Self Help Forums

Go Back   Self Help Forums > Repair > Electrical - Existing Home
Register FAQ Members List Calendar Today's Posts

Electrical - Existing Home Electrical Repair / Remodeling Ideas / Problem Solving Solutions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1   IP: 71.234.244.41
Old September 30th, 2008, 08:26 AM
Kane007 Kane007 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 7
Default 20 amp GFCI vs. 15 amp in kitchen... not sure

My house is about 60 years old. I have been replacing all of the outlets in my house because they are all old. In my kitchen, there is an outlet near my sink that is not GFCI protected at neither the breaker, nore the outlet. It is a 20amp circuit, and this outlet in question is rated at 15amps. This is an outlet that I have several high wattage small appliances connected to. I havent had any problems so far but I want to replace it with a GFCI. The current outlet is 15amps so should I replace it with a 15amp GFCI or put in a 20amp GFCI? Will it be a problem to replaced it with a 20amp even though the current outlet is 15amp? Also, I will want to plug in a 6 outlet power strip to this outlet as I currently am doing and the strip is rated at 15amps, so is this safe?
Reply With Quote
  #2   IP: 207.35.6.2
Old September 30th, 2008, 09:44 AM
joed's Avatar
joed joed is offline
Super Moderator

 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Welland Ontario
Posts: 4,606
Default

It is perfectly safe to install a 20 GFCI on a 20 amp circuit. Not sure the power strip is a good idea. It could easily overload the circuit with 6 devices.
Reply With Quote
  #3   IP: 71.234.244.41
Old September 30th, 2008, 10:42 AM
Kane007 Kane007 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 7
Default

okay, but would it be safe as long as they are all not on at the same time? I dont really have much of a choice because I only one 20 amp circuit available in my kitchen since the second 20amp is going to my garbage disposal. I opened up the outlet which has all of these small appliances plugged in and everything seems to be okay... no melted wires or burnt receptacle but I will still replace it with the GFCI..
Reply With Quote
  #4   IP: 71.234.244.41
Old September 30th, 2008, 10:44 AM
Kane007 Kane007 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 7
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
It is perfectly safe to install a 20 GFCI on a 20 amp circuit. Not sure the power strip is a good idea. It could easily overload the circuit with 6 devices.

Also, so it doesnt matter that my current outlet is 15amps? I can still go ahead and replace it with a 20amp, as long as my circuit is 20amps right? Some people say that when you replace outlets, match the same amperage as the current outlet that you are replacing.. untrue? Thanks
Reply With Quote
  #5   IP: 130.76.32.144
Old September 30th, 2008, 11:31 AM
suemarkp suemarkp is offline
Super Moderator

 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Kent, WA
Posts: 8,209
Default

In the US, you don't need 20A receptacles on 20A circuits if using regular duplex receptacles. A 15A duplex receptacle is rated for 20A passthrough if it is UL listed. The only reason to install 20A receptacles would be if you have an appliance with a 20A plug. Those are quite rare. Generally, you have to match the receptacle to the circuit, but the exceptions are the 15A on a 20A circuit as long as there is more than one outlet (and a "normal" receptacle has two plug-ins, so it is two outlets -- a duplex).

Generally, the 20A receptacles are better quality, but a spec grade 15A receptacle will have nearly identical guts to a spec grade 20A receptacle -- there is just a T slot -vs- a regular vertical slot.

Most power strips have a 15A breaker built into them. That should prevent you from overloading a power strip that has a light duty 14 gauge cord. If you have an outlet shortage, consider replacing the existing box and outlet with a square box and two receptacles (the first of which is GFCI'd).
__________________
Mark
Kent, WA
Reply With Quote
  #6   IP: 207.35.6.2
Old September 30th, 2008, 12:58 PM
joed's Avatar
joed joed is offline
Super Moderator

 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Welland Ontario
Posts: 4,606
Default

There is a difference between a 20 T slot receptacle and a 20 amp pass through rated 15 amp receptacle. In this case since the circuit is 20 amp either one can be used.
Reply With Quote
  #7   IP: 71.234.244.41
Old October 1st, 2008, 05:50 PM
Kane007 Kane007 is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 7
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by suemarkp View Post
Generally, the 20A receptacles are better quality, but a spec grade 15A receptacle will have nearly identical guts to a spec grade 20A receptacle -- there is just a T slot -vs- a regular vertical slot.

Most power strips have a 15A breaker built into them. That should prevent you from overloading a power strip that has a light duty 14 gauge cord. If you have an outlet shortage, consider replacing the existing box and outlet with a square box and two receptacles (the first of which is GFCI'd).
How do I replace the current receptacle box with a square one? Can it be done from the front of the wall with the outlets facing me or does it need to be done behind the wall? How are the boxes mounted, they must be screwed into the studs right? I guess what I am asking is what would be my procedure to installing the square box to add an additional receptacle so that I can have a total of 4 outlets. Thanks
Reply With Quote
  #8   IP: 64.83.195.10
Old October 1st, 2008, 06:52 PM
junkcollector junkcollector is offline
Senior Member 'Self Help Master'
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Central Minnesota
Posts: 1,421
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kane007 View Post
How do I replace the current receptacle box with a square one? Can it be done from the front of the wall with the outlets facing me or does it need to be done behind the wall? How are the boxes mounted, they must be screwed into the studs right? I guess what I am asking is what would be my procedure to installing the square box to add an additional receptacle so that I can have a total of 4 outlets. Thanks
It would involve disconnecting all of the wiring in the box removing the old box from the wall without damaging the wall. Then the hole would need to be enlarged. A two gang cut-in box would need to get installed, for this application I recommend the kind that gets screwed to a stud (AI smart box) Reconnect the wires and install the receptacles.

It is easier said than done.
Reply With Quote
  #9   IP: 76.104.172.149
Old October 1st, 2008, 08:55 PM
suemarkp suemarkp is offline
Super Moderator

 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Kent, WA
Posts: 8,209
Default

Boxes meant to be installed after the sheetrock is up are called "old work" boxes. "New work" boxes typically have ears you nail to studs, and that will be impossible. The Arlington Smart Box is both.

To get the old box out, after removing all the clamp screws and wires, you can whack it hard with a hammer inward to loosen it from the stud. Then, pry it loose with a screw driver and pull it through the wall (make the wall hole a little larger in preparation for the double gang box will make getting it out easier). Some metal boxes can be twisted apart or cut with a sawsall with a metal cutting blade to get them out. Many of mine have the stud nails visible inside the box, so I just cut those with the sawsall.
__________________
Mark
Kent, WA
Reply With Quote
  #10   IP: 64.83.195.10
Old October 2nd, 2008, 01:19 PM
junkcollector junkcollector is offline
Senior Member 'Self Help Master'
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Central Minnesota
Posts: 1,421
Default

If you can get a screwdriver driven between the box and the stud, and lever it away slightly, you might be able to slip a sawzall blade in there and cut the nails off if they are go through a strap or lugs on the outside. (new work box)

If it's plastic, they are usually pretty brittle by now if they are more than 10 years old, or if they are a Bakelite box. Either one will probably have a sweet spot somewhere that if you whack them with a hammer and screwdriver they will probably shatter.

Last edited by junkcollector : October 2nd, 2008 at 01:22 PM.
Reply With Quote
Reply






Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:02 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.6.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
© 2002 - QuinStreet, Inc.
http://www.selfhelpforums.com