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# How many lights and outlets can go on 15A or 20A breakers?

Wiki User

2011-03-09 07:36:24

Answer for USA, Canada and countries running a 60 Hz supply service.Lights

Lights and outlets are normally wired on separate branch circuits, which means that the lights will be protected by a separate circuit breaker to the one which protects the outlets.

Asking how many lights can go on a branch circuit is like asking "How long is a piece of string?". It is impossible to give a general answer because the total number of lights that can be installed will depend on the wattage and amperage drawn by each light and on whether or not they will all be switched on together at the same times of day or night.

If you cannot work out the total amperage of the lights you want to use at any time, compared to the safe load current of the circuit breaker on your lighting circuit, the best advice anyone should give you is to call a licensed electrician for advice.

Outlets

The number of outlets on a 15 or 20 amp circuit depends entirely on what you will plugging into those outlets. If you are plugging in an appliance that will pull 10 amps then you cannot also plug in another one taking 15 amps!

Many different combinations are possible, for example a 15 amp circuit may have 15 outlets but only 2 are being used at any one time, such as a floor lamp and a TV.

Generally speaking, most homes have 8 to 10 outlets per a 15 amp circuit. Not all outlets are used at the same time, a lamp here, a TV there, not too much. Regarding lights, you need to add up all the amps pulled by all fixtures on that circuit. The total amps pulled should not exceed 80% of the circuit breaker's maximum amperage.

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There is an allowance of 1800 watts per outlet for 15 Ampere 120 volt convenience outlets ans 2400 watts per outlet for 20 Ampere outlets.

It is required that a continuous load [operating over 4 hours] be served such that the circuit is not loaded past 80% of its capacity, which would allow a continuous 16 amp load on a 20 amp circuit. If there were 2 loads planned, the combined continuous load could not exceed 16 amps between both devices.

See NEC [NFPA 70, 2005 edition - National Electrical Code (c)] Article 210, sections 210.20, 210.21 and 210.23. The NEC does not specify a maximum number of outlets per circuit.

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As always, if you are in doubt about what to do, the best advice anyone should give you is to call a licensed electrician to advise what work is needed.

Before you do any work yourself,

on electrical circuits, equipment or appliances,

always use a test meter to ensure the circuit is, in fact, de-energized.

IF YOU ARE NOT ALREADY SURE YOU CAN DO THIS JOB

SAFELY AND COMPETENTLY

REFER THIS WORK TO QUALIFIED PROFESSIONALS

Wiki User

2011-03-09 07:36:24