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In my laundry room I have a wall plate, which when I open it...

<< Back to: Electrical Wiring FAQ (Part 1 of 2)

Question by Masconomo
Submitted on 2/15/2004
Related FAQ: Electrical Wiring FAQ (Part 1 of 2)
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In my laundry room I have a wall plate, which when I open it reveals two white (neutral) wires twisted together and two black (hot) wires twisted together.  They are covered by plastic caps.  There is also a bare copper grounding wire.  I want to install a grounding outlet there.  I bought a Leviton 5248-W grounding outlet with 8 Quickwire holes, 4 on the white side, 4 on the black.  I assume that to make this work, I push the two white wires into the "white" side of the outlet and the two black wires into the "black" side of the outlet.  I will also connect the grounding wire to the grounding post on the outlet.
The directions on the box say only to use with a 15Amp branch circuit. Not on 20A circuits.  My home is brand new in the desert of Southern California.
1.  How do I determine if my "branch circuit" is 15A or 20A?
2.  Am I correct in assuming that by running the four wires through the outlet as I plan I am just "tapping" the lines and allowing the previously twisted pairs to conduct electricity throughout the rest of the house?
3. Assuming that I can use the Quickwire, does it matter which 2 of the 4 "white" Quickwire holes I use?
4. Same question re: black side?
5. Just curious, why is Quickwire inappropriate for anything higher than 15A?


Answer by highwood
Submitted on 6/21/2004
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First of all never assume anything,please. life is to short. you must first check what the wiring is takening care of. You do not want to over amp it. I dislike the push in receptacle due to the fact the pressure is what makes the circuit , if it becames loose , heat occurs, then fire maybe, in case the circuit can hold it properly, pig tailing in the trades by adding a 3 wiring under the wire nuts, also you may need to up grade wired nuts. The simpless way is to hire a licensed electricain. to keep you safe, you also assuming that the white wiring is neutral, electrician never assume, it may or may not be, , back in highschool we lost a bright teacher doing a job himself, trying to wired up a dryer, he lost his life , was it worth it, no ob coarse not, neutral should always be check too.


Answer by Hagrinas
Submitted on 8/19/2004
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The only sure way to tell is to check the circuit breaker.  Chances are you already know which one it is so you can turn it off before you work.

Electrical codes require gauge 12 wire for 20 amp circuits.  If it's gauge 14 wire (a bit thinner and easier to bend) then it's 15 amp.  If it's a new home, no inspector would let it pass with gauge 14 wire on a 20 amp circuit.

But the most important thing to keep in mind is that no builder would spend a few pennies more than he has to when building your home.  Electrical codes in California require 15 amp circuits for lighting.  Wall outlets are considered lighting, except in the kitchen and possibly your bathroom.  I don't know the rules for bathrooms, but they do have to be on a GFI circuit, and often that gets shared with the kitchen anyway. So a builder will not put in a 20 amp circuit when he can get away with a 15 amp circuit.

So if it's outside the kitchen, bathroom, or laundry room, and it's not an air conditioner outlet, it's most likely 15 amp.  However, these are general rules and the circuit breaker will be the determining factor.


Answer by Wired Canadian
Submitted on 12/3/2004
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I agree with highwood never ass u me,  it also could be a switch for something.. i would check if it is a receptacle or a switch that you are tieing into,, again loading off another circuit should be checked you do not wana over load the existing circuit.. if you do find it is a good circuit and you have 120 v (measuring from the blacks to white)then do as highwood suggests and put in a third black wire and a third white wire with a bigger marrette and screw down to your new outlet.

forgive the spelling to much shock theropy :)


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