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20 amp Duplex on 15 amp circuits? yes? no? don't care?

107.77.89.16

Posted on March 15, 2017 at 14:09:44
3+4=5
Audiophile

Posts: 642
Location: Midwest
Joined: December 24, 2016
Plenty of aftermarket duplex are all the 20 amp design.
Furutech, Oyaide all are 20 amp design.
Every once in awhile someone who is a (what I call) Electrician Police remind us putting a 20 amp duplex on a 15 amp circuit is illegal, immoral, and just plain big old electrical sin.

So..
Do you stay up at night? worrying your 20 amp duplex outlet will explode killing you?
Or do you follow the law, and banish such things from your home?

For me, I use them where and when I want.

My one thought on this is the law applies to electricians and electrical contractors. Does it apply to lay people? IE can the electrical police take away my license to putz???

I think I have replace close to fifty worn out duplex with new ones.. All the 20 amp sort.
Same thing applies to aftermarket cords. Not UL approved???

What do you think?

 

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RE: 20 amp Duplex on 15 amp circuits? yes? no? don't care?, posted on March 15, 2017 at 15:45:27
bcowen
Audiophile

Posts: 641
Location: North Carolina
Joined: December 19, 2015
Contributor
  Since:
January 1, 2017
Do you stay up at night?

Only for one thing, and it has no relation to wall outlets. :)

worrying your 20 amp duplex outlet will explode killing you?

Actually, with the higher current capacity, you're probably less likely to die from outlet explosion. :)

In my opinion, there's no problem using a 20 amp outlet on a 15 amp circuit, so long as the user knows it's a 15 amp circuit. If you own the home, it's basically a non-issue. But if you decide to sell it, well....

In my last house, I installed several 20 amp outlets in the audio room. Nothing expensive, just some decent commercial grade Levitons. When we put the house on the market and had an offer, the buyer sent in a home inspector which is a pretty normal routine. Most home inspectors (in my opinion) are rather superficial and many wouldn't know an outlet from a switch. But this one did. He saw the outlets, and asked if it was a 20 amp circuit. I should have just said "yes," but being honest I told him no. His next question was who installed them, and was it a licensed electrician? Had to answer in the negative on that too. He didn't seem to care so much they were 20 amp outlets as much as he was wanting to point out they weren't installed by a card-carrying electrician. To appease the prospective buyers, I had to get a licensed electrician in to inspect the wiring and certify the outlets were installed properly. Didn't cost much as I'd only replaced 4 outlets, but still a hassle.

I'm guessing the majority of the so-called house inspectors wouldn't ever pick up on this, but you never know. Next time I sell, it won't be an issue as I'm for sure not leaving my Furutechs in the wall for a new owner. I'll happily put the 15 amp contractor grade crap back in before the house goes on the market. :)

 

+1 (nt), posted on March 15, 2017 at 16:08:59
Sondek
Audiophile

Posts: 2750
Location: Fort Worth
Joined: May 17, 2000
Contributor
  Since:
April 5, 2002

 

RE: 20 amp Duplex on 15 amp circuits? yes? no? don't care?, posted on March 16, 2017 at 08:19:31
Jonesy
Audiophile

Posts: 1227
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Joined: September 1, 2005
I agree with posts about inspection/changing them out if reselling.

Theoretically, even if someone plugged in a 20 amp device, not knowing it was a 15 amp circuit, your breaker should pop.

But you should consider if (heaven forbid) your house burns down and your insurance adjuster says wiring wasn't to code. I guess so long as it was evident the fire wasn't electrical related beyond reasonable doubt, you should be fine. Also fine if you had an inspection certificate.

Cheers!

Jonesy


"I know just enough to get into trouble. But not enough to get out of it."

 

Ping: jea48, posted on March 18, 2017 at 19:54:15
Duster
Audiophile

Posts: 12513
Location: Pacific Northwest
Joined: August 25, 2002
Perhaps you can pinpoint this question.

Cheers, Duster

 

RE: 20 amp Duplex on 15 amp circuits? yes? no? don't care?, posted on March 19, 2017 at 10:15:57
Crazy Dave
Audiophile

Posts: 12617
Location: East Coast
Joined: October 4, 2001
For this reason, and also because I though it might be beneficial to have the larger gage wire, I had everything done 20 amp from the breaker in the box to the duplex by a qualified and licensed electrician (who happened to be a relative). If a person does not want to do that, there are audiophile grade 15 amp outlets. Oyaide makes the SWO series which is 15 amp.

Dave

 

RE: 20 amp Duplex on 15 amp circuits? yes? no? don't care?, posted on March 20, 2017 at 13:33:13
6bq5
Manufacturer

Posts: 2216
Location: SF Bay
Joined: August 16, 2001
Contributor
  Since:
September 14, 2012
This only becomes an issue when there is a 'failure' and, as a direct result of the failure an investigation or law suit-

On the face of it - yes - you are not putting the outlet at risk - so long as the breaker / fuse has not changed from the original install.
If some one does insert a 20 Plug and tries to pull a load for a 20 A circuit - it will trip the 15A breaker - so it should not cause harm, but....
Happy Listening

 

RE: 20 amp Duplex on 15 amp circuits? yes? no? don't care?, posted on March 20, 2017 at 17:41:58
jea48
Audiophile

Posts: 6635
Location: Midwest
Joined: January 5, 2005
Contributor
  Since:
January 6, 2005
For an appliance or piece of equipment that uses a cord and NEMA 5-20P (20 amp plug), UL, NEMA, and NEC code, all limit the FLA (Full Load Amps) of the appliance or equipment to 16 amps maximum. More than 16 amps the manufacture must use a 30 amp plug.

For a NEMA 5-15P (15 amp plug) the FLA of the appliance or equipment can not exceed 12 amps. One reason portable vacuum cleaner manufactures never boast about their vacuum cleaner having a motor bigger than 12 amps. Who would buy a home consumer vacuum cleaner with a 20 amp plug?

Will a 15 amp breaker trip open with a 16 amp continuous connected load? Maybe, someday.

 

RE: 20 amp Duplex on 15 amp circuits? yes? no? don't care?, posted on March 20, 2017 at 21:22:11
Duster
Audiophile

Posts: 12513
Location: Pacific Northwest
Joined: August 25, 2002
Anecdotal evidence seems to indicate that audiophiles who install a 20A rated AC outlet on a 15A circuit, including power distributors are not being foolish about the matter. There are plenty of rules and regulations that apply to more dangerous user scenarios than powering a humble home audio system. Potential dangers such as these can be determined by an informed end-user to make good judgements. What is your opinion, jea48? TIA

 

RE: 20 amp Duplex on 15 amp circuits? yes? no? don't care?, posted on March 21, 2017 at 17:19:16
jea48
Audiophile

Posts: 6635
Location: Midwest
Joined: January 5, 2005
Contributor
  Since:
January 6, 2005
Putting NEC aside.

Changing out a 15 amp duplex receptacle, that is connected to a 15 amp branch circuit, to a 20 amp rated audio grade or even a quality spec grade or hospital grade duplex receptacle in itself would not create an electrical safety hazard/issue, imo, providing the duplex outlet is used for audio equipment that is designed/manufactured to use a 15 plug. (By the way there is no limit to how many 15 amp duplex receptacles can be installed on a 15 amp branch circuit in a residential dwelling unit.)

AND IF a 15 amp is changed out to a 20 amp, in the event the audio system is moved to another location or the owner sells the house the 20 amp duplex must be replaced with a 15 amp duplex. I doubt if a high dollar audio grade 20 amp duplex receptacle would ever be left for a new owner, not sure about a spec grade 20 amp outlet though. See that's the thing about electrical safety codes, it makes it safe for the next unknowing owner. Does it happen a previous owner might leave a 20 amp duplex receptacle on a 15 amp branch circuit? Yes. New guy moves in and sees a 20 amp duplex under a window in a room with 15 amp duplex outlets.

.

IF a piece of audio equipment is designed/manufactured to use a 20 amp plug and the user then changes out a 15 amp duplex, that is connected to a 15 amp branch circuit, to a 20 amp rated duplex receptacle so he can plug it in, then that would be clearly electrically unsafe. For the reason/s I stated in my previous post.

 

ANyone shuld inspect ALL duplex and switches when moving in..., posted on March 27, 2017 at 14:08:30
3+4=5
Audiophile

Posts: 642
Location: Midwest
Joined: December 24, 2016
Having lived in plenty of 40 to 70 year old buildings.. I have to say EVERY single duplex in the places I move into is toast. IE worn out, and or broken. The fact is if the duplex works at all, it will not be replaced by a landlord.
Worrying about a 20 amp duplex as 1 in 40,000,000 compared to 100% of worn out crap waiting for a fire due to the incredibly poor connection at the duplex...
Good luck.

 

Worn-out AC outlets..., posted on March 28, 2017 at 17:16:40
Duster
Audiophile

Posts: 12513
Location: Pacific Northwest
Joined: August 25, 2002
A guest room of a family member's home has an AC outlet that was no-doubt installed 40 years ago or thereabouts. The AC plug of a table radio on the nightstand essentially swims in the socket. It's far beyond its useful lifespan, and sort of amusing to experience as an audiophile...

 

RE: ANyone shuld inspect ALL duplex and switches when moving in..., posted on March 31, 2017 at 06:49:58
jea48
Audiophile

Posts: 6635
Location: Midwest
Joined: January 5, 2005
Contributor
  Since:
January 6, 2005
Having lived in plenty of 40 to 70 year old buildings.. I have to say EVERY single duplex in the places I move into is toast. IE worn out, and or broken. The fact is if the duplex works at all, it will not be replaced by a landlord.

Curious, how many of those duplex receptacles you changed out, without the landlords knowledge or permission, were 2 wire non grounding type duplex receptacles?

The fact the old receptacles contacts were worn out hardly justifies replacing a 2 wire duplex receptacle with a 3 wire grounding type receptacle.



Worrying about a 20 amp duplex as 1 in 40,000,000 compared to 100% of worn out crap waiting for a fire due to the incredibly poor connection at the duplex...


I doubt if your landlord or his insurance company would agree.

For what it's worth new residential dwelling units being built today have branch circuit AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter) protection. IF a receptacle contacts pressure becomes poor and series or parallel arcing occurs between the plug blades and receptacle contacts, or anywhere from the AFCI branch circuit breaker in the electrical panel, to any line side arcing connected load the breaker will trip open. That's today. Who knows what safety electrical codes/standards will be required 3 years from now, let alone 40 years from now.

 

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