How many outlets and lights on a 15 amp a/c circuit


Old 03-08-08, 10:23 AM
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How many outlets and lights on a 15 amp a/c circuit

I was wondering how many light fixtures and outlets are acceptable for a single 15 amp circuit wired at 12 guage. I was thinking of adding a light or two to a bedroom and connecting it to a circuit that has currently 6 outlets on it and nothing else.

Also I was trying to figure out how to wire three lights to be on a single switch. I want two of the lights to be in the basement and one to be in the ceiling in the stairwell. The problem is that the breaker of course is in the basement. I'm trying to use as little wire as possible. I was thinking of wiring the three lights in parallel but then I would have two long length's of wire going upstairs, one two the switch and one to the stairwell light. How do I accomplish this using the minimum amount of wire?
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Old 03-08-08, 10:26 AM
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In the US there is no limitation as to how many receps can be placed on a circuit such as this.

as long as adding the lights does not cause a problem in actual use, it would be no problem to add the lights.

take note though that when you use a power circuit for lights, if you would overload the circuit with the vaccum cleaner or whatever, the lights will go out as well. Many folks prefer to seperate the 2 when possible.
Old 03-08-08, 01:46 PM
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I wouldn't worry about using too much wire; many places are very competitive on 12 gauge wire. There are many ways to conserve wire, but I would use extra cable to keep things simple.

If ALL of the cable on the circuit is 12 gauge copper, and the circuit is not de-rated for some reason, and if there are no local codes for the larger wire, you may be able to have a 20 amp circuit, which would give you about 30% more power. I wouldn’t change out breakers unless you are tripping them and have verified there is no 14 gauge wires.

Are you going to wire 3-way switches to control the light above the stairs? I believe that code requires stairways to have a 3-way switch at each level. Even if it's not code, it's still a good idea.

You will need to run 12-3 between the 3-way switches. Then, run 12-2 from either switch to the stairway light (there are several ways to wire a 3-way switch, depending on where power enters and leaves the setup.) You could save a bit of cable by having a separate switch (in the basement) for the basement lights.

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