Electrical outlet question

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by brosnt1, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. brosnt1

    brosnt1 New Member

    Messages:
    37
    ALL
    I have installed my 2 - 20 amp appliance circuits, and I am ready to install my recepticles. The only 20 amp recepticles that I have been able to find have one of the blade slots at 90 degrees to the other. What is confusing me is my other house which is only 9 years old has the appliance recepticles that have both blade slots parallel to each other? Are these 15 amp recepticles on a 20 amp circuit.
    Thanks in advance for your replys
  2. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Messages:
    3,317
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    When looking at the receptacle with the ground plug on the top:

    A 120 Volt - 20 Amp receptacle has a vertical slot on the left and a "sideways tee" slot on the right. That receptacle will accept either a 20 Amp plug or a 15 Amp plug.

    It is permissable to use the more common 15 Amp receptacle (both slots vertical) on a 20 Amp circuit.

    A 240 Volt - 20 Amp receptacle has a vertical slot on the RIGHT and a horizontal slot on the LEFT. Some (example in link below) may have a tee slot on the right to accept a 15 Amp plug.

    http://www.frentzandsons.com/Hardware References/plugandreceptacleconfiguratio.htm#20 Amp.
  3. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    What are everyone's thoughts about whether you should install receptacles with the ground above or below the current-carrying holes?
  4. cwhyu2

    cwhyu2 Consultant

    Messages:
    1,332
    Location:
    Cincinnati OH
    I like to put them on the bottom.
  5. brosnt1

    brosnt1 New Member

    Messages:
    37
    Thanks for the reply. I did not know it was allowable to use 15 amp recepticles on a 20 amp appliance circuit.
    Thanks again
  6. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    Is this so, and is there a citation for this? I was warned off of the idea of supplying 15A receptacles with more than a 15A breaker (although it was several years ago, so codes may have changed)
  7. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
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    Location:
    North Carolina

    Still the same words that they were in the 1975 code cycle

    [​IMG]
  8. kd

    kd New Member

    Messages:
    207
    If a 20 amp circuit has only one outlet--that outlet must be a 20 amp rating. Even if it is a GFCI.
  9. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    True

    210.20(B) Receptacles.
    (1) Single Receptacle on an Individual Branch Circuit. A single receptacle installed on an individual branch circuit shall have an ampere rating not less than that of the branch circuit.

    Remember that a duplex means two therefore a duplex receptacle is two receptacles. One duplex recreptacle can be installed on a 20 amp circuit.

    [​IMG]
  10. Rancher

    Rancher Guest

    I think it's now recommended, not yet code to put the ground hole up, the reasoning being that if you have a metal face plate and it should become loose, that the first pin that it will hit is the safety ground. I think someone is spending way too much time thinking this stuff up.

    I use plastic face plates in my home and have memorized that the ground pin goes down.

    Rancher
  11. Wet_Boots

    Wet_Boots Sprinkler Guy

    Messages:
    798
    Location:
    Metro NYC
    Thanks for clarifying that for me. I think I was probably looking for a 30A circuit with 15A receptacles, and was properly told it wouldn't be code. And come to think of it, could one even count on being able to use #10 wire on a standard duplex receptacle. I recall a frustrating hour spent trying to fit a 12/3 SJO cord to a mfr-supplied plug that was obviously intended for nothing larger than 14/3
  12. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Messages:
    2,714
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I had heard the intent was to allow any metal object (e.g., silverware in kitchens, bobby pins in bathrooms) to contact or bounce off the ground pin, rather than the hot pin if the plug and worked its way loose enough to expose the pin(s). Makes more sense than some Code items, and there are a few extension cords and appliance cords with molded plugs on them obviously designed to plug in "upside down".

    You got that right.
  13. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
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    Location:
    New England
    While I'm not in love with the European electrical systems, I know in Germany, the plugs are designed so that they don't contact the sockets in the receptacle until they are protected (in a recess) so it is much safer inserting and removing a power plug. Instead of the sockets being just behind the faceplate, they are recessed into a depression around 1/2" deep or so.
  14. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    I must be missing something - but doesn't this seem backwards? Doesn't it imply that the single receptacle could actually be rated higher than the branch circuit it is on?
  15. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT

    Sure does, and what would the problem be?
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2008
  16. SteveW

    SteveW DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,052
    Location:
    Omaha, NE
    What if you have a 15 amp circuit, but put a single 20 amp receptacle on it? Seems like trouble to me!
  17. Chris75

    Chris75 Electrician

    Messages:
    608
    Location:
    Litchfield, CT

    Could be troublesome for someone, but safe, the overload would open way before any damage could happen. This is no different than installing a 40 amp breaker on a 50 amp range receptacle... People just get freaked out with it comes to small appliances.
  18. kd

    kd New Member

    Messages:
    207
    It is not OK to install a 20 amp receptacle on a 15 amp circuit. Look at the table above. It makes the user think that there is a 20 amp circuit feeding the receptacle. Same reason you do not put a 50 amp receptacle on a 30 amp circuit. Our local inspectors require a 20 amp duplex ( or single ) where a 20 amp circuit serves only one outlet.
  19. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,531
    Location:
    North Carolina
    This is correct
    Again this is correct
    Here the inspector is incorrect and I would buck him/her very hard. The local inspector can not require anything that is not in the adopted codes and to make up his/her own rules is a very good way to find their self in the unemployment line.
  20. frenchie

    frenchie Jack of all trades

    But you can put a 50-amp receptacle on a 40-amp circuit... sometimes I wonder about code logic.

    Are those like the recessed receptacles we have here, for behind wall clocks or flatscreens & etc.?

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