Basement GFCI & 20 amp receptacles

schreibdaveMarch 24, 2009

I am wiring what will become a basement woodworking shop. And I have a couple of questions.

First, I understand that basement outlets should be GFCI protected. Is that still true for a walkout basement where there is really no chance of standing water higher than 2-3 inches? If I use a GFCI receptacle to protect the circuit, will it protect all of the 7-8 receptacles on the circuit? Or just the first few?

This circuit (actually two of them)will be on 12 guage romex with a 20 amp breaker. Can my receptacles be the 50 cents home depot variety labeled 15amp or do I have to step up to the more expensive 20amp receptacles? I ask because I believe I have heard people here say that the 15amp ones are actually rated for 20 amps. Thanks

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The GFCI receptacle will protect all of the receptacles, etc, connected to the LOAD terminals.
A 15 amp receptacle can accept 15 amp rated plugs (those with two parallel blades). A 15 amp receptacle may be installed on a 20 amp circuit because the 15 amp rating does not apply to the 'pass-through' current, only to the connected devices. A receptacle which is rated for 20 amp devices will accept plugs whose blades are perpendicular to each other and also have a round ground post.

Standing water is not, as far as I know, the determining factor for needing GFCI protection. A 'wet location' is. I would protect a shop.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 1:46PM
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Ron Natalie

Only unfinished basement receptacles need GFCI. If you are finishing off your workshop they are not strictly required.

Here is the definition of basement:

(10) "Basement" means that portion of a building that is partly or completely below grade plane. A basement shall be considered as a story above grade plane and not a basement where the finished surface of the floor above the basement is:

(a) More than 1829 mm (six feet) above grade plane;

(b) More than 1829 mm (six feet) above the finished ground level for more than 50% of the total building perimeter; or

(c) More than 3658 mm (twelve feet) above the finished ground level at any point. Also see "mezzanine" and "story."

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 5:55PM
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You may use 15 amp receptacles on a twenty amp circuit unless that circuit is dedicated to a single outlet.
A duplex receptacle is considered two outlets.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2009 at 7:36PM
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For a woodshop, I would suggest running 2-3 20A circuits with 20A GFCI receptacles at front-end of each ckt and regular 20A receptacles downstream. Table saws and other power tools can draw close to 15A at start-up and when cutting heavy stock. Adding a vacuum system will overload a 15A ckt. Lighting can be 15A but you might want to put some 20A receptacles in the ceiling if you have any tools in the middle of the room.

    Bookmark   March 26, 2009 at 11:51PM
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Thanks for all the input. My plan is to do 2 20 amp circuits at first, then when I figure out exactly where my table say and jointer will go, I will wire them later for 220. Same with the vacuum when I get one.

Are there any special requirements for outlets in the ceiling?

    Bookmark   March 27, 2009 at 11:24AM
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I'm not a pro and I can't find my 2005 code book but...

You might look at using locking plugs (if avail for 20A) or using 20A rated ext cords and strain/tension relief loops. Basically, anything that reduces the strain on the plug end and prevents the plug from being pulled out of the receptacle should work.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2009 at 11:36AM
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