wiring lights

Old 11-18-04, 08:27 AM
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wiring lights

I'm trying to determine how many circuits I should use to power my lights in a new construction basement.

I have 11 recessed lights, which will have 65 watt bulbs. I also have two pendant lights that will have 60 watt bulbs for a total of 835 watts. Does this require 2 circuits, or 1? I have the recessed light hooked together with 14-2 NM, so I'll be putting in 15amp breakers.

Is there a resource on the internet that will help me determine questions like this?

Old 11-18-04, 08:36 AM
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You can have 12 lights per circuit (if only lights are connected to that circuit)or
8 outlet per circuit(combination of lights and outlet max 8 in total)
14-2 is ok


Old 11-18-04, 08:54 AM
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Does anyone know of a resource on the internet that will help me figure out the math?

What are the rules to follow?
Old 11-18-04, 09:18 AM
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I am by no means experienced in electrical work but here's what I've found.

Watts = Amps x Volts

So if you are using just lights... 835 Watts/110 Volts = 7.5 Amps

Plus you never want to max out a circuit, I've heard that you should only plan on using 80% of the capacity of a circuit, so 15 Amp * .8 = 12 Amps

Now as far as how many lights are allowed on a circuit I have no idea.

But as a precaution check with your local building dept. for what code dictates.
Old 11-18-04, 10:06 AM
Henry V
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I also am not an electrician, but this question is addressed in most basic wiring guides and has been posted in numerous forums, including this one. The answer under the 2002 U.S. NEC appears to be that, absent state or local code variations, there is no precise limit to the number of lights or receptacles on a circuit. It is all a question of the load, and you should not exceed 80% of the NEC-determined capacity of a circuit. On 14 gauge wire the capacity is 1800 watts (15 amp breaker x 120 volts, which makes the safe capacity 1440 watts. This is subject to other derating possibilities, such as bundled wire and ambient temperature, but those would not seem to apply in your case. Based on your description, your 850 watt lighting load can easily be served by a single circuit.

Of course, you should also consider future changes to the circuit. For example, I am looking at rewiring my upstairs. Right now I am planning to just have lights in the bedrooms, but I want the flexibility to change to ceiling fans without a circuit loading problem. For this reason, I expect to use four separate lighting circuits, rather than the current two, even though the load will be very light for the short to medium term.

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