Maximum nunber of outlets?

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  #1  
Old 08-26-05, 09:28 AM
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Maximum nunber of outlets?

What is considered, by code or convention, the maximum number of outlets allowed on a single 20A residential circuit (excluding oven, microwave, refrigerator, and other 'specialty equipment')?

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Old 08-26-05, 09:54 AM
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Testunit,

The NEC does not actually tell the electrician how many recepts or outlets they can place on a single circuit but rather explains the method for determining how many circuits are needed for a given dwelling.

For example you are speaking of a kitchen per say since you refer to other items found in a kitchen and NEC says you are required to have a minimum of (2) 20A Small Appliance Circuits but you can most certainly have more if you wish.

The idea is that you have both circuits on the counter which is required in Art 210-52(3) but also may do the pantry and dining room recepts as well....So you are asking how far can you PUSH those circuits.....

Well again the code does not give a number....except that you MUST have a minimum of (2) circuits for small appliance circuits but we usually run (3)...(2) for the kitchen and one that picks up the fridge and then takes care of the dining room and pantry if their is one.

You will not have many issues if you remember to keep the (2) required circuits to the counter area and island areas ( which has its own NEC requirements Art 210-52(c) if you have that and even the dinning room you would generally be fine.

Here is a way to think about how many circuits you need in your house for general purpose and has NOTHING to do with the 20A circuits above for a kitchen....

Lets say you house is 2,100 Sq Ft. and you want to know how many circuits I need to do this per NEC...if you follow the spec 6' & 12' layout guidelines...

Ok.... Step 1. : 2,100 Sq Ft x 3VA = 6,300VA
Step 2 : 6,300VA (divided by ) 120* Volts (equals ) 53 Amps
Step 3 : 53 Amps (divided by ) 15 Amps = 3.53 circuits ( round to 4 circuits )

Thus you need at least (4) 15A circuits for general lighting & receptacles
* Use 120V single-phase unless specified otherwise

So if you did the same thing using 20A circuits it would be 2.63 circuits ( round to 3 circuits )


AGAIN......this has NOTHING to do with your kitchen circuits....you are required to have a minimum of (2) in the kitchen and they can serve ONLY that kitchen and no other kitchen...


Now it is also common for Electricians to simply use a "feeling" method to the number on a circuit....they can say otherwise but I do not know a REAL electrician who sits down and maps that out.....I know we use a general rule in our firm of this.....15A Circuit no more than 13 outlets ( outlets being lights as well ) and on a 20A circuit for general lighting no more than 16 outlets ( NOT IN KITCHENS )....WHY do we use this personally...because our local inspector set the MAX for everyone around here for general purpose lighting and recepts but other electricians in other areas may have different views.

I also know many that use the 1.5A per device and outlet method....meaning they add up EACH light bulb and recept on a circuit and apply 1.5A to each....in other words 15A (divided by ) 1.5A = 10 items and the same for 20A ( divided by ) 1.5A = 13-14 items respectfully.

Hope all this assists you...but if you are dealing with a kitchen the ruling is clear...
 
  #3  
Old 08-26-05, 10:05 AM
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I don't remember if this was code or just a rule of thumb, but I was told one 15A circuit for every 600 square feet of living space. Seems like one 20A circuit for every 800 square feet would be reasonable.

To answer your question more directly, you need to look at what is going to be plugged into outlets on a particular circuit to make sure you are not asking for more amps than your circuit carries. Let's use a simple garage example: you have overhead lights and an outlet on a 15A circuit. This would not support the use of a 15A table saw if you wanted the lights on at the same time.
 
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Old 08-26-05, 10:15 AM
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(excluding oven, microwave, refrigerator, and other 'specialty equipment')?
We have to assume he/she is refering to kitchen circuits and general use purposes versus dedicated equipment.

Obviously any high demand or dedicated circuits would need to be supplied for dedicated equipment. Most normal non-professional circular saws will do fine on a general purpose recept...
 
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Old 08-27-05, 05:58 PM
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Maximum number of outlets?

To be more specific, I currently have each room (containing eight outlets each) "home-wired or home-runned" to a single 20A CB for each room. These are wall outlets only, lighting is placed on separate circuits. I'm aware of Code requirements for kitchens, bathrooms, outside/garage, etc. I gather from the replies that I've received that eight standard use outlets on one 20A is acceptable by most counts.

Advise if I've misunderstood.

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Old 08-27-05, 07:56 PM
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Yes, as you have stated they are for general use then you are fine. I do not like to have 8 recepts on one circuit that feeds a counter top because chances are a normal counter top would not have room for 8 recepts....much less the fact you have to have (2) circuits supplying it anyway.

But if your question is on "general" use recepts on a 20A circuit then you are fine with 8.
 
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