Loading a 15 Amp Circuit - WORRIED!!!


Old 10-19-09, 08:16 AM
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Loading a 15 Amp Circuit - WORRIED!!!

I am not a professional but one of those do it yourself guys. I know a tad about electrical wiring but was not aware of the LOAD peramiters of the 15amp circuit. I now know the 15 amp circuit in my bedroom only will handle 1800 watts. I also know I should only load the circuit with 80% of load (1400 watts). My problem is my remodel is complete and I added a buildout in my master bedroom for my LCD tv and surround sound in the bedroom. BIG problem is that I tapped off of the electrical outlet in the wall (15 amp) that drives all 6 outlets in the bedroom PLUS, the previous owner tapped into the same cirtuit to run the living room buildout for TV and surround sound there. I added all my items (TV's, Deck's, CD's Cox cable boxes, DVD players, 3 in can lighting and such....my total drain on the cirtuit IF all items on the same time (not having anything else plugged into the bedroom outlets) is 1710 watts. Now I know I most likely will not have all of these items on at the same time but is it a BAD thing that I have wired the entertainment centers to feed off of one 15 amp circuit? Believe me, I would have tapped into another circuit but there was nothing close to the bedroom (without tearing out the walls). I would have liked to add a 20 amp dedicated circuit but that was not in the cards. Have I screwed up my remodel from a wiring standpoint or should I be OK? What could happen?

Thanks professionals!!!

Old 10-19-09, 08:21 AM
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"what could happen"

The wife will plug in a space heater, and the ball game(s) turn off with 12 half drunk fans watching. Or even just a hair dryer. Or.... well, you get the idea. It's not likely a fire safety issue, however.
Old 10-19-09, 08:25 AM
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You will probably be fine until you decide to vacuum. You may get some tripping. This condition could also happen in new construction also.

Breakers do not trip as soon as the ampacity is reached. They will tolerate over amperages for a period.
Old 10-19-09, 11:40 AM
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I have two bedrooms upstairs with the outlets and lights utilizing one 15 amp circuit. An entertainment center using a plasma or tv greater than 27" should probably have a dedicated outlet. In my case I ran one 15 amp circuit for my 50 inch plasma and it is an isolated ground as it turns out because the outlet is in a plastic Carlon box. I would at least make a new circuit for that.
Old 10-19-09, 06:15 PM
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IN RESPONSE TO THE LAST POST.........Sir.....I ran 6 outlets off of the main outlet so each of the components (tv, deck, dvd, cox box and 3 in can lights). Is this what you call a "dedicated circuit" as you recommend? If it is, wil this still be OK even though it is all on ONE breaker (15 amp). Thanks so much for your help and response.
Old 10-19-09, 06:40 PM
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No. Having a dedicated oulet would be running a seperate cable like a 12/2 to it's own breaker in the panel then you would have a solid 20 amp feed for all your electronic stuff.

Or atleast a 14/2 with a 15 amp breaker for a 15 amp feed.

What you did is probably ok (although I'm not sure about the can lights being mixed in with the outlets as they are usually seperated)

You will be limited to the 15 amp breaker. You will know you exceed it when it starts tripping.

When that happens DO NOT install a bigger breaker to fix as you will be exceeding the ampacity of your wire. Your only option will be to split your load by pulling in another wire from it's own breaker even if it means sheetrock work

Small price to pay to get good power to your devices.
Old 10-21-09, 07:40 PM
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What AWG is it? If it's 12AWG you could install a new 20amp breaker, which would take you upto 1920w at 80% load.

I don't think it should be a problem as is, but like you, I'm not a pro either. But I find it unlikely that you will ever be using everything at once. But agree you may run into the breaker resetting once in awhile.
Old 10-23-09, 11:11 AM
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I'd agree that you don't have a problem.

Remember, the nameplate ratings on all your equipment indicates the maximum draw. It's rare that any one piece of equipment will reach that draw... and even more unlikely for them all to do it at the same time.

Additionally, the 80% rule only applies to constant loads such as heating. It's always good to design with some headroom, but code does not require it.

As pcboss stated, you may have a tripping issue occasionally if someone plugs in a vacuum or something, but it's not something to worry about.

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