Outlets per circuit

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Old 05-16-05, 11:58 AM
Robyn Brossman
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Outlets per circuit

I am rewiring a house and would like to know how many 15 amp outlets I should put on one circuit? I am using 12 guage. wire. I thought I would be able to find some kind of table with recommendations. The length from the main circuit box would be somewhere around 40-50 ft at most. Thanks, Robyn
 
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Old 05-16-05, 12:15 PM
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hi
code requires 8 outlet max per 15 amp circuit
kitchen and bathroom only one per circuit and gfi only
pg
 
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Old 05-16-05, 12:30 PM
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In the US there is no code limit in the number of outlets on a single curcuit; however, around 10 to 12 appear to be a good working numbers. (In Canada the code limits the count to 12)

By the way, you can install 20 amp outlets using 12 awg cable.
 
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Old 05-16-05, 12:41 PM
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I don't want to disagree, but I believe in the US there is no limit, even for bathroom and kitchen circuits, on the number of outlets. (but they must be CFI protected, as you say). Unless, of course, your local authority is overriding the national code. There are lots of other code requirements for kitchens and bathrooms.

Interestingly, in Canada, kitchen circuits are limited to 2 outlets, which are not allowed to be adjacent outlets. But thatís another story.
 
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Old 05-16-05, 12:48 PM
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In the US there is no limit for receptacles per circuit, even for kitchen and bath circuits.

However, It doesn't make sense to put on too many, as you can't use them all at once if they are pulling much load.
 
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Old 05-17-05, 09:57 AM
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my 2 cents

hi
a 15 amp circuit is 1500 watts no?
if you have a toaster and an electric teapot at the same time it might blow the circuit?
pg
 
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Old 05-17-05, 10:47 AM
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a 15 amp circuit is 1500 watts no?
That is correct. A 15-amp circuit is not 1500 watts.

if you have a toaster and an electric teapot at the same time it might blow the circuit?
That is also correct. On any circuit, if you put too much on it, you might blow the circuit. You can easily blow a circuit with only one duplex receptacle on the circuit. On the other hand, you might have 500 receptacles on one circuit and not blow the circuit. There is no substitute for going through life with your eyes open. And we have circuit breakers for those who close their eyes.


Although the national electrical code in the U.S. does not limit the number of receptacles on a residential branch circuit, some local codes do, so it's always wise to check with your local building department.
 
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Old 05-17-05, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Robyn Brossman
I am rewiring a house and would like to know how many 15 amp outlets I should put on one circuit? I am using 12 guage. wire.
Not to get off topic, but since you are running 12 guage wire, why dont you make it a 20 amp circuit?
 
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Old 05-18-05, 08:11 AM
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my 2 cents

1. Find the circuit breaker or fuse - If you suspect that one of your circuits is being asked to do too much, you need to find out what it should be able to do. If you don't know which breaker or fuse is protecting that circuit, do this: plug a radio into a receptacle that's part of the circuit and turn it up loud enough that you can hear it when you're at the electrical panel. At the panel, turn the breakers off and back on, or unscrew and re-screw the fuses one at a time. Radio off? That's it.


2. Note the amperage of the fuse or circuit breaker - Screw-in electrical fuses have their rating printed on the face of the fuse. Take the fuse all the way out and carry it to a good light if you have difficulty reading it. Circuit breakers have their value marked on the tip of the trip handle. What you're looking for is a number that should be either 15 or 20.


3. Note the voltage - Look at the schedule on the inside of the panel door. It will have the voltage printed on it It may be in the form of two numbers separated by a slash, as in "240/120." If so, you want the smaller number - the one following the slash. In North America, most homes have 120 volt branch circuits. In other parts of the world, the voltage may be more - usually 240.


4. Calculate the watts available - Watt's Law states that watts equal volts times amps (W=V x A).


5. 15 amp circuits - A 15 amp, 120 volt circuit has 1,800 watts of power available for all the devices plugged into it (15 x 120 = 1,800).


6. 20 amp circuits - A 20 amp, 120 volt circuit has 2,400 watts of power available for all the devices plugged into it (20 x 120 = 2,400).


7. What about the "80% Rule?" - It depends on how long the load will be connected. The NEC (the National Electric Code) has a requirement that branch circuits be loaded at no more than 80% of their overcurrent protection rating - fuse or breaker size. But that only applies to a continuous load, which is a load that will be connected for three hours or more at a time. So if you're wondering whether the circuit will handle your new computer, use the rule. For a hair dryer, ignore it.


8. 80% of a 15 amp circuit - is 12 amps, or 1,440 watts at 120 volts. Your 450 watt home computer system, plus 150 or so watts of lighting load, should work fine.


9. 80% of a 20 amp circuit - is 16 amps, or 1,920 watts at 120 volts. The 1,875 watt hair dryer you're lusting for should be OK on this circuit. You're not going to have it on for more than three hours at a time, are you?
 
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