As a homeowner, you need to know how many plugs can be on one circuit. The best way to know the number of plugs is by considering the appliances you’ll use. One of the most common issues in home electrical circuits is overloading.
Therefore you need to know the right number of outlets you need on your circuit. There are practical limits, though. To find out,
How Many Plugs Can Be on One Circuit
According to National Electric Code (NEC), there’s no specific number of outlets per circuit. However, it recommends that you can only connect 80% of the load on a rated circuit breaker.
In simpler terms, the load shouldn’t be more than 80%. For example, you can only use a 15A circuit breaker for 12A load points, i.e., 15A x 80% = 12A.
So, based on the thumb rule, you can install approximately 8-10 outlets (1.5A) on a single phase, single pole 15A, and 120V circuit breaker.
What Happens If You Put Too Many Plugs In On One Circuit?
Surely, nothing will happen. It’s because the outlets themselves don’t use power. Only after plugging in your devices will they start transmitting current. Therefore you can install whatever number of outlets onto your circuit.
You might start experiencing issues when you plug in appliances. For example, if you plug an appliance that uses too much power on a single circuit, it’ll overload the circuit. You have surely experienced this if you ever tried using a hair dryer, table saw, and air conditioner simultaneously.
The circuit breakers usually shut off the supply in case of an overload to prevent shock and fire. Always plan for the appliances you need to use to protect your circuit. Calculate the amount of power they need.
Note that large appliances such as dryers, dishwashers, etc., use much power. Therefore they need dedicated circuits to serve their needs exclusively.
Can You Have Outlets And Lights On One Circuit?
Yes, it’s technically possible to put both outlets and lights on one circuit. The circuit breaker can’t differentiate between outlets and lights.
It only deals with the amount of current drawn. If you decide to fit the light on your circuit, you must reduce the number of outlets.
For example, adding two lights on a 15-Amp circuit should have 6 outlets. Note that adding light to an outlet circuit isn’t generally recommended. It’s because of the panel’s breaker safety and organizational purposes.
It can become a safety issue if you’re unsure about the outlet and lights circuit. Therefore, you should always keep outlets on one circuit and lights on another.
So, how many plugs can be on one circuit? There’s no specific number, but you can keep it to a certain maximum to prevent electrical issues. NEC restrictions state that the circuit breaker shouldn’t exceed more than 80% capacity.
You should apply the rule on both 15-Amp and 20-Amp circuits. You can also consult an expert/ qualified electrician for more information.