI-AFI receptacle at the beginning of the run, or will I need to use a 20 amp GFCI-AFI receptacle since the circuit breaker itself is 20 amp?

    I've heard it is standard practice to use a 15 amp GFCI instead of a 20 amp GFCI receptacle since the receptacles are only 15 amp. Plus, I have no need for a 20 amp receptacle, nor have I ever, so I want to make sure I can use the 15 amp GFCI without any issues cropping up.

    If an experienced electrician can offer insight, I'd greatly appreciate it.
     
  2. Feb 9, 2019 #2

    Snoonyb

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    I'd change the breaker to protect the circuit, then tag the recep. I'd also use 20Amp recep., it's called budgeting for contingency, and side wire them all.
     
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  3. Feb 9, 2019 #3

    jeffmattero76

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    The breaker protects the wire. To use a 20 amp breaker, be sure the wire is 12 gauge. You can use either 15 or 20 amp receptacles, but I have never seen any appliance with a male plug with the 20 amp configuration. Therefore, I don't see the point of using the more expensive 20 amp GFI and/or receptacles.
     
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  4. Feb 9, 2019 #4

    stardog

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    Thanks for both replies. Since the 15 amp Leviton GFCI-AFI has 20 amp feed-through, I am going with the 15 amp GFCI. There are only 4 outlets on the kitchen circuit and I seldom plug in more than one item at a time. Overload is not an issue, nor have I ever had a need for 20 amps to run something. Tks again for the quick responses.
     
  5. Feb 9, 2019 #5

    Snoonyb

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  6. Feb 10, 2019 #6

    JoeD

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    If you live in Canada you must use 20 amp T slot receptacles on a 20 amp circuit.
     
  7. Feb 10, 2019 #7

    Sparky617

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    A 20 amp plug has the one spade turned 90 degrees to the other to match the 20 amp outlet. I have yet to run across anything in the residential market that requires a 20 amp outlet configuration. Even my stationary power tools all run on 15 amp outlets. Now if I'm running my table saw and my drill press and my grinder and my air compressor and my band saw all at the same time I'd certainly trip the breaker if they were on one breaker. Same in a kitchen if you had your stand mixer, coffee maker, Instant Pot and a Crockpot all on one circuit you would probably trip a breaker if all were running at the same time. A microwave and a coffee maker on one circuit will trip the breaker if both are on one and on at the same time. Microwaves should have a dedicated circuit.

    I would put a 20 amp GFCI outlet on the first outlet in line though. Otherwise, you're downgrading the entire circuit to 15 amps.
     
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  8. Feb 10, 2019 #8

    jeffmattero76

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    Snooby - may I ask why you choose the 20 amp outlet's rather than the 15's? Have you ever run into an appliance with the male plug setup in the 20 amp configuration? If so, which appliance? As I understand it, the 15 amp receptacles are listed for 20 amp pass throughs and are allowed on a 20 amp circuit. Am I mistaken in my understanding?
     
  9. Feb 11, 2019 #9

    Snoonyb

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    Yes, and the reason why I always install 20amp recep, is as I said, budgeting for contingency . Another reason is because I warranty my work for as long as the contracted owner occupies that dwelling, and I don't do call backs because a call back runs about $100, or more, as opposed to a couple of bucks increase over a 15amp recep., much less the damage to your reputation, if you can't get back right away.

    No thanks, budgeting for contingency, is cheap by comparison.

    The reason I'd change the breaker is because GFCI recp have a far shorted life expectancy.
     
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  10. Feb 13, 2019 #10

    afjes_2016

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    "To meet code, is it allowable to use a 15 amp GFCI-AFI receptacle at the beginning of the run"

    If your code dictates the protection of both GFCI and AFCI I would use a dual GFCI/AFCI breaker in the panel to protect this circuit. Although you can use a GFCI receptacle to protect downstream receptacles using a AFCI receptacle requires special wiring procedures and materials from the panel to the receptacle that will be a AFCI receptacle. This means changing your present wiring etc from the panel to the AFCI receptacle.

    Someone else please check me on this but I believe this is the case. I am retired and have not been following the most recent NEC.
     
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  11. Feb 15, 2019 #11

    hornetd

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    You are right about special wiring to the point of installation of the first Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCI). It boils down to using a metal covered cable or a metallic raceway to insure that any penetration of the wiring will result in a ground fault that will open the Over Current Protective Device (OCPD) instead of creating an arcing fault which is much more likely to ignite an uncontrolled fire in the wall. When the kitchen is at the far end of the house from the service equipment I do drag out a roll of Armored Cable that has an insulated Equipment Grounding Conductor. I can then use a, now banned in homes, Multi Wire Branch Circuit. Yes I know it is not technically banned but it is rare that the physical layout of a home will justify the use of Metallic Cable. I am aware that there is now four wire dual circuit Non Metallic Cable available. It just irks me to have such a useful tool as the Multi Wire Branch Circuit effectively banned for use in single family residences.

    [Rant Mode] The trouble is that arcing between the hot and the neutral is not a common cause of fires of electrical origin. The arcing is most often caused by poor workmanship in making up connections so that the arc is occurring across a series connection that has become open thus causing an arc across the gap. The manufacturers' answer to that is to include 30 mA trip level Ground Fault Protection of Equipment in the AFCI device. That protection can be completely ineffective in preventing a fire that is kindled by the heat generated by a series arc or high resistance connection. The GFPE will only open the circuit when the problem becomes a Ground Fault. That may well occur after ignition of structural or finish materials has occurred. In 35 years as an active firefighter I never saw a parallel arc caused Fire of Electrical Origin. I have, however, seen at least a dozen Fire of Electrical Origin that were caused by arcing series connections. Unless the more recent AFCIs can detect a series arc and a high resistance connection then they continue to be a cure in desperate search of a disease on which it is actually effective. [/Rant Mode].
     
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