In figuring out what was hooked up to each breaker in my house, I found two
breakers that had a lot connected to them. Should I be worried?
One 15A breaker has:
- 3 overhead light & fan combos (one for each bedroom)
- 2 bathroom vanity lights
- 2 bathroom exhaust fans
- 4 outlets (master bedroom)
Another 15A breaker has:
- 2 double-light outdoor flood lights
- 3 outdoor incandescent lights
- 1 4ft fluorescent tube light (4 tubes) - kitchen
- 1 incandescent light in kitchen
- 1 overhead light & fan combo (living room)
- 1 overhead light (front entry)
The remaining three 15A breakers have 4, 4, and 7 outlets (respectively) on
Are the breakers tripping? If not, then no. There is no limit in the NEC for the
number of outlets
on a residential circuit. For lights, I wouldn't worry at all. For receptacles,
I'd like to see no
more than 8 to 10 links in the "daisy chain", but that is just me.
You should be concerned with what are turned on at the same time. For
example, you could drying your hair with a blower dryer (1500 watt) while
your wife is trying to vaccum (1000 watt), then the breaker will trip for
sure. You should estimated and limited your concurrent usage.
It doesn't matter how many things are attached to the circuit; it matters
how much you are actually running. It doesn't appear particularly bad, but
if you are concerned, get an amp meter and put it on the wire at the breaker
box. Turn everything on and see how high it goes.
I was concerned because one whole side of my cottage was on a single
circuit, but when I tested it out, every single device had to be running to
exceed the limit, and that wasn't likely.
Total wattage load is going to determine tripping point of breakers. You
have some fixed loads (fans and lights) and some outlets in which YOU will
place additional load on the 15 amp circuit. You can add up the fixed loads,
and get an idea of what you can plug in to place the circuit at 100%. 1800
watts works out to 15 amp at 120 volt.
Dennis J Sunday
Home Inspection Systems
Contrary to what others have said, you do have the potential
for tripping the second breaker quite easily.
Let's say you're having an evening outdoor party...
If those flood lights have 300W lamps in them, you'll be
pulling 1200W with both fixtures on. The other outdoor
lights (with 100W lamps) are probably on as well. Now
you're up to 1500W, or, at a nominal 120V, 12.5A. Since
it's a party, the kitchen lights and entry light will be on
as well, pulling (possibly) 360W, so now you're at 15.1A,
the limit of the breaker.
So I guess you shouldn't throw a party in the evening.
Or use 175W (or smaller) flood lamps and 60W in the other outdoor fixures
(or 13W or 19W compact fluorescents). I'm looking at the box for my spare
outdoor flood lamp and it's 100W (GE halogen PAR38). I think you'd have to
look pretty hard to find 300W reflector lamps. There's only a problem if
"funkjunk" goes out of his way to max out each light fixture.
Not likely most are 150 or 75 watt, and now the trend is 65 - 90w halogen
bulbs and even (I just picked up 4 cases of 6, for 5 bucks a case at the Home
Depot) 14w flourescent par bulbs...
Sounds like a white trash party to me. Who has an outdoor dinner party under
all that lighting? Evening parties should be lit artificially only from afar,
otherwise, use candles and torches. It's much classier and won't overload your
circuits. Also, you won't attract as many light-seeking insects, and those that
do come will be burned to a crisp by the flames. Also, posters who complain
about my critique are also likely to be burned to a crisp by the flames...
This is Turtle.
If your worried about it. Go turn on everything that is on each of the
circuits and let them run for 15 minutes. If your over loading anything. The
breaker will tell you if it is. If the break lets you do it. Hey , live on.
If not get it looked at by a electrician as to the problem.
No, don't be worried. Breakers will trip if a circuit is overloaded. Keep
in mind that *not* everything will be turned on at the same time, so you
can have more than 15 amps of "stuff" connected to a 15 amp breaker and be
Only be concerned if you have a breaker tripping. Then it would be time to
install a new circuit. And then you can leave most of the stuff as-is, but
install a new 20 amp circuit and outlet to a power hog like refrigerator,
microwave, window A/C, etc. Older homes may have a kitchen and bedroom on
the same 15 amp circuit. Then you get a computer in the bedroom, the
refrigerator kicks on, and pop goes the breaker. [Easy solution is to put
refrigerator on its own circuit in this case. Then just one wire needs to
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