What is total amps allowable per circuit?

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Old 06-16-04, 07:17 PM
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What is total amps allowable per circuit?

I just blew a breaker by having a 25 yr. old side by side GE refrigerator, a 1350 watt microwave and a 1600 watt toaster oven on the same circuit. What is the maximum amps or watts allowed per circuit? Could I still use the same 3 on the same circuit if I am careful not to use the toaster oven & the microwave at the same time? I could not find the watts for the refrigerator.
 
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Old 06-16-04, 07:44 PM
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The answer is simpler than you might suspect. The limit of a 20-amp circuit is 20 amps. The limit on a 15-amp circuit is 15 amps.

At nominal North Americal voltages, that translates into about 2400 watts on a 20-amp circuit or 1800 watts on a 15-amp circuit. So clearly you can run one of the three at a time on the circuit, no matter whether it is a 15-amp or 20-amp circuit. Whether you can run two simultaneously depends on whether the circuit is 15-amp or 20-amp, and the electrical specs of your refrigerator.
 
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Old 06-16-04, 07:47 PM
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The short answer is that "it depends". It depends on the size of the wire in the walls and the breaker/fuse installed in the panel. The most common circuit is 15 amps (about 1'800 watts). Having any two of your appliances on at the same time will probably trip your breaker. For the sake of your power bill, I would get a new refridgerator.
 
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Old 06-16-04, 07:49 PM
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P = VI, or Power = volts times amps.

Using the above formula and 120 volts, a 15 amp circuit can supply 1800 watts, and a 20 amp circuit can supply 2400 watts.

The power specified on an appliance is usually the maximum wattage, and you don't hit that maximum all the time. A circuit breaker can also tolerate more than the indicated amount of current for some period of time.

However, a toaster oven and a microwave by them selves may be enough to trip the breaker if the timing is right. Add in an old refrigerator and you are asking for trouble. Certainly you are not going to be able to use all three at the same time, as you have discovered.

I am guessing (by the appliances) that this is the kitchen. Is this a newer house? A newer house would need to have two circuits dedicated to the countertop. Is there another receptacle that you can plug one of those devices into?
 
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Old 06-16-04, 09:34 PM
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what is total amps allowable per circuit

How do you know whether it's a 15 or 20 amp circuit? Is it marked on the panel? Yes it is the kitchen and yes there are at least 2 circuits because we were able to plug the refrigerator into an outlet that worked while waiting for the electrician. I can move the toaster oven but it was such a nice cozy spot for the two appliances in the corner! Is it not advisable to use extension cords with a microwave or toaster oven? Thanks much from all who answered.
 
  #6  
Old 06-17-04, 04:58 AM
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the circuit breaker amperage is usually marked on their handles. It will show 15, 20,or whatever. That is the amount of amps that the breaker will handle.
 
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Old 06-17-04, 05:27 AM
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You can use an extension cord with your toaster oven, but it is not suggested. If you do decide to use one, buy a new one. Make sure that it is heavy duty and buy one that is just the right length, do not buy one that is longer than necessary (the extra cord just gets in the way and could cause trouble). Do not under any circumstances use an inexpensive multi-purpose extension cord on a kitchen appliance.
 
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Old 06-17-04, 01:52 PM
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what is total amps allowable per circuit

So that's what those numbers mean on the breakers! They appear to be color coded as well--thanks for the info. Also the suggestion to avoid an extension cord is well taken--we did move the toaster oven to another circuit, not happily but so be it. Thanks to all who answered.
 
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