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Old 04-12-2010, 06:27 PM   #1
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Maximum Outlets/Daisy Chains on a Circuit


I was talking to an inspector over the phone today and he gave me the impression that there are limits to the number of outlets you can have on a singe circuit, and a limit to the number of outlets daisy chained together (outlet A feeds power to B feeds power to C feeds power to...). But the code he referenced didn't reference any counts, only that the load couldn't exceed the capacity of the circuit.

The best I could find doing a search on the topic was this post, but again, the code sighted doesn't answer the question of outlet count:
How many lights on a circuit? How many outlets?

I'm currently wiring a basement where the plan for the den currently has a total of 21 outlets that will power two ceiling fans and 27 lightbulbs. Since I plan on using CFLs, the actually load will only be about 600 watts MAX if everything is turned on. If all the lamp holders are rated at 60 watt bulbs max, then the actuall max COULD be 1800 watts (if all the lights are on and the ceiling fans on a full speed).

But I can't find any references in the code that say you have to base your load on the total number of lights or that you are limited to a maximum number of outlets.

Most code references I've seen on this subject generally point to section 210.21. But from what I can read, that section seems to deal with making sure a single item you plan on wiring/pluggin into a circuit doesn't exceed a certain percentage of the circuit's rated capacity. Nor have I so far been able to find any code references that require I add up all the MAX watts that COULD be install to illuminaries to determine the maximum load on a circuit.

So I'm looking to see if there is something I've overlooking where the code does indeed make any limits on the number of outlets on a circuit.

Additionally, is there a limit to the number of outlets that can be daisy-chained. Even if there is a limit, my current plan only has a max of 10 outlets daisy-chained together. I suspect that is within any limits code might specify, but I'm trying to make sure having this many outlets on a single 15 amp circuit isn't going to violate any codes, and looking for codes to backup the argument if someone claims there is a limit.

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Old 04-12-2010, 06:38 PM   #2
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Maximum Outlets/Daisy Chains on a Circuit


the limit is 12 in canada(lights and receps count as one) except for some special circumstances where only two are allowed(kitchen counter). Our guidelines tend to be a little more strict for some stupid reason so i can't see it being less than that in the U.S.

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Old 04-12-2010, 06:40 PM   #3
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Maximum Outlets/Daisy Chains on a Circuit


Local code will apply.
I figure lights on the max bulbs that could be installed.
Repectacles have no limit(with some exceptions) listed in the code.
Here the limit is 10 per 20 amp circuit.
We can't run 14 wire, so everything is based on 20 amp circuits.

10 is a reasonable number to use, unless you have specific needs, light entertainment sreas, threadmills, or such.
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Old 04-12-2010, 06:43 PM   #4
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Maximum Outlets/Daisy Chains on a Circuit


If he's going to inspect your work you need to know what he wants you to do per his interpretation of the code
I do not know of anything else, I calculate my lighting circuits by load

You are going to have one circuit with 21 outlets, 2 ceiling fans & 27 light bulbs ?
Or the outlets are on 2 circuits & lights on another ?

Shortly incandescents must use 30% less power - starting in 2012 w/100w bulbs
So a 60w bulb will need to only use 42w
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:01 PM   #5
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Maximum Outlets/Daisy Chains on a Circuit


It doesn't matter what you are going to put in the fixtures. He will look at the maximum rating of what can be installed in the fixture. The count is not relevant. The watts are. If this is a 15 amp circuit then you are overloading it.
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Old 04-12-2010, 07:19 PM   #6
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Maximum Outlets/Daisy Chains on a Circuit


i know this is kind of off topic....but is there a reason your need 21 outlets in your den unless it's the size of my entire house?
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Old 04-13-2010, 02:54 AM   #7
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Maximum Outlets/Daisy Chains on a Circuit


Basically in NEC they are muted on the numbers of receptales on the circuit however the local codes will trump it.

For 15 amp circuits I typcially stop at 6 maybe 7 depending on the run and for 20 amp I stop at 12 receptales unless specficed in local codes.

However keep in your mind there are some rooms they are much more restictive than others like kitchen and bathroom they are very spefic on it and the numbers of circuits as well.

For the RCD { GFCI } I usealy stop at 4 unless you get intertwined with distance then you will have to watch the distance that can cause false tripping on RCD.

Merci,Marc
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Old 04-13-2010, 06:35 AM   #8
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Maximum Outlets/Daisy Chains on a Circuit


Quote:
Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
.... Nor have I so far been able to find any code references that require I add up all the MAX watts that COULD be install to illuminaries to determine the maximum load on a circuit......
Try looking in 220.14(D):

Quote:
(D) Luminaires. An outlet supplying luminaire(s) shall be calculated based on the maximum volt-ampere rating of the equipment and lamps for which the luminaire(s) is rated
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Old 04-13-2010, 07:26 AM   #9
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Maximum Outlets/Daisy Chains on a Circuit


Actually, in a residence, ALL general use receptacles and lighting are taken into account in the load calc. There is NO limit to amount of lighting or receptacles you put on a circuit. There is a limit to the amount on a single switch though.

By code minimum you could put 500 receptacle and 500 60 watt lights on 500 switches on a single 15A circuit and still be code complaint.
Now put all 500 lights on one switch and you have a violation because you've exceeded the rating of the switch AND circuit.

Thing is no one would ever do this. We wire houses more by common sense than by code minimum.
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Old 04-13-2010, 08:08 AM   #10
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Maximum Outlets/Daisy Chains on a Circuit


Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post
Shortly incandescents must use 30% less power - starting in 2012 w/100w bulbs
So a 60w bulb will need to only use 42w
Psst! An incandescent bulb that only uses 42 watts is by definition a 42 watt (round it to 40 watt) bulb.

Incandescents will deliver a little more light per watt if operated at a higher filament temperature, which in turn means a shorter life.

"Halogen" bulbs are filled with a gas such as iodine vapor that causes the filament to last longer compared with an argon filled or evacuated bulb.

Using the backstab holes instead of screwing the wires on the receptacles and switches usually results in a connection that is not quite as good, and daisy chaining through ten or more receptacles connected that way could result in more voltage drop.

I would suggest that lights served by a circuit not represent more than a third of the circuit capacity.

Don't try to get away with running just a few circuits each with lots of outlets. You don't want to have to go looking far and wide for an outlet on a different circuit to plug the vacuum cleaner in when someone else is using a power saw and Daylight Savings Time has ended and it is dark mid-afternoon and all the lights are on.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 04-13-2010 at 08:25 AM.
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