From Mike Holts newsletter. Q8. I have an issue where a contractor used 15A, 125V receptacles on a 20A circuit with 12 AWG conductors. In addition, the contractor used 14 AWG tap conductors to the 15A receptacles. I feel that a 20A rated receptacle is required and the conductors to the receptacle shall be a minimum 12 AWG. Am I right?
A8. Almost. A 15A rated receptacle can be connected to a 20A branch circuit that supplies two or more receptacles (this would include a single duplex receptacle, because it contains two receptacles) [210.21(B)(3)]. However, the tap rule contained in 210.19(A)(4) Ex. 1(c) clearly states that branch circuit taps are not permitted for receptacles. So the 15A receptacles are fine, as long as there are at least two of them on a circuit, but the 14 AWG pigtails are a Code violation
Re: #14 taps on 20 amp circuit#86215 09/26/0307:31 AM09/26/0307:31 AM
Probably confusion with the allowable taps for 'outlets' in Exception 1 of 210.19.(4) and also shown in table 210.24. If I understand this correctly, in a 20A (or even a 30A) circuit, you are allowed to have 14ga tap wires to an 'outlet'...but the outlet must _not_ be a receptacle outlet.
This makes sense since many outlets are fixed known loads, but receptacle outlets have the capability of being loaded until the breaker trips.
Re: #14 taps on 20 amp circuit#86216 09/26/0312:36 PM09/26/0312:36 PM
Before the rocks start flying..... Most installations are inspected "rough" and "final". On "rough", most times, the "tails" are not made-up, unless it's a multi-wire circuit, then the neutrals are tailed. At "final", all the devices, plates, etc, are installed, and the AHJ doesn't take anything "apart" device wise.
Personally, a comm EC that uses #14 tails is not the "norn" around here, as I have never heard of this. (As an EC and an AHJ). Not saying someone would "do it", but it's very doubtful.
The 32 sq mile twp that I am an AHJ in has "everything" from a major regional mall, to office complexes, strip malls, retail, warehouses, hospital, chem plants, and tons of resi, and I have not come across this.
As Bjarney implied, doubtful if it's a $$$ move.
Re: #14 taps on 20 amp circuit#86219 09/26/0305:23 PM09/26/0305:23 PM
I've seen this more recently in residential work...EC's using #12 NM and those cheap duplex from Home Depot....you used to be able to backstab these with the #12, now you need a #14...so they pigtail with #14.
Re: #14 taps on 20 amp circuit#86222 09/27/0309:53 PM09/27/0309:53 PM
EXCELLENT answer Electricmanscott! It is nice to see others referencing known/reliable sources (other than the often ambiguous code-book). Forums would be quite desolate without opinions. However, opinions alone have their limits and are all too often misconstrued as facts.