Latest Discussions : Electrical & Lighting


04:48AM | 01/15/07
Member Since: 01/14/07
1 lifetime posts
I'm new to electrical work and I'm starting one of my first projects. I just bought a recently renovated, older home with new wiring and it has 20 amp receptacles in strange places in the kitchen; i.e. 7 ft from the floor above the sink. My only thought is that the contracter must have put those there for future lighting purposes? My suspicion is aroused not only because of the location of the receptacles, but because the outlets are controlled by a wall switch. I would like to remove the receptacles and replace them with recessed lighting. I read that lights, however, should be on a 15 amp circuit and the circuit I want to facilitate is a 20 amp. I know it is bad to overpower a circuit, but can I "under-power" a circuit for my purposes?


05:42AM | 01/15/07
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
" I read that lights, however, should be on a 15 amp circuit "

The NEC (National Electrical Code) has no such restriction or suggestions.

Lighting can be on a 20 amp circuit.

That said the NEC is only a model code and is not "law". The city/state adopts and modifies the model codes and they them become "law".

Some local modifications only allow 20 amp circuits (or bigger) and that include for lighting.

In other areas the local modifications prohibit lighting on 20 amp circuits.

There is no technical reasons for either changes.

But I am also suspecious of the installation.

First there is no reason for 20 amp receptacles in 99.9% of the applicaitons. Have you every had something that came with a 20 amp plug? 15 amp receptacles can and commonly are installed on 20 amp circuits. And 15 amp duplex receptacles are rated for 20 amp feed through and a totoal of 20 amps between the two halves.

If this is for a future light then all that would have been needed would have been a blank coverplate. Much cheaper and what would be expected.

Most switches are rated at 15 amps, although 20 amp rated ones are available. It would not be proper to use the 15 amp switch feeding a 20 amp receptacle. But it would be OK to operating a lighing fixture if the lighting fixture is less than 15 amps (which anyone that you would install in a house would be).

I don't know what else is on this circuit, but lighting is not allowed on the "small appliance" circuits that serve the receptacles for the countertop.

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