How many Outlets can be on a 15 amp circuit? (Find Now!)
One of the worst things has to be when your circuit breaker trips unexpectedly. It’s especially annoying when you’re in the middle of something and your light source or appliance is cut off.
Not all homeowners need to be professional electricians, but some basic electrical knowledge is helpful. A standard residential circuit is between 15-20 amps. Knowing how many outlets can be on a 15 amp circuit could come in handy, especially if you breaker trips often.
It’s suggested that 8 outlets are on a 15 amp circuit. The National Electrical Code (NEC) advises that a circuit should not take up more than 80% of the breaker’s capacity. As long as all the outlets aren’t running at the same time, there is technically no limit to the number of outlets on a circuit.
What the National Electric Code Says
The National Electric Code (NEC) does not put a limit on how many outlets may be on a circuit. You can have 20 outlets on a 15 amp circuit as long as they aren’t running simultaneously. If they are, your breaker will become overloaded and trip.
Instead, the general rule given by the NEC is to use the breaker at 80% capacity for safety purposes. This rule concerns continuous loads that are running for 3 hours or more. The breaker can actually run at 100% capacity but only for a short period of time.
Even though no outlet limit exists, the safest option is to install the suggested amount so the breaker will run at 80% capacity. 1.5 amps is the current recommended rating for outlets. Therefore, 8 outlets would allow a 15 amp circuit to run at 80% capacity.
Limiting Outlets for Safety
Circuit breakers are essential for home safety. They are required by law as a means to prevent fires caused by electrical overloading.
Even though there isn’t a limit to the number of outlets on one circuit, you should still err on the side of caution. Otherwise, you’ll have a breaker that constantly trips.
A 15 amp circuit can only support a maximum of 15 amps at one time. So, if you plug in a 10 amp hairdryer and a 10 amp vacuum cleaner, the breaker will trip because it’s overloaded.
How to Prevent an Overloaded Circuit
Having different circuit breakers for each room helps to ensure the circuit won’t get overloaded. You can predict the load capacity needed for each room and install a breaker with the proper amp level.
Most bedrooms have an outlet on each wall or every six feet. Usually, there is also a junction box on the ceiling for a light and a fan. Technically, you can have 9 outlets in addition to the junction box. But this means the circuit is running at full capacity. If we use the 80% rule, there can be 7 outlets and the junction box on a 15 amp circuit. If there is no junction box, then 8 outlets is a safe amount.
All electrical appliances should include their wattage on the packaging. As another precaution, you can simply add up their wattages to ensure you won’t overload the circuit after you determine what appliances will be used in the room.
LED Lights and Circuits
It may seem like LED lights require special rules in regard to circuits. However, that is not the case. An LED bulb draws 10 watts or less. This is equivalent to drawing 1/12 amp. In the big scheme of things, that number hardly makes a dent.
It’s safe for a 15 amp circuit to run 180 or more devices that require LED bulbs.
An overloaded circuit is a recipe for disaster, which is why you should pay attention to what you’re putting on it. There is technically no limit to the number of outlets allowed on one circuit. However, choosing to limit them regardless of the rule is the safest option.
Another safety guideline is the 80% rule, which states that a circuit breaker should run at 80% capacity. So, for a 15 amp circuit, a maximum of 8 outlets is suggested in order to follow this rule. This ensures that the circuit won’t get overloaded.