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I presently have a single outlet NEMA 6-20 outlet on a 20 Amp 240 V circuit. Can I install two NEMA 6-15 outlets on the same circuit instead?

Duplex Nema 6-15 outlets are rare, but Leviton does make one. On their site in the description is the word "Canadian". Are these legal in the United States?

  • Is this in your home, and what size (in W/VA/HP) are the loads you are running off this outlet? – ThreePhaseEel Apr 11 '15 at 0:09
  • Yes this is a home (garage). The loads would be 10 amps and 8 amps. – Michael Schmitz Apr 11 '15 at 5:11
  • Alrighty then -- makes sense to me. – ThreePhaseEel Apr 11 '15 at 5:31
  • Oh, by the way -- is this the only receptacle on the circuit? – ThreePhaseEel Apr 11 '15 at 5:36
  • Yes, it's the only one. – Michael Schmitz Apr 11 '15 at 15:32
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Yes, you can put multiple properly rated receptacles on a circuit, regardless if it is 120V, 240V, or 120/240V.

I don't know why the word Canadian is in that description, but a duplex 6-15R is perfectly fine in the US.

A 20A circuit with multiple receptacle outlets can use either 15 or 20 amp receptacles.

Table image from a similar thread.

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  • Unfortunately, 210.6(A) point 2 prohibits 240V receptacles with loads <1440VA plugged into them when you're in a dwelling occupancy... – ThreePhaseEel Apr 11 '15 at 1:19
  • @ThreePhaseEel, this is talking about the load, not how many receptacles are allowed. So this would apply to even one. Also, this is referring specifically to dwelling units and similar areas. I doubt this is what the OP is talking about. I'll quote the NEC handbook commentary in another comment. – Speedy Petey Apr 11 '15 at 1:24
  • "The term similar occupancies in 210.6(A) refers to sleeping rooms in dormitories, fraternities, sororities, nursing homes, and other such facilities. This requirement is intended to reduce the exposure of residents in dwellings and similar occupancies to electric shock hazards when using or servicing permanently installed luminaires and cord-and-plug-connected portable lamps and appliances........ – Speedy Petey Apr 11 '15 at 1:25
  • "......Small loads, such as those of 1440 volt-amperes or less and motors of less than ¼ horsepower, are limited to 120-volt circuits. High-wattage cord-and-plug-connected loads, such as electric ranges, clothes dryers, and some window air conditioners, may be connected to a 208-volt or 240-volt circuit." – Speedy Petey Apr 11 '15 at 1:26
  • it does; I asked about his proposed loads in a comment on the question. (It's a really awkward caveat, I will say that much!) – ThreePhaseEel Apr 11 '15 at 1:26
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The answer is a bit odd -- you can install the receptacle according to Code (ampacity-wise, it's no different than a duplex 5-15R on a 20A 120VAC circuit), according to table 210.21(B)(3) (or the summary Table 210.24 Speedy posted).

However, table 210.21(B)(2) limits you to a maximum of 12A for the entire duplex receptacle, and 210.6(A):

(A) Occupancy Limitation. In dwelling units and guest rooms or guest suites of hotels, motels, and similar occupancies, the voltage shall not exceed 120 volts, nominal, between conductors that supply the terminals of the following:

(1) Luminaires

(2) Cord-and-plug-connected loads 1440 volt-amperes, nominal, or less or less than 1/4 hp

means that you cannot plug a single cord-and-plug connected load 6A or less into the receptacle without violating the NEC, which makes a duplex 6-15R outlet a bit less useful as you wind up with two >6A loads plugged in, only one of which can be on at a time.

Unfortunately, a 6-20T doesn't quite get you out of this mess, either, as you can only pull 16A max from it as per table 210.21(B)(2), and the definition of "single receptacle" in Art. 100:

Receptacle. A receptacle is a contact device installed at the outlet for the connection of an attachment plug. A single receptacle is a single contact device with no other contact device on the same yoke. A multiple receptacle is two or more contact devices on the same yoke.

means that even though you are only putting one receptacle device on the circuit, it is still treated as multiple receptacles by the Code.

As a suggestion, I'd label this receptacle with "Do not use loads less than 6A @ 240V or 1440W" as a reminder to the next person who inhabits your house, and also check with your AHJ as to whether 210.6(A) applies to your situation; if it doesn't, there's no need for the label :)

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  • You have to remember, this rule applies to a dwelling, or within a dwelling. If we are talking about an accessory building to a dwelling, like a garage, IMO this does NOT apply. The first sentence of (A) above is pretty clear on the intent of this section. – Speedy Petey Apr 11 '15 at 19:28
  • @SpeedyPetey -- let me double-check a few things here... – ThreePhaseEel Apr 11 '15 at 19:59
  • @SpeedyPetey -- I suppose it's up to his AHJ (and perhaps w/e building code is adopted in his area) whether an attached garage is considered as part of a dwelling unit or not; he's fine for now either way, though. – ThreePhaseEel Apr 11 '15 at 20:07
  • Consider a residence with an attached workshop, like a wood shop or machine shop. These are relatively common. Consider also a less common type of workshop, for example someone interested in robotics or CNC equipment. All of these things would require 240V receptacles. If 210.6(A) applied to a "shop" space, it would mean 20% of the homes in the US were wired illegally. – cathode Apr 12 '15 at 2:10
  • Also, speaking purely as an opinion, if the AHJ tells me I can't have a 240V receptacle in my workshop to run a piece of equipment with, for example, a 1/5-hp motor, I'm going to tell them to meet me in court. – cathode Apr 12 '15 at 2:12

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