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Thread: 15A/ 20A circuit load question

  1. #1
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    15A/ 20A circuit load question

    I know there is no NEC requirement on how many outlets are allowed on a 15A or 20A circuit but is there a general rule of thumb for this. How many outlets should not be exceeded on a 15A and a 20A circuit in a residential house.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by horrorsix
    I know there is no NEC requirement on how many outlets are allowed on a 15A or 20A circuit but is there a general rule of thumb for this. How many outlets should not be exceeded on a 15A and a 20A circuit in a residential house.

    Impossible to answer.... Any circuit can be overloaded so does the amount of outlets on a circuit really matter?

    Look at it this way, if two devices overload a circuit, then does having 3 outlets vs 50 make any difference?
    Last edited by stickboy1375; 01-29-08 at 09:28 PM.
    "Electricity is actually made up of extremely tiny particles called electrons, that you cannot see with the naked eye unless you have been drinking."

  3. #3
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    My basic rules of thumb are 2 rooms per circuit for the general stuff. Obviously the kitchens with specific rules are wired to code, and maybe I'll add an additional SABC or a dedicated 15 amp circuit for the fridge, dw, and disposal.

    But generally the other rooms of a house are lightly loaded and having a set number of outlets per circuits is pointless.

  4. #4
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    Exclamation

    Quote Originally Posted by horrorsix
    I know there is no NEC requirement on how many outlets are allowed on a 15A or 20A circuit but is there a general rule of thumb for this. How many outlets should not be exceeded on a 15A and a 20A circuit in a residential house.
    IF I had any say I would either do away with 15 A circuits or save them for luminers lighting only and DO Cook County City Requirement of 12 Ga wiring only. Now for 20 A @ 12 ga wire. Just think practically Frying pans Electrictric skillets Toasters etc take 10 Each So in practically 2 or 3 outlets maybe 4 at the most. College students Like to bunch CD, vhs, record changers, audio equipment, guitars, and television sets along with computers, sound systems, faxes equipment, Scanners all taking current so maybe again 3 or 4 outlets and at the same provide 3 or 4 off phase A at the same 3 or 4 Phase B adjacent to it. If you separate the 15 A by color or indelible label to make sure you will get Luminaires only then I would extend the outlets to the max of 6 or 7 Providing all Luminaires are UNDER 150 WATTS

  5. #5
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    It's not about the quantity of outlets supplied, it's about the amount of power supplied. If you want details, here's my very general guidelines:

    Kitchen: 20a, 2 or 3 recepts per SABC, dining room with fridge, DW and disp on 1 20a ckt.

    Lighting: 15a, kit, laundry, foyer, hall, half-bath, liv'g rm, etc. May require 2 or more ckts, esp. if large kitchen, large den, many outside lts, etc.

    L/R and/or Den recepts: 20a, 1 or 2 ckts, also halls, outside (from GFCI in nearest inside recept), misc.

    Bedroom recepts: 20a, 1 ckt for 2 or 3 B/R, 2 for 4 or 5 B/R, etc., and hall.

    Bedroom lighting: 15a, ceiling lts/fans, bath lts/fans, hall & closet lts, attic lts, etc. May require 2 ckts if large.

    There are also the usual bath, garage, etc. Of course, house size layout, room uses, etc. play a part.
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRKOLBUS

    IF I had any say I would either do away with 15 A circuits or save them for luminers lighting only and DO Cook County City Requirement of 12 Ga wiring only. Now for 20 A @ 12 ga wire.
    Thats just wasteful and unneeded.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRKOLBUS

    IF I had any say I would either do away with 15 A circuits or save them for luminers lighting only and DO Cook County City Requirement of 12 Ga wiring only.
    Thankfully you don't have any say because that is ridiculous. :rolleyes:

    Here we go again. :rolleyes:
    There are two kinds of people - those smart enough to know they don’t know, and those dumb enough to insist they do.-----Margery Eagan

    Open shop since 1988

  8. #8
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    I certainly don't think the world should conform to my preferences, but I like 20a circuits for receptacles because, unlike overhead lighting and other relatively fixed loads, you never know what someone will plug in.

    It's about performance. We've all seen the overhead lights blink when the TV is turned on. Two or three bedrooms' worth of electronics, turn on the plug-in lighting, etc., and then along comes the vacuum cleaner.
    Code references based on 2005 NEC
    Larry B. Fine
    Master Electrician
    Electrical Contractor
    Richmond, VA

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by BRKOLBUS

    #1 IF I had any say I would either do away with 15 A circuits or save them for luminers lighting only and DO Cook County City Requirement of 12 Ga wiring only.


    #2 Now for 20 A @ 12 ga wire. Just think practically Frying pans Electrictric skillets Toasters etc take 10 Each So in practically 2 or 3 outlets maybe 4 at the most. College students Like to bunch CD, vhs, record changers, audio equipment, guitars, and television sets along with computers, sound systems, faxes equipment, Scanners all taking current so maybe again 3 or 4 outlets and at the same provide 3 or 4 off phase A at the same 3 or 4 Phase B adjacent to it. If you separate the 15 A by color or indelible label to make sure you will get Luminaires only then I would extend the outlets to the max of 6 or 7 Providing all Luminaires are UNDER 150 WATTS

    #1 - That don't make no sense!

    #2 - It seems to me one could not compete and make money w/ this line of thought. I use 14ga exclusively (except where #12 is required) and never has there been an issue w/ overloaded circuits. I put two bedrooms per afci, and amongst the rest of the house at least 15+ receps on a circuit.

  10. #10
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    Since AFCI's were required for all bedroom outlets, I typically do a 15amp circuit per bedroom for lights and plugs unless there are a lot of can lights, when I'll do one for lights and plugs. I'll load up the lighting circuits to the full 80% if possible.

    I try to up-sell dedicated circuits for entertainment centers & home offices (computer stuff).
    ABC

    "Eschew Obfuscation!"

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