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Basement GFCI & 20 amp receptacles

Posted by schreibdave (My Page) on
Tue, Mar 24, 09 at 13:14

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


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Basement GFCI & 20 amp receptacles

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.


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RE: Basement GFCI & 20 amp receptacles

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."


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RE: Basement GFCI & 20 amp receptacles

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.


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RE: Basement GFCI & 20 amp receptacles

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.


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RE: Basement GFCI & 20 amp receptacles

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?


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RE: Basement GFCI & 20 amp receptacles

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.


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