I'm looking to replace my oven (the old one was a 15 Amp) and my new one is 10 Amp, the old one was hardwired my new one has a plug. so I would now need to attach a socket. I am also a little concerned with the heat generated behind the oven.

My understanding is it will be ok because the oven will only draw 10 Amps? there would obviously be an issue if the oven drew 20 Amps and I tried to use a socket rated for 10 Amps. The breaker is rated for 16 Amps.

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    Where in the world is this? – Jim Stewart Aug 18 '18 at 10:18
  • Is this the only socket on the circuit? – ThreePhaseEel Aug 18 '18 at 15:58

This is not exactly a good idea because how will the next home owner know that you installed a 10AMP socket with a 15AMP breaker. Your sockets should definitely be at LEAST at the level of your breaker otherwise the following could happen.

Someone comes in and changes the oven one day and checks the breaker box to see how many amps you can use. They see a 15A breaker and say great I can put a 12A load on this no problem. Then you are sucking 12A from a 10A socket. This will be fine for short spurts but if someone wants to do something like say, the oven auto cleaning cycle, then that socket could melt and start a fire without ever tripping the breaker.

Sockets MUST be rated as high or higher than the breaker that is supplying them.

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  • In the US it's very common to install 15A duplex receptacles on 20A breakers. – Matthew Aug 18 '18 at 15:36
  • @Matthew -- that has to do with peculiarities of NEMA 5-15 duplex receptacles, though – ThreePhaseEel Aug 18 '18 at 15:58
  • Is there any "socket" rated for 10 A? The OP wrote "if . . . I tried to use a socket rated at 10 A." – Jim Stewart Aug 18 '18 at 18:23
  • They might not be in the united states. In any event I think the premise holds. Unless you have a specific outlet which means only certain things will be plugged into it e.g. nema 5-15. You should not do this. – flips Aug 18 '18 at 22:04
  • Just to be clear when I say socket I mean the receptacle i.e a power point. – MrMoogley Aug 19 '18 at 5:48

Yes, you can use a device which draws 10 A on a circuit protected by a larger breaker. For example, table and floor lamps may draw less than 1 A and have light power cords that could not carry 15 A continuous, but code allows them to be used on 15 A circuits.

If the lamp socket would develop a dead short, the breaker would blow before the cord would overheat. If the lamp socket would develop a fault in which it drew 19 A continuously, then the lamp cord would get hot, but the probability of such an event is judged to be nil.

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  • Thank you for the answer. I was more wondering about using a 10a socket/receptacle on a 15a circuit. – MrMoogley Aug 19 '18 at 5:47
  • Yes, I understood your question, and I addressed it by citing a more extreme example of this being allowed, because I didn't know if a 10 A "socket" existed and if you had one in hand. Do you in fact have a 10 A "socket" or are you just thinking you might get such a thing? If you have a 15 A breaker, why not get a 15 A receptacle? Where are you? – Jim Stewart Aug 19 '18 at 11:08

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