# 15 vs 20 amp circuits

C

#### clare at snyder.on.ca

Jan 1, 1970
0
I understand it, and I recommend against using it in a residential
environment for a good reason.

It has plenty of relevance. See below.

It has a decent potential to "blow stuff up", when Joe Bozo homeowner
yanks on the vacuum cleaner cord, cracks the receptacle and goes to
replace it. Joe Bozo homeowner who has no business being in the box to
begin with and doesn't remember which wire went where. I've seen some
pretty screwed up stuff like that and I see no good reason to add this
risk when simply installing a separate box and outlet for the $2.50 will eliminate that risk. That's not a problem with the solution, it's a problem with the problem - and Joe Bozo is the problem - split circuit or not he's got about a 90% chance of screwing something up. S #### Smitty Two Jan 1, 1970 0 If a guy with a normal budget started building a home, and followed the Usenet consensus on how to do it, he'd probably run out of money before he finished the foundation. Wayne I know a guy who started building his own house twenty years ago. He had the land, and$100,000 to start with. He figured the hardest part was
the foundation, so he figured he'd contract that out and do most of the
rest himself. The quote on the foundation came to $100,000. So he jumped in with both feet and learned how to do a foundation. He's pretty much done with the place now, but the finishing touches do seem to go on forever. A #### [email protected] Jan 1, 1970 0 I guess it's my job to disagree with most of the other posters. 15A circuits let you work with 14 gauge wire. It is orders of magnitude easier to wire outlets and lights with 14 rather than 12. I use 12 only for workshops and kitchens where they might actually be needed. Most radios, TV's , and computers use less power today than even a decade ago. When was the last time you tripped a 15 A circuit breaker by overloading it? I always use #14 for all lighting, and #12 for all outlets, and the associated proper breaker. You dont need 20A for lights, except possibly in industrial applications. Just keep the lights together, in other words, dont mix lights and outlets, with the possible exception of closets, where one might add an outlet for occasional use to the lighting circuit, or maybe the same in an unfinished attic. One reason that I learned from an electrician many years ago, was that light bulbs occasionally short internally when they burn out. A 15A breaker will trip faster, so those bulb incidents are less dramatic and less chance of shattering the glass. I just rewired a barn for a friend. He did not want to change the old fuse box. He's retired from farming and dont have livestock anymore, but his light fixtures were all nasty and corroded, and half of them no longer worked. He also had an outlet that had gotten a bolt of lightning and was all charred and being held together with electrical tape. The lighting wires themselves were all still good because they were #12 UF cable. The only problem was this was the UF without ground. But at 30 to 40 feet off the floor, we decided that as long as the lights were porcelain in plastic boxes, there was no real need to a ground wire, as this wire was "grandfathered in". However, we replaced all the wires for the outlets. Even though the lighting wires were #12, I installed a 15A fuse. There are only five lights w/ 100W bulbs. No sense using a 20A, and as I said earlier, if a bulb shorts, it is less likely to shatter the glass. Particularly in a barn where there is hay and stuff like that. (he still bales and sells hay). A #### [email protected] Jan 1, 1970 0 That makes 2 of us. A friend tried to talk me into using #12 for everything (as he'd done at his own place). When I told him that the bulk of the long runs were one light per circuit, and that nearly all of them would be 12W CFs, he started the "what about the next guy" angle. Sheesh! If there's a next guy, and if he wants to use 150W bulbs, and if he thinks that'll stress the #14, then too bad. Wayne I forgot to mention. When putting an outlet for a sump pump or other dedicated circuit with a smaller motor, ALWAYS use a 15A breaker. If that pump siezes or gets stuck from debris in the impeller, you want that breaker to blow before the motor goes up in smoke. A #### [email protected] Jan 1, 1970 0 Just about all the electricians I know and work with use the hole in the side of stripper that is made for making the loop that fits on the terminal screw. Insert tip of stripped copper - fold it over the side of the cutter - install on screw. The tips of the strippers can be used to close the loop tight. <http://www.mygreenlee.com/Products/...=showGreenleeProductTemplate&upc_number=31889> I have one just like that, but a different manufacturer. Which holes are you talking about? I never knew there was a hole for that purpose. I still use a needle nose to make a hook. Of course it takes me only seconds to do it, but if there is an easier way, I'd like to know. Thanks V #### Vaughn Simon Jan 1, 1970 0 On Mon, 24 Sep 2007 00:42:26 GMT, [email protected] wrote: I forgot to mention. When putting an outlet for a sump pump or other dedicated circuit with a smaller motor, ALWAYS use a 15A breaker. If that pump siezes or gets stuck from debris in the impeller, you want that breaker to blow before the motor goes up in smoke. Just to clarify, you can certainly use a 15 Amp (or even smaller breaker) if you wish but the motor will likely start up better on #12 conductors than on #14 because there will be less voltage drop and therefore more starting current available. Further, the motor should really have its own protection. Vaughn D #### Doug Miller Jan 1, 1970 0 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. 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" Not correct. Three colors in the box means there *might* be 240V in there somewhere. It could also mean switched and unswitched 120V. D #### Doug Miller Jan 1, 1970 0 Doug Miller wrote: It has a decent potential to "blow stuff up", when Joe Bozo homeowner yanks on the vacuum cleaner cord, cracks the receptacle and goes to replace it. Joe Bozo homeowner who has no business being in the box to begin with and doesn't remember which wire went where. If Joe Bozo homeowner doesn't have enough sense to turn the breaker off before he sets about replacing the receptacle, and doesn't pay any attention to which wires go where -- there are much larger problems than having an Edison circuit in the box. I've seen some pretty screwed up stuff like that and I see no good reason to add this risk when simply installing a separate box and outlet for the$2.50 will
eliminate that risk.

That's just nonsense. Having only 120V present in the box does nothing to
eliminate the risk caused by homeowners who are stupid enough to work on live
circuits without knowing what they're doing.

You're seeing the wrong problem here.

C

#### Chris Lewis

Jan 1, 1970
0
I'm sure the world will get right on adopting those superior Canadian
electrical standards...

CSA is superior to UL... There's quite a bit of cross-pollination
between the two standards.

The US _used_ to have multi-wire kitchen counter outlets.

Having 30A worth of 120V at every counter receptacle is better than
20A.

However, now that we're going to requiring GFCIs for kitchen counter
outlets, split-wire GFCI outlets are non-existant, and double GFCI
breakers very expensive, we're switching to the US 20A GFCI standard.
But split-wire kitchen counter outlets are sitll perfectly
legal if you don't mind paying for double GFCI breakers.

C

#### Chris Lewis

Jan 1, 1970
0
According to said:
Not "hinkey" Required by code in kitchen countertop applications in
Canada. The breakoff tabs are there for that purpose. You remove them.

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.

S

#### Smitty Two

Jan 1, 1970
0
Jim said:
It's built w/a full basement. It would require =very= elaborate
moving/elevating. I'd do it myself, but don't have the moolah. It is
stunningly beautiful....

What a shame. Maybe he could sell it on ebay. If it's that nice, someone
might pay to have it moved.

D

#### dpb

Jan 1, 1970
0
Jim said:
It's built w/a full basement. It would require =very= elaborate
moving/elevating. ...

No real fundamental difference between moving a house off a basement
foundation as other -- in some ways it's simpler as there's much easier

Does seem like a basic foo-pah by the owner/builder. One wonders...

Seems like eventually that guy would do it on his own and salvage at
least something from his investment so far...

--

B

#### bud--

Jan 1, 1970
0
I have one just like that, but a different manufacturer.

Which holes are you talking about? I never knew there was a hole for
that purpose. I still use a needle nose to make a hook. Of course it
takes me only seconds to do it, but if there is an easier way, I'd
like to know.

I don't see the hole clearly in the jpg.
Along the edge of many strippers is a hole that does not seem to have a
purpose. Put the tip of the wire in the hole and twist. As Dan said -
very fast.

M

#### Mike Payne

Jan 1, 1970
0
Abolutely I understand the concept of order of magnitude. When I was doing
my wiring I found it an orders of magnitude easier to use 14 rather than 12.
I didn't say faster, I said easier.

mike

A

#### [email protected]

Jan 1, 1970
0
Just to clarify, you can certainly use a 15 Amp (or even smaller breaker) if
you wish but the motor will likely start up better on #12 conductors than on #14
because there will be less voltage drop and therefore more starting current
available. Further, the motor should really have its own protection.

Vaughn

I agree to a limited degree. By "limited" I mean it depends on the
distance from the source (breaker box). If the sump pump is 10 ft.
from the box, it really dont matter. If it's 100 ft. it will.
Being on a DEDICATED circuit means it DOES have it's own protection.
Actually, the house I used to live in, I had a sump pump. I put a
single handybox above it and bought one of those cover plates that
consist of a switch and fuse holder on one piece. That supplied the
single outlet for the pump. I would put 10A fuses in it. (they are
probably hard to find these days).

A large motor is another matter. Use large wire for anything over 3/4
HP. Of course many of those are 220V.

C

#### Chris Lewis

Jan 1, 1970
0
According to Pete C. said:
Chris Lewis wrote:

Not really, since there aren't any consumer countertop appliances that
draw more than 15A.

you can run a 1200W toaster and 1200W electric kettle (or electric frypan or...)
simultaneously on a single duplex receptacle. No need to install something as
potentially "industrial looking" as a quad.

I much prefer having more outlets available as in
"quads" and multiple circuits to each quad. My current kitchen has four
such "quads", and each is a separate 20A circuit, so I have 80A
available to my countertops, and that doesn't count a built in microwave
outlet that is on a 20A circuit shared only with the light / vent hood
over the stove.

Minimum Canadian code (minimal counter length) was 60A (four 15A circuits
arranged as two split duplex receptacles). Now it's 40A (two 20A unsplit
receptacles).

[Not counting builtin microwave either - that's supposed to be a dedicated
circuit, just like yours. Doesn't have to be 20A tho. Fridge, garburator,
dishwasher each a dedicated circuit too. With some minor permissible addons
(clocks etc). CEC is stricter on dedicated kitchen circuits than the NEC.
Or at least it was.]
The high cost of GFCI breakers is a problem. I actually saw one
installation where a guy installed a bank of GFCI receptacles right
beside the main panel as the first device on each 120V circuit to
provide the functionality of GFCI breakers. Looked funky, but probably
saved him a couple hundred dollars.

You can do the same trick with splits - remembering that the neutrals
on the split have to be split too (four current carrying conductors
into the box) - you have to split _both_ the neutral and hots on the line side
of the GFCI outlet pair. But that starts to get obnoxious. When the kitchen
gets reno'd, I _may_ splurge on dual GFCI breakers. And make 'em 20A while
I'm at it ;-) Same as your quads, but in just one receptacle ;-)

C

#### clare at snyder.on.ca

Jan 1, 1970
0
Just to clarify, you can certainly use a 15 Amp (or even smaller breaker) if
you wish but the motor will likely start up better on #12 conductors than on #14
because there will be less voltage drop and therefore more starting current
available. Further, the motor should really have its own protection.

Vaughn
But a 1/4 horse motor doesn't draw enough to give appreciable voltage
drop even on #14 unless you have 100 feet of it.

C

#### clare at snyder.on.ca

Jan 1, 1970
0
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.
You are correct. But I stand by my statement - 220 is NO SURPRISE if
you have both a red and a black wire.

D

#### Doug Miller

Jan 1, 1970
0
You are correct. But I stand by my statement - 220 is NO SURPRISE if
you have both a red and a black wire.
There, we certainly agree.

R

#### Rudy

Jan 1, 1970
0
I know a guy who started building his own house twenty years ago. He had
the land, and $100,000 to start with. He figured the hardest part was the foundation, so he figured he'd contract that out and do most of the rest himself. The quote on the foundation came to$100,000. So he jumped
in with both feet and learned how to do a foundation. He's pretty much
done with the place now, but the finishing touches do seem to go on
forever.

The quote to have our basement "finished" while they were building our house
in 2003/04 was $40-45K. I said> forget it..I'll do it. Here we are 3 years later and I have done the full bath (finished) and 2 bedrooms framed/plumbing/electrical/ drywalled. Just putting the last 2 doors on now then SWMBO will paint and get carpet done. I've spent plenty of time (I m retired) but only$ 2K for what we have so
far. This leaves living room/game room and media room areas but since they
re "open concept" it wont be too hard or take a lot of . Easiest part is
electrical..I have 3 full 15A circuits to use for the 3 rooms and the
toughest part (for me) is sheetrock.. I may actually rent a lift this time
for the ceilings.

BTW, a local supplier had about 6 lifts of 9' X 48" X 5/8" firerock get
wet on one corner. It got stained and some had surface mold on the corner
of the paper.
They are selling it for \$ 1.00 a sheet (Yes- One Buck) so I picked up 20
sheets and have cut the ends (1 Ft) off giving me 8 ft sheets of clean stuff
for a dollar. I'm using that vertically for the 8' walls. I may go back for
more.

D
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