How Many Outlets can be on a 20 Amp Circuit?

The question you probably meant to ask is how many things can be plugged into and used on a 20 Amp Circuit. The typical home has countless outlets for convenience, most of which are not used at any given time.

The National Electrical Code requires that the circuit breakers in our home warn us when more than 80% of the acceptable power usage in any given circuit be used by “tripping” the circuit breaker. You can read more about circuit breakers here.

Using only 80% of our 20 amp circuit gives us 16 amps to safely work with. Those 16 watts give us at most 1920 watts on a typical 120 volt circuit. These numbers are based on safe usage. Who wants to worry about their circuit breaker tripping by exceeding that?

So you are probably still wondering how many things can be run on a single circuit? That is going to depend on the types of things you are plugging in. A typical electrical heater may require 1500 watts when in use, while lights and electronics have very small usage. A safe bet would be to allocate 1.5 amps per item such as these on your circuit.

Common sense should tell you that running appliances and power hungry devices should be delegated to separate circuits. But remember, just because they are plugged into separate outlets, does not mean they are not all sharing the same circuit.

If you need to update your home to more safely handle your power usage, Douthit Electrical can help! Douthit Electrical has been providing Charlotte with quality electrical services since 1990. When you need electrical service, check out our money saving coupons and give us a call!


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