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Kevin, Licensed Electrical Contractor
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 3542
Experience:  30 years Licensed Electrical Contractor in Illinois, Adjunct College Electrical Instructor, Former Electrical Inspector, Diploma: Digital Electronics, FCC Technician License
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How do i convert a 15 amp 120v double receptacle to a 20 amp

Customer Question

how do i convert a 15 amp 120v double receptacle to a 20 amp 125 v single receptacle? The current receptacle has 2 sets of wires coming in and the new receptacle is only set up for one set. Do I just double the wires?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

Hello and welcome to Just Answer. My name is ***** ***** I will be happy to assist you with your electrical question.

1) A 20 amp receptacle needs to reside on a 20 amp circuit breaker with 12 AWG copper wires. Can't use a 20 amp receptacle with 14 AWG copper wires and a 15 amp amp breaker. Thus a code violation:)

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
We are changing the breaker to a 20 amp breaker, are you saying that there has to be different wires too? This is for a tanning bed canopy and the person it was purchased from claimed all they did was change the receptacle
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

1) Yes, a 20 amp breaker requires 12 AWG copper wires for the branch circuit . Can't use 14 AWG copper wires as this will over heat and over fuse the wires if using a 20 amp breaker.

Customer: replied 11 months ago.
How do you tell if the wires are 12 awg or not already
Customer: replied 11 months ago.
we have 20 amp breakers in the box currently, they just go to other rooms, so are you saying those breakers would have different gauge wires than the 15 amp breakers in the same box?
Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

1) All wires will contain the wire gauge on the exterior insulation They will either be 14 or 12 AWG copper. A 15 amp breaker requires a minimum of 14 AWG copper and a 20 amp breaker requires a minimum of 12 AWG copper.

2) All depends upon how the circuits were originally wired. You need to confirm the wire size at the circuit breaker in the main electrical panel for the proper size.

3) For example, if a 20 amp breaker is installed, but the wires are only 14 AWG copper, the 14 AWG wires can over heat and potentially create a fire hazard due to an excessive amount of current flowing thru them. Excessive current creates heat and heat creates melting and melting of wires can create a fire. Thus the reason or the National Electrical Code standards.

4) 14 AWG copper is rated for a maximum of 15 amps and 12 AWG copper is rated for a maximum of 20 amps.

Expert:  Kevin replied 11 months ago.

If you have any additional questions, just let me know and I’ll be glad to answer them for you.

Otherwise, don’t forget to rate me before you log Off.


Customer: replied 11 months ago.
Not happy that I wasted $16 & the question I asked was not answered. The question was how to convert a double receptacle outlet to a single.

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