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15A automation switch on a 20A line?


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Many of the light switches in my home are connected to 20A circuit breakers, and unfortunately the Z-wave and ZigBee automated switches that I've found are only rated for 15A (if any amperage rating is listed at all).  Does anyone know of a model z-wave or zigbee switch or dimmer that is rated for use on a 20A circuit?


If there aren't 20A switches available, do electrical codes allow 15A switches on a 20A line if there are only lights controlled by the switch?  My understanding was that a 15A switch could not be used on a 20A line because a short could burn out the switch before tripping the breaker and start a fire.

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I am not sure what the NEC says but a 20A breaker is meant for an entire circuit.  This may consist of multiple outlets (or lighting circuits) and each one cannot be connected to a 20A load.


I am pretty sure it's not uncommon to use 15A switches or outlets in a 20A circuit.  They key piece it to not overload the switch or outlet itself with whatever you are connecting to it.


Just my 2 cents.


Update: I have found a few web forums with comments from electricians and they cite sections of the NEC code.  You only need 20A switches if there is only 1 switch on the 20A circuit or if there is only a single outlet on the 20A circuit.  This is because a dedicated circuit rated at 20A you would expect the entire load to be going through the single switch or single outlet.

Edited by cskenney
add'l info
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Good topic, pull one of your existing switches to see what it is rated for.

When I swapped out switches in my home I used GE/Jasco. A 20amp breaker that I thought ran the hall way light turned out to run several outlets as well.

Thanks for the detail cskenney.

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Thanks for the update cskenny.


Which model GE/Jasco switches did you use schoondoggy?  


I replaced almost all of the old wiring in my house since a lot of it was cloth-wrapped aluminum wire that had begun to break down and fray.  The new wires were 12 gauge on 20A breakers with 20A switches for the lights.  Most rooms contain a single circuit powering a few outlets and 1 or 2 light fixtures attached to the switch.

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  • 5 months later...

I use a power conditioner, if the power line is stronger, my UPS can regulate for safe and steady power. Especially since the products being plugged in aren't cheap, it's worth protecting.

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