Doing a small diy project? Are you wondering how many outlets and lights can be on one circuit? We can tell you how we do it.
The answer is twelve. Our code states that we can not have anymore than twelve devices on one circuit. This includes lights and plugs. This can be found under section 12 of our code under wiring methods.
So How Many Lights And Plugs Can Be Installed On One Circuit?
Our code states that you can install up to 12 devices on one circuit.
This would be a 15 amp circuit. But first we should clarify what we mean by devices.
A device is an accessible point of power. This means an outlet for a light fixture.
This does not count for a switch. This is also not count for smoke detectors and smoke detectors are under a separate rule.
So to answer your question you can install 12 lights and plugs on one circuit.
Keep in mind that all outlets now require an arc fault breaker.
Due To arc fault breakers being so expensive to install, we put as many outlets on a circuit as possible. We install the lights separately.
The reason we do this is because the lights do not require an arc fault breaker at this point of the time of this post.
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Does This Apply For All Applications? How Many Outlets And Lights Can Be On One Circuit?
This rule applies to residential applications only.
It does not apply to commercial applications.
Commercial applications like office buildings have a different set of rules.
Since you are dealing with larger amperage, usually 20 amp we then can go with more receptacles on a commercial installation.
Keep in mind that this is a bad idea if you’re trying to max out a circuit.
Commercial buildings usually have larger loads which causes the opposite effect.
We usually only run for six or eight outlets per circuit in a commercial building.
The photocopier itself can consume almost a whole circuit.
Desktop computers can also contain a large amount of power.
A couple of these desktop computers plugged into one circuit can cause it to trip.
How many Outlets And Lights can Be On One Circuit? Can I Break Them Up?
Breaking the lights and plugs up helps installation greatly.
As mentioned above we have to use arc faults on all plug circuit now.
We usually max out our 15 amp plug circuit to 12.
Then we will install a separate lighting circuit. A lighting circuit is good for up to 1500 watts by our code for 12 1/2 amps.
With newer style technology LED bulbs we can run lights off one circuit. Especially if we were just running LED pot lights.
The average LED pot lights runs between seven and ten watts.
This would technically allow us to put 100 or more like on a circuit.
Knowing we would never do this because there’s usually a mix between pot lights and regular light fixtures in the home.
Keep in mind that you are limited to 600 watts for a dimmer.
Be careful though if you’re just installing regular light fixtures.
You can only go up to 12 devices on 115 volt circuit remember.
So if you’re installing ceiling fans a bathroom fan or anything else like that and you can only go up to 12 octagon outlet boxes in the ceiling.
This is why it’s better to run a completely separate circuit for your pot lights and not have the two mixed for how many outlets and lights can be on one circuit.
Do The Same Rules Apply For Commercial?
The code rules between commercial and residential applications or someone different.
The code rules in section 12 ever codebook state for dwelling unit sleeping quarters.
Just be a common house. This is what we are confined to our 12 devices for circuit.
However in a commercial property like an office building or storefront we usually run 20 amp circuit.
Although we can run more by code we usually don’t.
As mentioned above we will greatly reduce in commercial applications including things like exit lighting and emergency lighting.
We usually run up to 12 of these on one circuit. This Affects how many outlets and lights can be on one circuit.
Most newer exit and emergency lighting are LED style anyway and do not draw much electricity.
When we install florescent lights we count them by the amperage instead of the amount of devices.
So for example if we are doing a store and we run several fluorescent lights and they are amp a piece that we can only run 12 lights per circuit.
If they are a half an amp a peace we can run 24 lights per circuit.
Usually break this up into groups.
How Many Lights Can I Put On With Counter Plugs?
You’re not permitted by code to install a light fixture on with any counter plugs.
This applies for both commercial and residential situations.
Residential counter plugs must be wired in groups of two and be on a 20 amp circuit.
Since most lighting fixtures are rated at 15 amp you cannot install it on with a 20 amp circuit.
This also applies for commercial applications. You wouldn’t want to have anything on the counter plugs anyway.
We do believe that in her next code in 2022. We will see that all counter plugs need to be on individual 20 amp circuits.
Right now you can run to as mentioned above two per circuit.
However with most appliances today they consume quite a bit of power.
If you plug in a toaster in one outlet and a kettle in the other outlet this will cause the 20 amp breaker to trip.
Individual counter plugs are a good idea and we feel they should each be on their own circuit.
How Many Outlets Can I Run On A 15 Amp Fuse Or Breaker?
You can run the same amount of plugs on a 15 amp circuit.
This is if it is a breaker or fuse.
The breaker or the fuse would have the same rating. So you can run 12 plugs on a breaker or 12 plugs on a fuse.
Keep in mind when you run a new circuit on a fuse you’ll need to provide arc fault protection.
This will result in usually an arc fault plug placed outside the panel where the fuses are.
It will then need to down feed the circuits circuits feeding the rest of the plugs.
This is common on newer style construction that you have a renovation with an old fuse panel.
For example if you were to build an addition on your home like a sunroom with 12 plugs in it.
You can install a 15 amp time delay fuse on your plug circuit.
This will give you a little more time before the fuse pops.
We usually do this for motor loads but we do not recommend for regular usage.
What About A 20 Amp Breaker?
A 20 amp circuit would require the same code rules.
The difference with a 20 amp circuit issue would be running it with 12/2 awg instead of 14/2 awg.
You can still only install12 outlets on 12 gauge 20 amp wire in a residential dwelling.
However this is more beneficial because it allows you to run larger loads on this plug circuit.
An example of this would be a window air conditioner.
They consume 12 to 14 amps of electricity at 120 volt.
We usually will run one specific circuit for a window air conditioner, however if you’re running many plugs it would be a wise idea to do them in 12 Gauge.
12 gauge wiring was very popular in the 70s.
It seemed to be the choice of install over 14 gauge.
It’s only been the last 30 years or so that 14 gauge has become more popular due to the cost of wire.
In many older homes when we go into investigate wiring we find that it originally had 12 gauge run anyway.
This is beneficial for us because we usually leave it in place.
In the end, I don’t think we are far off from seeing every single outlet having its own circuit.
We could see this in our upcoming codes within the next 10 years.
You can never have too many circuits at home. So it’s always a good idea to have more than less.
Our code is currently changing to make things better for the end-user.
The days of having a whole floor on one circuit are gone. This is simply because devices and appliances that you plug-in change and consume more power.
So when it comes to how many outlets and lights can be on one circuit.
The answer is really defined by what the electrical installation is that you were doing. This 12 circuit rule or 12 device rule is for larger rooms only.
If you were wiring a garage would not stick all 12 outlets on the same circuit.
If you tried to plug a welder and something else and it would simply drop the breaker.
Garage door openers usually get run on their own circuit.
Also appliances in the home also get run on one circuit. Things like the fridge. The dishwasher. The microwave.
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