We have a buried electrical copper cables (about 35 feet to the garage or so) that has a 15 amp breaker with 14 gauge wired to the garage. Basically, since Im changing my old double duplex receptacles, I still can use a 15 amp GFCI receptacles since my home is over 40 yrs. old. Correct!! Just want to make sure that I'm in compliance with NEC standards. I don't want to have to reburied 12 gauge wire. Thank you again!

  • 1
    NEC 2017 406.5 (3) specifies that you should replace the receptacle with a GFCI receptacle, but nothing says you need to have a 20A receptacle, except in kitchens and bathrooms (unless I missed something...)
    – Hari
    Feb 24, 2017 at 23:58

2 Answers 2


Receptacles rated 15 amps can be used on 15 amp circuits.

They can also be used on 20 amp circuits as long as you have more than one receptacle (one duplex or two single receptacles) on the circuit.

If you have a single receptacle on a circuit it has to be rated for the circuit, e.g. a 20 amp circuit would require a 20 amp receptacle. A single receptacle in this case is not a standard duplex receptacle. If you have a device with a 20 amp cord then you would need one of these. Otherwise, everything else is just fine with 15 amp receptacles.

Good luck. 😊

  • 1
    Does not apply to the exceedingly common 15A duplex receptacle, which has two sockets on one yoke. It would have to be the rarer simplex receptacle for the "breaker must match receptacle" rule to kick in. In fact I see lots of panels with an "electrician's socket" 6 inches away, a duplex 15A on a dedicated 20A breaker. Feb 25, 2017 at 2:14
  • Good point upon re-reading 210.21 I would agree with you Harper. I have edited my answer accordingly.
    – ArchonOSX
    Feb 25, 2017 at 9:04

At risk of stating the obvious, Code requires GFCI protection. It does not specify whether that is a GFCI receptacle (singular) or a GFCI breaker.

If you have a string of receptacles on a single circuit, and decide not to go with a breaker (ah, the long walk), please go one of two ways. Either

  • Put a single GFCI receptacle in the first box in the chain, and feed all the other receptacles off the LOAD terminals on that GFCI. Leave them as plain receptacles, but add a "GFCI protected" sticker to them. You only need one GFCI per circuit this way. In fact, you only need to change one receptacle (the right one).
  • Put a GFCI receptacle in every box. Don't use the LOAD terminals at all. Use a short pigtail to the LINE terminals, and wirenut that to source and downstream wires. This is expensive, but assures a GFCI trip will only knock out that duplex outlet. Great for freezers.
  • Some combination of the above.

DO NOT daisy-chain GFCI's feeding the LOAD output of one to the LINE input of the next one. People do this all the time, and it's a silly waste of expensive GFCI's. It's not unsafe, just dumb.

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