I'm planning to buy a snow thrower with a 15A motor in it. I have an outside receptacle that's rated for 15A and so is the breaker in the electrical panel.

I'm wondering if this will work without problems, or should I take a slightly smaller motor rated for 13.5A?

I plan to run the snow blower off a 12 AWG extension cord (either 50 or 100 foot long).

I'm assuming the 15A of the motor would be the highest current it'd draw, so during start up, or am I wrong to assume this?

  • 2
    Is there anything else on this circuit? If there is, you might find that the breaker trips (and may trip with either thrower, depending on the circuit load). – Tester101 Dec 11 '13 at 11:37
  • @Tester101 No there's nothing else on this receptacle. I'm just unsure of what to buy now, don't want to flip the breaker each time. – G-man Dec 11 '13 at 15:32

Unless it came with a 20A plug (pictured below), it's designed to plug into a 15A receptacle.

20A plug

The 20A plug has one blade twisted 90 degrees to prevent it from being plugged into a 15A receptacle. The corresponding 20A receptacle has a slot shaped to accept a standard 15A plug or a 20A plug:

enter image description here

This assumes that the plug on the snowthrower is factory installed and that someone didn't replace it with a 15A plug. If the motor really does draw 15A continuously, then it probably shouldn't be used on a 15A circuit as the continuous draw of the circuit should be less than 80% of the circuit capacity (12A for a 15A circuit).

Additionally, this assumes that the manufacturer put the right plug on the device. If it was purchased from a major manufacturer (and designed for use in this country) it should be fine, if it's from an off-brand and not UL listed, then it's less certain.

  • I thought so, but I heard you shouldn't load a circuit to its max. amperage, especially with heavy motors like this because of the starting current they require.It could overheat wiring, melt the outlet and things like that. But from what you're saying, there should be no problem (snow thrower has a regular 15A plug on it) – G-man Dec 11 '13 at 5:11
  • This also assumes that the manufacturer put the correct plug on the device - some cheap devices manufactured overseas may not closely follow safety standards. If it's not UL listed, then all bets are off. If you post the manufacturer/model number, someone may have more specific advice about that model. – Johnny Dec 11 '13 at 5:16
  • I posted the link, its made in the USA and ETL approved, so that should all line up that way. I suppose its designed to never draw more then 15A then, so there should be no issue. I just don't want to have to flip the breaker all the time when the machine starts or when it has to really work hard. Looks like I'll be ordering the 15A machine then. – G-man Dec 11 '13 at 5:20
  • 3
    It's probably designed for "peak" 15A current draw with average draw being much lower. I looked it up and and the manual doesn't list any special circuit requirements, so it should be perfectly fine in a standard 15A circuit. – Johnny Dec 11 '13 at 5:24

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