15 vs 20 amp circuits

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Pete C. wrote:

I see people below disagree with "hinky". I don't know the term. However, as the "Joe Blow" guy who messes with outlets occasionally, I would be quite unhappily surprised to discover by accident that I could get 220 between some wires on the same outlet. Yikes. Also, I've got some house intercoms that apparently don't work right when plugged into "different legs" of the 240. On the other hand, if I were doing it to my own house, it won't be a surprise so who cares? (just my 2 cents, etc...)

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wrote:

It's no surprise anyway if you know what you are doing. 3 colours in the box means their's 220 in there somewhere. Splits will have both red and black "lives" plus the white "nuetral"

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on dot ca wrote:

Why? If you have the breaker off like you're supposed to, the voltage between all the wires will be -zero- regardless of how the circuit is wired.

Not correct. Three colors in the box means there *might* be 240V in there somewhere. It could also mean switched and unswitched 120V.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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On Tue, 25 Sep 2007 11:45:28 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

You are correct. But I stand by my statement - 220 is NO SURPRISE if you have both a red and a black wire.
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on dot ca wrote:

There, we certainly agree.
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Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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According to <clarence at snyder dot on dot ca>:

I'm going to suggest a slight rephrase:
220 SHOULD be no surprise if you have both a red and black wire.
If it is a surprise, you have no business futzing with wiring.
[In realith, 220 shouldn't be a surprise even if you only have a black and white wire. Think 220-only circuits. Like electric baseboards and perfectly legal practise of using ordinary wire, rather than the somewhat less common black+red+ground/no white wire.]
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Chris Lewis,

Age and Treachery will Triumph over Youth and Skill
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wrote:

Not "hinkey" Required by code in kitchen countertop applications in Canada. The breakoff tabs are there for that purpose. You remove them.

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According to <clarence at snyder dot on dot ca>:

As mentioned elsewhere, recent code in Canada now gives you a choice: split outlets or US-style 20A counter outlets. Thing is that they now must be GFCI, and with splits it's real expensive (requires a double GFCI breaker), so I imagine most new homes are going US-style with GFCI.
Also, to be anally correct, the breakoff tabs are not just for split (multiwire) outlets, but for switched/unswitched halves.
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Chris Lewis,

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On Sep 25, 7:39 am, snipped-for-privacy@nortelnetworks.com (Chris Lewis) wrote:

My understanding is that Canada requires GFCI protection only within 1m of a sink, and that all other kitchen outlets can be non-GFCI, either the traditional splits (in 15 or 20A) or 20A t-slot non- splits...that's based on the latest P.S.Knight book. Am I reading that wrong?
Chip C Toronto
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I'd have to double check. But considering the speed in which the US NEC went from a similar rule to "all counter outlets", I wouldn't expect it to stay that way long here.
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Chris Lewis,

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clare at snyder.on.ca wrote:

c:
Splitting circuits is nice if you want lots of switched receptacles, but it should be borne in mind that using 14/3, and running from outlet to outlet, the boxes will need to be 20 cu in. We will also be dealing with a multiwire circuit, which does save power and material cost, but adds its own set of problems if the neutral goes bad (which shouldn't happen if the job is done right, but the point is that the potential is there. 240v potential, that is. :) )
Another point is that a tied breaker is desirable for safety, but takes away one advantage of wiring a room with more than one circuit. You can't shut down / trip one without going dark, unless you add yet another.
I wouldn't say there's one "CORRECT" solution, but a large set of correct solutions that may be evaluated for any given case. Every solution has its advantages and drawbacks.
14 AWG /is/ easier to work with. It's not a huge difference, but it's noticeable. It also saves copper, and costs less. These things add up. I use it when I can.
I'd advise the OP to go with 20A circuits for the basement, for the same reason as the Code requires 20A small appliance circuits. One might want a workshop down there some day. On the other hand, there's no reason not to use 15A receptacles on a 20A circuit if the particular use doesn't require 20A.
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snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

You sure? By my count that would be six wires and four caps, which under local code would require a 15 cu in box.
Chris
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Chris Friesen wrote:

CF:
Hmm...lemme check my work.
One 14/3 in - 3 allowances One 14/3 out - 3 allowances All grounds in box - 1 allowance One device - 2 allowances Internal cable clamps - 1 allowance
Total 10 x 2.00 cu in for 14 AWG = 20 cu in.
Or 18 if using something without internal clamps, like nonmetallic single gang new-work boxes. I tend to use 3 1/2" deep metal boxes on old work, with internal clamps, though if I have a really DEEP wall (such as a baseboard outlet over lath&plaster over /internal/ board sheathing over full 2 x 4 studs) I may use external clamps threaded into the box back. I find external clamps to be otherwise unwieldy in old work, and plastic boxes to do a poorer job than metal at clamping to lath & plaster, so I tend to favor schemes that keep the volume <= 18. On new work, I tend to use Carlon Superblue deep boxes, with 22 cu in, which allow the split receptacles with either 14/3 or 12/3.
Now that I think of it, the lower volume needed for a split circuit using 14/3 /does/ provide a good argument for that wire size in general lighting. I can't say the fatigue issue bothers me a whole lot. People who nick their wire are probably screwing up a lot of other things as well; bad nicks seem to go with multiple wires on 1 screw, backwards loops, and cheesy drugstore wirenuts screwed on too loosely. I also haven't seen as many cases of too much wire stuffed in as too little, and the wonderful practice of pulling in the cable tight, cutting it off 4" past the KO, stripping 2" of jacket, and pushing it back as the receptacle goes home,with no clamp, of course. Ugh.
G P
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snipped-for-privacy@gannon.edu wrote:

Ah...I think this is a CEC vs NEC difference. For us in Canada each #14 insulated conductor counts as 1.5 cu in, the device counts as two insulated conductors. Pigtails, bare grounds, and cable clamps don't count, but we have to count the number of insulated twist caps separately.
With one device, 6 insulated conductors and 4 insulated caps (one for the ground) we're allowed to use a 15 cu in box.
Chris
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I seem to recall seeing that the 2008 version of the NEC will require AFCIs on just about all of the 120Vac circuits, not just the ones for bedrooms.
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nosmo snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Good thing I did my electrical rebuild in 2006 eh? Actually it wouldn't have mattered since I'm outside city limits and per the city building department I didn't need any permits or inspections. I was a little worried about how the AFCIs for the bedrooms would react to the TIG welder and plasma cutter on the shop sub panel, but they seem to be fine.
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mdb wrote:

As others have said, there is no real reason to opt for 15A over 20A other than a minor saving in wire cost and the difficulty of working with the heavier wire. But since you are having an electrician do the job it doesn't seem as though either one of those will matter at all to you. But I can vouch for the difficulty factor if you are doing the work yourself.
I recently added circuits and changed existing ones while doing a basement remodel and 12-2 wire is incredibly stiffer than 14-2 and pulling it through tight spaces above an existing finished ceiling really slowed me down. Even worse was pulling three 10-3 from the box at one side of the house to my workshop near the other end. That stuff felt like steel bar after a few hours of wrestling with it and if I hadn't been building a convenient soffit to cover ductwork for a goodly part of the run I might still be slaving away at it.
Oh, and if you do go with the 20A circuits, make sure that the electrician doesn't cut corners by using lesser-rated receptacles and GFCIs.
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John McGaw
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If you are a home builder and are building 50 homes, then you want to cut costs as much as possible to maximize profit. So 15 amp outlets where not required and as few as possible is the rule.
However if you are that same home builder building your own home, then 20 amp outlets everywhere and plenty of them (no 15 amp outlets)...
"mdb" wrote in message

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How do u tell if u have 15a outlets and/or breakers. Can u use a multimeter to determine amperage?
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The breaker has the amperage stamped on it (usually the handle). The breaker amps should NEVER (at least in most residential circumstances) exceed the rating of the wire.
Wire usually has the wire size stamped on it, if it doesn't, you can tell whether the conductors are 14ga (15A) or 12ga (20A) simply by comparing it to a known piece of wire.
There's three kinds of outlets you might encounter:
1 The 20A kind you can't plug a 15A plug into (one blade is turned 90 degrees), and only accepts 20A plugs. 2 A different 20A kind has a "t-slot", which will accept both 20A and 15A plugs. 3 Ordinary 15A outlets (that won't accept a "true" 20A plug). These outlets are actually rated for 20A - you can draw a total of 20A from the receptacle (if the breaker will allow it), but no more than 15A from either outlet. Which means you can install these on 20A circuits, but the devices you plug into it are limited to 15A plugs.
[In other words, all permissible to connect on a 20A circuit.]
In the US, where 20A general purpose receptacle circuits are legal, most are wired with outlet (3) only. 20A plug devices are rare. In those rare cases where it's likely that a true 20A device is required, you use a T-slot receptacle (2). You won't see (1) on general purpose circuits - they're primarily for dedicated 20A appliances.
In Canada, until quite recently, general purpose 20A circuits were essentially illegal, because (2) simply were never approved for sale. The only 20A/120V circuits you see were for dedicated equipment, usually direct-wire. As such, 120V/20A outlets (1) are extremely rarely used. I've never seen one in residential wiring, only in workshops and industrial situations for power tools.
I don't think I've ever seen a T-slot outlet in use in Canada, except for a couple archeological finds that predate plugs with ground pins. This'll change with the latest amendments to the CEC.
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Chris Lewis,

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