Electrical systems can be tricky, especially for those who do not have the experience in such field. Many of you have a lot of questions, and one of them would be how many outlets on a 20-amp circuit. If you are wondering about the answer, keep on reading the rest of this post.
The discussions below will be important to make sure that you will not end up being a victim of overloading. At it worst, it can even be a risk of fire, which is why it is important to know how much a circuit will be able to handle.
How Many Outlets on a 20-amp Circuit
The circuit breaker is one of the most important electrical components in every home. You can find a circuit in a garage, living room, dining room, patio, or any other place where it is deemed fit to be positioned by the homeowner.
As an important safety device, it automatically disconnects power when the current that is passing through the circuit has exceeded the maximum that is allowed. It is a safety device that will help in the prevention of overheating, lessening the risk of fire.
According to the National Electrical Code (NEC), there is no limit on the number of receptacles that can be connected to a 20-amp circuit. This is because they do not draw power until something is plugged. Theoretically, it will be able to handle as many outlets as the user wants.
While the number of outlets in a 20-amp circuit per NEC has no limit, it is important to take note of the fact that the breaker will overload if you run all the appliances at the same time. This is because the breaker is not able to handle more than 80% of its specified load.
For safety purposes and to avoid overloading, it is best if you keep the limit to ten outlets. This is a conservative estimate that will work most of the time. This limit, however, will only hold applicable if the appliances plugged are only 110 to 120 volts. It will also depend on how power-hungry are the appliances that are connected to the outlet.
Nonetheless, to be sure, you need to consult with the electrical codes in the area where you live. If you are unsure, talk to an electrician as they would most probably know better.
How to Prevent Overloading
Now that you are aware of the number of outlets that you can plug in a 20-amp circuit, the next thing that you have to think about is the prevention of overloading. As discussed above, the best way to prevent this is to avoid plugging in all of the outlets or at least, make sure that you do not run all the appliances at the same time. Again, there should be an 80% load limit.
Preventing overloading is more of a number’s game. You will need to compute the amount of electricity that is consumed by the appliances plugged into the outlets and see to it that it does not go above the limit of 80%. In a 20-amp circuit, this means that the capacity is only up to 16 amps. Otherwise, it will blow.
Also, as it has been recommended even by electricians, anything that comes with a motor needs to have its own circuit. With this, you can prevent the possibility of overloading even when it is plugged and used. If you have more than one portable heaters, they will need to have their own circuit so that there will be no overloading.
You need to pay attention to the distribution of power and spreading of the load. One good thing that you can do is to combine lights in a single circuit since most of the time, their electricity consumption is minimal. In the kitchen, you need to have at least two outlets with separate circuits. If the power consumption is too much, a dedicated circuit is necessary, as it has been mentioned in the previous paragraph.
To add, you also have to use the right type of wire if you want to minimize the possibility of overloading. Therefore, for a 20-amp circuit, a 12-gauge wire will be enough.
Now that you have reached the end of this post, I hope that you already know how many outlets on a 20-amp circuit. The answer is that you can have as many outlets, but you have to make sure that you do not run the appliances at the same time. The circuit can handle only up to 16 amps. Otherwise, it can suffer from overloading.