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Thread: How Many Outlets Can Be On One Circuit

  1. #1

    Question How Many Outlets Can Be On One Circuit

    [B]I am looking at remodeling my Basement and would like to know how many outlets I can put on one ( 1 ) circuit? Than I will be putting up lights and that would be on another circuit.

    What would be the best lighting to put in the Basement to get the best use out of it?

  2. #2
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    As many as you like, I try to keep a limit of around 300 or so...

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    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    What are you going to use the basement for?

    There's no code-mandated rule about how many receptacles you can put on a circuit, but there is a practical limit of how many things you can plug in before the breaker trips.

    "Best lighting" for what? Storage? Workshop? Rec room, home theater?

    "Best" in terms of headroom clearance? Energy-efficiency? Natural color? Good-looking fixtures?
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    Sound and Light Suppervisor for a School District tjbaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchie
    There's no code-mandated rule about how many receptacles you can put on a circuit,
    According to my inspector there is a limit. It is related to anticipated load and usage.

    A kitchen counter needs 2 20Acircuts. A bathroom needs to be on its own 20A line. Lighting and bedrooms are some thing like 7 or 8 outlets max depending on 15 or 20 A breaker. I don't remember the exact number as I tend to run more circuits than needed. Many only have 4 outlets on. This is both because I believe in not pushing it and because this is a retrofit system I cant easily get from one wall to another in many spots.

    In my basement I have the lights on a 15 A line with florescent lights. I have 2 20A lines with a couple of outlets on each. The furnace and other utility stuff is on another line.

    What do you plan on doing in your basement? Just a family room? Then I would put lights on one line. An outlet every 6 ft and divide the total by 8, run that many 20 A circuits.
    Shop? Do the same but divide by 4. Thats just a ball park.

    Another option if the main panel is a long ways away or almost full is to run a larger 240V line and add a sub panel for the basement. Another tip is use the better outlets! I prefer the back wire where the side screw clamps the wire. The 39c outlets are JUNK!

  5. #5
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    There are rules for kitchens and baths.

    I will wait for a professional electrician to help us out with any actual code specs for your basement.. But I suspect that from a practical standpoint, you would want to plan far FEWER on a single circuit than the code likely allows. If you put too many, you will have grief down the line as you start to overload that one circuit with lamps, computers, a portable heater or A/C, girlfriend's hair dryer, microwave oven, and a hundred other things which may end up in that basement.

  6. #6

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    I am a firm believer in using Florescent Lights or energy effectuate lighting as much as possible where ever possible and then some. Yes I think GREEN save energy and lower that electric bill.

    What is the best lighting in a Basement that would be used as a family room?
    Right now it looks like the 70's and I want to update it for the 21st. Century.

    I am planning to put Plasterboard on the cycling along with the walls ether green back plain plasterboard, which is best? I have even thought of using James Hardie Backer board up 18 inches off the floor. Do you feel that a 1/2 inch is thick enough for the plaster board on the walls? What would you put on the cycling thickness.

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    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    Cycling?

    No need to use wonderboard along the bottom. Look into densearmor plus, or XP board. The new damp-proof drywalls (one is paperless but you need to skim-coat it, the other is purple) are plenty moisture-resistant.

    I think 1/2" is fine in most of the country, but check with local codes - some places (like NYC for example) require 5/8 for fire resistance. I personally prefer 5/8 for everything, just because it lays very flat, I find 1/2 can get kinda wavy... but it pretty heavy.

    Less than 1/2" is pointless, too floppy for a good tape job.


    TJ, Jimbo - your kitchen requires a dedicated small-appliance circuit, but there's no limit to how many receptacles you put on that circuit. Think of plugmold: a 5' countertop would have 10 receptacles, all on the same circuit.

    http://www.wiremold.com/www/commerci...ub_system_id=5
    http://www.tasklighting.com/ap/angle-strip.htm
    Master Plumber Mark:

    there is nothing better than the
    manly smell of WD 40 in the air
    while banging away on brass with a chisel and hammer...

    it smells like......victory......

    do not hit your thumb...
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    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Well now being all the pros have given an answer I shall tell you what the code says about a dwelling unit.

    Three watts per square ft. in the minimum amount of circuitry required. If you are using a 15 amp circuit then multiply 15 amps times 120 volts and this equals 1800 watts. Now divide 1800 watts by 3 watts per square foot and this equals 600 square feet.

    On this one 15 amp circuit that you are installing in these 600 square feet you can put as many receptacles and lighting outlets your little heart desires. I would suggest a receptacle in every stud bay then they would be plenty close together but the code only calls for one within 6 feet of a door and 12 feet on center there after and one on any wall that is 2 feet wide or wider.

    Any and all receptacles that are no higher than 5 feet 6 inches off the floor will fulfill the requirement of the 6, 12 foot rule.

  9. #9
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    There very well may be a code limitation on the number of outlets on a circuit, but from a usage stand point, it boils down to wire size and amperage. Outlets that are not in use draw no amps, so in theory, you could have hundreds of outlets on a circuit as long as you did try to use them all at one time. I wired my home with #12 wire and 20 amp breakers with no thought on limiting the outlets, I put 'em where I knew I need them and then where I though I might want to have them in the future. I wired my shop with 220 with several outlets so I could move my tools into various configurations. I can only use 2 outlets at once, but I might have 3 or 4 tools plugged in to the circuit. I just don't run the table saw, band saw, jointer, and planer all at the same time.

  10. #10
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwelectric
    Well now being all the pros have given an answer I shall tell you what the code says about a dwelling unit.
    Ouch!

    You weren't around...
    Master Plumber Mark:

    there is nothing better than the
    manly smell of WD 40 in the air
    while banging away on brass with a chisel and hammer...

    it smells like......victory......

    do not hit your thumb...
    __________________
    Just so everyone's clear: I'm the POODLE in the picture ("french", get it?) The hot woman is my wife.

  11. #11
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjbaudio
    According to my inspector there is a limit. It is related to anticipated load and usage.
    Lighting and bedrooms are some thing like 7 or 8 outlets max depending on 15 or 20 A breaker. I don't remember the exact number as I tend to run more circuits than needed.
    Untrue.

    Quote Originally Posted by tjbaudio
    What do you plan on doing in your basement? Just a family room? Then I would put lights on one line. An outlet every 6 ft and divide the total by 8, run that many 20 A circuits.
    Shop? Do the same but divide by 4. Thats just a ball park.
    This is a design choice, not code, IMO way over kill... and a waste of money.

  12. #12
    Sound and Light Suppervisor for a School District tjbaudio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris75
    Untrue.

    This is a design choice, not code, IMO way over kill... and a waste of money.
    It is what the inspecer told me and I have to play by his rules. All in all I like having more circuts around. A family room can take on many uses. Examples:
    Family reunion, every one brings a nesco/roaster, thats 10 to 15 A EACH.

    Company come comes over and it is a cold basement. So put in a space heater. This is in addition to the small fridge and dehumidifier you already have down there. Then they plug in a hair drier. None of that is counting the TV, computer, and table lamps down there.

    Whats the added cost? $5 for a breaker and another $5 to 10 for wire? Not having to worry about triped brakers, priceless! Now if your a long way or your main box is full then the added panel is a little more expensive.

  13. #13
    Electrician Chris75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjbaudio
    It is what the inspecer told me and I have to play by his rules. All in all I like having more circuts around. A family room can take on many uses. Examples:
    Family reunion, every one brings a nesco/roaster, thats 10 to 15 A EACH.

    Company come comes over and it is a cold basement. So put in a space heater. This is in addition to the small fridge and dehumidifier you already have down there. Then they plug in a hair drier. None of that is counting the TV, computer, and table lamps down there.

    .

    Like I said, a design issue...

  14. #14
    Electrical Contractor/Instructor jwelectric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjbaudio
    It is what the inspecer told me and I have to play by his rules. All in all I like having more circuts around. A family room can take on many uses. Examples:
    Family reunion, every one brings a nesco/roaster, thats 10 to 15 A EACH.

    Company come comes over and it is a cold basement. So put in a space heater. This is in addition to the small fridge and dehumidifier you already have down there. Then they plug in a hair drier. None of that is counting the TV, computer, and table lamps down there.

    Whats the added cost? $5 for a breaker and another $5 to 10 for wire? Not having to worry about triped brakers, priceless! Now if your a long way or your main box is full then the added panel is a little more expensive.
    If I was going to have all that going on everyday I would just move.

    Edit to ask;

    How many times in a year do most of you have to reset a breaker?

  15. #15
    One who lurks Basement_Lurker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frenchie
    What are you going to use the basement for?

    There's no code-mandated rule about how many receptacles you can put on a circuit, but there is a practical limit of how many things you can plug in before the breaker trips.

    "Best lighting" for what? Storage? Workshop? Rec room, home theater?

    "Best" in terms of headroom clearance? Energy-efficiency? Natural color? Good-looking fixtures?


    Wow...no code restriction on how many receptacles allowed per circuit down there in 'merica! We are restricted to a max of 12 recepticals per circuit and the circuit is derated to 80% ampacity. But then again, BC code is so much different from the rest of the country, and certainly very different from the states. I find the differences interesting

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