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Old 03-28-2008, 07:20 PM   #1
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How many outlets on a circuit?


Ok, I am glad I provided comic relief to some of you guys for my prior wire combination question. Now I would like to know how many lights and outlets you guys typically put on one circuit. Yes, I have seen the wattage usage charts in the books but I want to know what is typically and safely done. I am rewiring the upstairs bedrooms because the old stuff was ungrounded and had that “cloth stuff” in it. The prior circuit served seven overhead lights for the hall and bedrooms and 14 wall outlets. It is only my wife and I in the house now, but obviously I would like to make it "big family ready."


I split it up so that one circuit did four lights and six wall outlets in one wing. I am thinking of using another circuit to serve five overhead lights, eight wall outlets, and possibly the over head light and exhaust fan in our soon to be renovated master bath. What is typically done?

Yes, I know the master bath will have at least one separate circuit for the GFCI and the other outlets as was told to me in a prior question.

Thanks for all your help. You guys keep me laughing and educated. Oh,and is it ok if I at least get my wife's help to pull this cable or have i lost my man card?


Last edited by Cossack; 03-28-2008 at 07:27 PM.
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Old 03-28-2008, 07:37 PM   #2
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How many outlets on a circuit?


Far as I know there are not "limits" on the amt of plugs but rather its more of a sensible thing. IF it were me IMO I would put lights on there own circuit. If you lose the plugs with a tripped breaker you wont lose lights to see where your going.

I think the norm for plugs is around 5-6 on 1 circuit. Also I don't think you can run from the master bedroom and feed into the bathroom. The bathroom has to be on its OWN circuit including the fan and light. and of course gfci protected in there as well.

I'm sure the real electricians will chime in and tell you exactly what u need to do though. But im real close I think lol

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Old 03-28-2008, 09:26 PM   #3
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How many outlets on a circuit?


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Oh,and is it ok if I at least get my wife's help to pull this cable or have i lost my man card?
Depends on which end of the pull she's on. Is she feeding or pulling?
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Old 03-28-2008, 09:27 PM   #4
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How many outlets on a circuit?


we wired up my garage, (only 12x32) and my wife INSISTED she get to drill some of the holes as well as pull cable through studs. I was like Hell yeah, ill drink my tea and watch you LOL. Man have I got it good or what!!!
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Old 03-29-2008, 01:51 PM   #5
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How many outlets on a circuit?


No limit on the amount of receptacles on branch circuits in a residential setting. However, location is important. The NEC specifies where receptacles must be located. So it's not how many, but where do they go.
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Old 03-29-2008, 01:56 PM   #6
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How many outlets on a circuit?


If you happen to live in Canada the limit is 12 outlets per circuit. This does not include the switches just the plugs and lights, etc.
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Old 03-29-2008, 02:27 PM   #7
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How many outlets on a circuit?


As for position of outlets I am simply keeping what ever I already have. They are all plaster walls and it is far too much work to add more.

I just want to know how many outlets and lights any of you with experience would put on one circuit to stay safe. Also, it would be convenient to run the cable to the overhead bath room light and exhaust fan.

Thanks.
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Old 03-30-2008, 02:47 PM   #8
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How many outlets on a circuit?


I know there MUST be some opinions on this. I realize that certain things use different wattages. I also know the code may allow unlimited outlets. However, I do not work in the industry and am just a poor homeowner hack trying to make things safe.

How many outlets/lights do you guys normally put on one circuit? Does anyone see a problem tying in the bath light/exhasut fan on the same circuit?
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Old 03-30-2008, 03:59 PM   #9
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How many outlets on a circuit?


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Originally Posted by Cossack View Post
I know there MUST be some opinions on this. I realize that certain things use different wattages. I also know the code may allow unlimited outlets. However, I do not work in the industry and am just a poor homeowner hack trying to make things safe.

How many outlets/lights do you guys normally put on one circuit? Does anyone see a problem tying in the bath light/exhasut fan on the same circuit?
As was mentioned, there is no Code rule for the number of receptacles on a residential circuit in the USA. As far as a lighting circuit, though, I would not exceed the capacity of the circuit with the connected load. In a commercial installation, the Code, for load calculations, specifies no less than 180 VA (basically watts) per receptacle. A 20 A 120 V circuit is 2400 watts, so 2400/180 = 13.333333. So, 13 recepts max on a 20 A. This wouldn't be a bad guideline for residential circuits either, so let's just say no more than 10 outlets on any circuit, 15 or 20 A.

Keep lighting and power as separate as possible. But, it is still legal to combine them, so the only problem that I see with a fan/light on the power circuit is the possibility of losing the lights if the vacuum trips the breaker.

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Old 06-30-2011, 12:43 AM   #10
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How many outlets on a circuit?


well how about this one to add to the mix... if the room needs to be on an afci do the lights as well? (if they are are on separate breakers, would i need to have 2 afcis?)
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Old 06-30-2011, 05:27 AM   #11
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How many outlets on a circuit?


An outlet as defined by the NEC is a point in the system that power can be 'tapped' from. An outlet is not a receptacle. So yes, if a room requires AFCI protection, then all circuits that feed that room have to be AFCI protected....switch boxes, lights, smoke alarms, receptacles, etc.
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Old 06-30-2011, 06:01 AM   #12
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How many outlets on a circuit?


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Originally Posted by InPhase277 View Post
As was mentioned, there is no Code rule for the number of receptacles on a residential circuit in the USA. As far as a lighting circuit, though, I would not exceed the capacity of the circuit with the connected load. In a commercial installation, the Code, for load calculations, specifies no less than 180 VA (basically watts) per receptacle. A 20 A 120 V circuit is 2400 watts, so 2400/180 = 13.333333. So, 13 recepts max on a 20 A. This wouldn't be a bad guideline for residential circuits either, so let's just say no more than 10 outlets on any circuit, 15 or 20 A.

Keep lighting and power as separate as possible. But, it is still legal to combine them, so the only problem that I see with a fan/light on the power circuit is the possibility of losing the lights if the vacuum trips the breaker.

InPhase277
This is guide line that many electricians I know use.

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