Are my circuits overloaded?

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  #1  
Old 03-31-05, 06:07 AM
ghentry
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Are my circuits overloaded?

I am working on a lighting project and read a suggestion here that I map my electrical system before I make any changes. The very first circuit I mapped is worrying me.

The breaker is a 10 amp, and I have 7 receptacles, 2 lights with ceiling fans and 4 lights without fans on this one circuit. Is this ok?

Also a few more questions:

1. Is there a standard formula used to determine how many recept./lights to put on a circuit?
2. I haven't checked the lights yet, but the wiring for the recepts. is 14-2. If I find the same wiring for the lights, can/should I upgrade the breakers to 15 amps?
 
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Old 03-31-05, 06:41 AM
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The breaker is a 10 amp
Are you sure? 10-amp breakers are pretty rare.

Is there a standard formula used to determine how many recept./lights to put on a circuit?
The rule of thumb is no more than 8 "outlets" (lights plus receptacles) on a 15-amp circuit and no more than 10 on a 20-amp circuit. This rule of thumb is ballpark only. You can adjust it up or down (not usually up) based on what you know about the intended usage patterns. For example, if it was in a shop where you had 12 receptacles but they were there primarily for convenience of access and only one was likely to be used at any one time, you could adjust it up. But if you know that a refrigerator is going to plug into one of those receptacles, you would want to adjust it down.

I haven't checked the lights yet, but the wiring for the recepts. is 14-2. If I find the same wiring for the lights, can/should I upgrade the breakers to 15 amps?
Back to my first comment. Are you sure they are 10-amp breakers? What country do you live in?
 
  #3  
Old 03-31-05, 06:59 AM
ghentry
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I live in the great country of Texas

I say they are 10 amp because there is a large "10" on the face of them, "10,000) if I recall correctly. They are Square D I believe. I can take a picture this evening and post it tomorrow if it would help.
 
  #4  
Old 03-31-05, 07:08 AM
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No, they are not 10-amp breakers. What is the number on the handle?
 
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Old 03-31-05, 07:12 AM
ghentry
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I just looked at Square D's website and saw some pictures of breakers. They all had a big 10 on the face of them, and I could see the small and in non-contrasting letters 15 and 20 on the handles. I get today's "duh" award. I'll have to look at them again tonight and get back to you with correct information.
 
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Old 03-31-05, 07:35 AM
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The breaker is a 10 amp, and I have 7 receptacles, 2 lights with ceiling fans and 4 lights without fans on this one circuit. Is this ok?

Why would this not be okay? If you aren't tripping the breaker then you have no issue.

1. On a 15 amp branch circuit you can have 15 * 120 = 1800 watts. On a 20 amp branch circuit you can have 20 * 120 = 2400 watts. Do not exceed those limits for what you think will be running at one time and you are fine.

2. If all the wiring is 14 gauge and all the receptacles are 15 amp then yes, you could change the breaker to 15 amp.
 
  #7  
Old 03-31-05, 10:10 AM
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When Racraft said "If you aren't tripping the breaker then you have no issue.", I'm sure he was assuming you have a 15 amp breaker there. I have seen people put 30 amp fuses on 15 amp wire, and thought our readers might take that as a blanket statement of approval. So just to clarify, if Ghentry had all that inventory on #14 wire a 15 amp breaker, and it's not tripping, then he has no issue.

I offer that clarification with the utmost respect, Racraft.

Juice

(Also from Central New York State)
 
  #8  
Old 03-31-05, 11:19 AM
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Thanks Juice. My answer was actually started much earlier than when I completed it.

Yes, assuming a 10 amp breaker (which we question) or a 15 amp breaker there is no issue if you aren't tripping the breaker.
 
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