Electric - 3 prong outlets.

Sherrie S
by Sherrie S
I'll try to explain this since I am not an electrician. I recently decided to replace all of the 20 year old 15 amp outlets to a nicer color. (the old ones are ugly beige & I wanted pretty white). The electrician suggested I upgrade all of the 15 amp to 20 amp. Most of them are in rooms seldom used. Is there a good reason for the upgrade AMPS?
  10 answers
  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 01, 2012
    If the wiring can support it you can. 15 amp is the limit for 14 gauge. While 12 gauge can handle the 20 amp. unless you are running big power tools or electric heaters 15 amp per outlet is fine. when you do decide get something a bit nicer than the 99 cent bulk packs. you can buy in bulk but get the better grade "boxed" units and use the side screws...the back stab kind suck.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Oct 02, 2012
    @KMS Woodworks Is it possible that I have both 12 & 14 guage in my home now ? How can I tell a "boxed" unit from a cheap unit? I don't want the cheapest thing. Safety & quality are most important so I will insist on the boxed. Thank you so very much.

  • KMS Woodworks KMS Woodworks on Oct 02, 2012
    14 Gauge is often used for lights...with 12 gauge being used for plugs (normally) though I have seen many outlet set up with 14 the "boxed" set are often called the "prograde" http://www.homedepot.com/Electrical-Dimmers-Switches-Outlets-Outlets-Receptacles/h_d1/N-25ecodZ5yc1vZ25ecodZ25ecodZc33a/R-202066707/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=outlet&storeId=10051#product_description

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Oct 02, 2012
    Thank you KMS, you are soooooo good.

  • Nancy Rhodes C Nancy Rhodes C on Oct 02, 2012
    This is something I would not touch without a licensed electrician. If you cause a fire the insurance investigators will find the faulty work and you could lose your home. I had experience with an electrical fire to my house AFTER I had sold it. The complete new wiring did not include the aluminum lead wire which was left in place instead of changing it to copper. The only thing that saved me was that I had called the city inspectors to inspect the electrician's work after completion so this put the monkey on the city's back. I realize your job does not sound major except that you will need to know FOR CERTAIN the gauge of the wires you are working with. Can't be too careful with electricity and I hope you are taking the job seriously.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Oct 02, 2012
    @Nancy Rhodes C I will NOT be doing this job. I just wanted to review what the electrician told me he would recommend. With my knowledge of electric I will stick with plugging something into an outlet; not replacing it.

  • Nancy Rhodes C Nancy Rhodes C on Oct 03, 2012
    Thank God Sherrie for telling me this. I have been worried about you. My knowledge and intentions are about the same as yours. Lol.

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Oct 04, 2012
    @Nancy Rhodes C that is very sweet of you.

  • Sherrie, I believe you and KMS are talking apples and oranges. You are talking receptacle devices and KMS is talking wire rating. Each thing in an electrical circuit has an amps rating: the wire, the device and the breaker. KMS is correct on the wire rating, 14 gauge wire for 15 amp circuits and 12 gauge for 20 amp circuits. That would be for copper wire only. I believe your electrician is talking about replacing the 15 amp rated devices with 20 amp rated devices. Not a BAD idea but also not necessary. In general, electricians use standard 15 amp rated devices for every outlet in the house even on the 20 amp rated circuits. This is allowed by code as is a standard practice. Replacing your 15 amp wire with 20 amp wire would be very costly. I don't think you want to go there. And you NEVER upgrade the breaker without upgrading the wire first. That is a fire hazard and totally against the code. Next is the grade of the device. Standard, middle grade, heavy duty and spec grade. If you use an outlet a lot, always pluging in and unpluging stuff, I would go with a heavy duty device. Otherwise go with the standard device unless you have extra money to spend. A heavy duty receptacle can cost a pretty penny, $6 - $9 each. Standard receptacles are under a dollar. Hope this helps. Midlantic Electric Inc

  • Sherrie S Sherrie S on Oct 09, 2012
    @Midlantic Contracting LLC / Midlantic Electric Inc You are correct about what the electrician suggested. After asking him some questions (based on KMS reply) he agreed that I only needed 15 amp replacements in the rooms where I wanted them replaced. We didn't get the cheapest nor the most expensive receptacle. Thank you for responding.