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I have a 20 amp breaker for my dedicated man cave home theater. It's a rental unit. Recently I had a few loose-fitting plugs on some of the receptacles so I just went downstairs and found the breaker and saw it was 20 amps.

So I went and bought 20 amp receptacles. Only a few fit loosely so I chose to only replace the loose ones. After the install I noticed that the other 2 receptacles were in fact 15 amp receptacles. Is it ok to leave it like it is with both 15 and 20 amp receptacles in that room on the 20 amp breaker and if so what's the max amps i can pull through that circuit?

I think the 15 amp receptacles are on each end of the rooms circuit and the 20's are in the middle. Will that matter in any way? Right now i am pulling around 11-12 amps from that room but most is on a better quality power strip rated at 15 amps. Thanks in advance for the help.

marked as duplicate by isherwood, mmathis, ThreePhaseEel electrical Mar 14 '18 at 22:37

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    Main question is did the outlets you replaced have 12 gauge wire going to them? Also, I will DIY anything in my own home, but I'm not sure if I would even replace a light switch in a rental. – JPhi1618 Mar 14 '18 at 14:44
  • When you say you have a few loosely fitting receptacles what do you mean? Is the entire receptacle springing in when you plug in? Or do you mean the blades of plugs do not make a tight fit into the receptacles? – Jim Stewart Mar 14 '18 at 16:41
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There is an exception in Code which permits the common 15A receptacle on 20A circuits if there are two or more sockets on the circuit. (NEC 210.21B3). The common double receptacle is two sockets. Mirroring that, there is a UL requirement that all 15A receptacles must have an internal capacity of 20A - only the socket itself is 15A.

All the wire in a 20A circuit must be 12 AWG or larger. (Table 310.15(B)(16)). If any of the wire is 14 AWG, then it is a 15A circuit with the wrong breaker on it. 12 AWG wire will not fit in the "backstabs" of 15A receptacles (NEC 110.3b), so if backstabs are in use, a Code violation is definitely present. As a general rule it's best to avoid backstabs altogether, they are the #1 source of arcing failures. (Code won't tell you that, but it does require AFCI breakers to compensate for backstab failures).

Assuming the circuit is correctly breakered, then the maximum load is 125% of the continuous loads (i.e. a 12A continuous load counts as 15A) plus 100% of the non-continuous loads. This total should not exceed the breaker rating. (NEC 210.20).

A continuous load is expected to be on for 3 hours or more (NEC 100). If all the loads are continuous, a 20A breaker can support 16A, and a 15A breaker can support 12A. Otherwise break out the calculator.

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15 amp duplex outlets are allowed on 20 amp circuits, as explained well by this answer: Is using 15 amp components on a 20 amp breaker against code? (I’m not marking this as a duplicate as it only addresses one of your questions.)

For the rest, yes, you are limited to drawing 15 amps from each 15 amp outlet, even on a 20 amp circuit. Of course, if your total draw for all outlets is over 20 amps, you will pop the breaker eventually.

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OP Asked: "what's the max amps i can pull through that circuit"

The MAX Amps you can pull through that circuit is 20 amps as that is the size of your breaker.

Your breaker will trip after you pull 20 AMPS.

Op Asked: "I think the 15 amp receptacles are on each end of the rooms circuit and the 20's are in the middle. Will that matter in any way?"

NO: Your 20 Amp Receptacles are fine.

  • The OP is asking about the 15 amp outlets on the 20 amp circuit. I don’t think there’s any question that the 20 amp outlets are OK. – DoxyLover Mar 14 '18 at 9:00
  • @DoxyLover Op has two questions " what's the max amps i can pull through that circuit" . "I think the 15 amp receptacles are on each end of the rooms circuit and the 20's are in the middle. Will that matter in any way?" – Ken Mar 14 '18 at 9:02
  • So you only answered one of his two questions. – DoxyLover Mar 14 '18 at 9:04
  • @DoxyLover I answered both. 20 Amps is max and his 20 amp receptacles that he added are fine .. I edited my answer and put a NO in front of the second answer to clarify. – Ken Mar 14 '18 at 9:11

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