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Old 10-23-2013, 10:05 PM   #1
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How many lights can I put on one switch?


Let me give a little back ground on my homes wiring. I did a remodel and while doing it my cousin and I rewired the house. I insisted on putting every room on its on breaker. So I have a rather large breaker box. When wiring the house I used 12-2 wire because it was cheaper then 12-2 at the local store. I also used 20 amp breakers on each room.

Now my real question. We wired 2 motion flood lights on the corners of the front of the house both connected to one switch. I want to add another motion flood light to the house and I would like to know is it safe to splice into the wire that feed the other two flood lights to power this 3rd one?
I do not mind one switch controlling 3 lights. Could it overload the switch somehow? I just want it to be safe. I really dont want to add another switch.

Thanks in advance.

Also, these flood lights run 2 90 watt bulbs per unit

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Old 10-23-2013, 10:13 PM   #2
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How many lights can I put on one switch?


Lets see #12 wire is good for 25 amps.
You have 4 x 90w = 360w, or 3A at 120v.
Yes you can add some more.

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Old 10-23-2013, 10:36 PM   #3
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How many lights can I put on one switch?


awesome thanks for the reply. ive got a book and im trying to learn all this stuff. i used a book to wire my house 6 years ago with the help of my cousin who is an electrician coming by to check my work and the building codes inspector.
my wife thought i was spending too much extra money by wiring every room on it on breaker but, i remember as a kid my dad always complaining about turning a breaker off in his house to work on something and it would kill off 2-3 rooms. so while wiring my home i said i would do each room own its own breaker and i also thought with all the electronics homes run now it would be less stress on wiring system with 20 amps going to every room opposed to 20 amps going to 2-3 room. i could be wrong and i may have overdid it but im a newbie and still learning. thanks again
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:17 PM   #4
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How many lights can I put on one switch?


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Originally Posted by dmxtothemax View Post
Lets see #12 wire is good for 25 amps.
You have 4 x 90w = 360w, or 3A at 120v.
Yes you can add some more.
12 AWG is not rated for 25A in most cases...this is one of them...but yes, you could easily add more floods.
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:29 PM   #5
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How many lights can I put on one switch?


walnut864, you really are not going to see continuous 20 amps on a circuit, with today's power supplies. Matter of fact, majority of days, you will never see your home hit even 80% of the rating of the main breakers on the panel.

I rarely see on any given day, with the exception that it is laundry day, our home hit 14 amps for the whole day, or during any given one hour period 12.5 amps at peak demand. That is for a 831sqft per basement & first floor house, with a 17 y/o, my wife & I. All of this information was gathered by going through my logs for my Ted5000, that I use to monitor electrical use in my home.

So really I would not worry much with the demands on your home, unless you are running a lot of current hungry equipment, that exceeds the expectations that you have.
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Old 10-24-2013, 05:50 AM   #6
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How many lights can I put on one switch?


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i could be wrong and i may have overdid it but im a newbie and still learning. thanks again
I would say yes it was overdid putting each room on its own breaker.
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:17 AM   #7
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How many lights can I put on one switch?


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Lets see #12 wire is good for 25 amps.
You have 4 x 90w = 360w, or 3A at 120v.
Yes you can add some more.

The Breaker is 20 amps ..... So 120 volts x 20 amps = 2400 watts .....BUT you will need a switch rated for that amperage also ....


In residential wiring outlets and lighting ........12/2 is limited to 20 amps

This can be found on the chart for amperage ratings for the wire ,14,12,10 have an * and exception at the bottom ..
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Old 10-24-2013, 07:18 AM   #8
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How many lights can I put on one switch?


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
walnut864, you really are not going to see continuous 20 amps on a circuit, with today's power supplies. Matter of fact, majority of days, you will never see your home hit even 80% of the rating of the main breakers on the panel.

I rarely see on any given day, with the exception that it is laundry day, our home hit 14 amps for the whole day, or during any given one hour period 12.5 amps at peak demand. That is for a 831sqft per basement & first floor house, with a 17 y/o, my wife & I. All of this information was gathered by going through my logs for my Ted5000, that I use to monitor electrical use in my home.

So really I would not worry much with the demands on your home, unless you are running a lot of current hungry equipment, that exceeds the expectations that you have.


"Continuous " is not used in residential applications ....
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Old 10-24-2013, 11:49 AM   #9
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How many lights can I put on one switch?


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I would say yes it was overdid putting each room on its own breaker.
WHY? It is his house?

I did the same thing and put the lighting circuits on a different circuit.
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Old 10-24-2013, 12:09 PM   #10
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How many lights can I put on one switch?


Overkill or not, I'd LOVE every room in my house to have its own breaker, just from an OCD / organizational standpoint.
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Old 10-24-2013, 11:00 PM   #11
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How many lights can I put on one switch?


I like the idea of seperate circuits !
Sounds very practicule !
It might cost a bit more,
But not everybody thinks that cost is the most important consideration.
Some think practicule is the better road to take.
Each to his own !
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:04 AM   #12
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How many lights can I put on one switch?


i today's age ... it is not needed by any means ....old heads ( ) remeber the way it used to be ....


today most houses already have central heat and AC .... so no window AC to plug in .. or room heaters .... the bath circuits are on thier own ....kitchens outlets are on thier own ... so nothing shared any more ...................what could you plug into a bedroom outlet or 3 bedrooms ( 3 x 4 outlets each= 12 total )outlets that would even come close to 2400 watts ???

ACFI breakers @ 40$ each plus the feeders for each ...geez .....
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Old 10-25-2013, 07:14 AM   #13
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How many lights can I put on one switch?


"When wiring the house I used 12-2 wire because it was cheaper then 12-2 at the local store."

Walnut, just to be sure ... you did use 12/2, right? With your above sentence, I was concerned that there was a typo...

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