Adding lights and outlets on the same circuit is possible, and there are no chances of accidents, provided you follow the right guidelines. But, you must know how many lights and outlets you can add to your circuit.
If you have a 15 amp circuit, you can either have 1500 watts of led light or 8 outlets of 1.5 amps, or a combination of both with a total load of 12 amps. You must ensure that you don’t exceed 80% of the circuit rating; otherwise, it can lead to overload, and the breaker will trip frequently.
Certain factors require consideration while adding lights and outlets in the same circuit. This guide will help you know the number of lights and outlets you can add to a 15 amp circuit, the factors, and whether it is safe to add lights and outlets in the same circuit.
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Can I add lights and outlets on the same circuit?
There is no harm in adding lights and outlets in the same circuit.
You can do so, and there won’t be any accidents.
But you should keep in mind the amount of current voltage and load your circuit can handle.
If it exceeds, then there will arise some problems.
Adding lights and outlets in the same circuit allows you to get more specific areas in your house, like a reading corner with bright light.
You can add one light with one outlet to make a specific space more active.
However, you must look into the reservations needed for rewiring.
In 15 amp circuits, you can easily add lights and outlets in the same circuit.
How many lights and outlets can you add in a 15 amp circuit?
As I said earlier, there is no limit to adding the number of outlets and lights on the same circuit.
But, you should check you are not exceeding the loads and the circuit rating.
For detailed information, go through the factors below to determine the number of lights and outlets in a 15 amp circuit.
The regulations are very important in such cases.
Every area has its electric codes, which the contractors must follow.
If the contractors fail to follow the rules according to the law, you will have to pay fines and even face other serious issues.
So, check and certify that the contractors are doing work according to the proper regulations.
The NEC code
Go through the NEC code to understand whether the contractors are doing work according to the proper rules.
Along with that, read the local codes and then proceed.
It will help you know whether your contractors are following the right rules.
The Federal Government does not mandate the NEC code. Still, maximum states will follow the rules for a standardized approach to electrical works.
The local regulation
The state also follows the local code regulations.
The contractors must at least follow the local codes for working.
If the NEC regulations differ from the local codes, the contractors must follow the local ones.
Local regulations have more priority than NEC regulations.
The NEC does not mention how many lights and outlets to put in a 15 amp circuit.
So, you are free to add as many lights and outlets as you want to your 15 amp circuit.
Though you can add as many outlets and lights as you want in the 15 amp circuit, you must ensure that the load is within the limit.
Compare the ratings of the receptacles to add to the circuit.
In a 15 amp circuit, you can assign 1.5 amps of lights or outlets.
Keeping this in mind, you can add 10 lights and outlets.
However, that may not be a specific amount.
There may be more or less than 10 lights and outlets.
You can extend the outlet if they don’t fill up your requirements.
You must be careful regarding the amount of circuit rating in 15 amp circuits.
While you add lights and outlets to the 15 amp circuit, the rated load should not exceed 80%.
When you go through the NEC guidelines, you will notice that they have allowed the contractors to count only 80% of the circuit rating.
Suppose you force your 15 amp circuit to carry the load more than 80% circuit rating.
In that case, there remains space for safety and avoiding accidents.
So, if you have a 15 amp circuit, you will get only 12 amps.
You can add only 8 lights and outlets to your circuit.
Why can’t we go higher?
You can go higher than 80%.
But there are some good reasons for not exceeding 80%.
Since it is electricity, there is always a chance of a temporary surge.
Though wall mount surge protectors can help you from such surges, it is important to have some powerful devices with lots of power.
There must be some space left in the circuit for this temporary surge.
That is why the rest 20% of the circuit is left to avoid accidents and provide safety from short circuits.
Why is it not considered safe to wire lights and outlets on the same circuit?
Though there is no problem adding lights and outlets in the same circuit, there are some situations where it is not considered safe.
Here are the factors:
In some states, the authorities recommend placing lights and outlets on different circuits, not in a single one.
However, you don’t have to follow it if your local code has no such rules.
But if your local code doesn’t allow adding lights and outlets in the same circuit, your contractors will work according to it.
If any appliance overloads a circuit after you plug it into the outlet, the fuse is likely to blow.
It will disable both the outlets and the lights in such a condition since they are on the same circuit.
Even your house may turn into darkness with the fuse blowing.
Many people do not recommend adding lights and outlets on the same circuit.
The price to install lights and outlets in different circuits costs less than those adding lights and outlets on the same circuit.
Lights require very little electricity. You can work with thinner wires.
What other factors require consideration while adding lights and outlets to the 15 amp circuit?
While adding lights and outlets in a 15 amp circuit, you must consider some factors or guidelines for good reasons.
Add a limited amount of lights and outlets.
Though you may add as many lights and outlets as you want in the same circuit, you must use a limited amount of electrical appliances to plug the outlets.
It will allow you to maintain the right circuit rating, i.e., 80%.
If the rating of the circuit gets very high, it will trip the breaker.
Some appliances, like heaters, require excessive power.
For such situations, you should use circuits with a smaller number of receptacles.
Then you won’t be facing such loads.
Place lights and outlets in the same circuit
Though there are drawbacks to adding lights and outlets on the same circuit, it is still recommended.
Lights use very little power compared to other things.
So, the power will spread evenly among several other breakers in your panel.
Add items that don’t compete.
Appliances like washers do not compete with other appliances in terms of power.
These powerful appliances can help reduce the chances of circuit overload.
Distribute outlets all over the house
Instead of keeping the outlets in specific locations, distribute them throughout your house.
It will let the electricity flow all over the house and terminate the requirement for power extensions.
Power strips and power extensions are for short terms.
Can I install lights and outlets on the 15 amp circuit anywhere?
Adding light and outlet on the same circuit is fine and not fine, i.e., 50-50.
However, adding light and outlet on the same circuit allows the power to spread throughout the house.
At the same time, there are some spots where you should not wire the light and outlet on the same circuit.
Doing it will be a violation of guidelines.
Here are some spots where you should not add light and outlet together.
The kitchen is not a good place to add lights and outlets in the same circuit.
The electrical appliances used in the kitchen, like microwaves and grinders, consume and withdraw an excessive amount of power.
For this, the circuits must carry too many loads as the outlets will use more rated loads than the circuit’s actual ratings.
It is not only a violation of the guidelines, but it will also damage your appliances.
The appliances used in the laundry rooms consume and withdraw power simultaneously as in the kitchen.
Even if you connect only one appliance, the consumption will be the same.
It will overload the circuit and the outlet, thus causing fire hazards.
Consider some other rooms if you must add an outlet and light in a single circuit.
You may add lights and outlets in the same circuit in the bathroom.
But, there is a condition.
If the circuit serves another outlet outside the bathroom, then you cannot connect both lights and outlets in the circuit.
But if your bathroom has a fan and a heater, NEC recommends using a 20 amp circuit.
What can be the risks of putting lights and outlets in the same circuit?
There is no problem in setting up lights and outlets in the same circuit, but there are some chances of risks.
It doesn’t mean you will face these risks without fail, but there are possibilities.
If you keep the load within 80%, you might not face these risks.
Let’s look at the possibilities of risks:
Wires may not be appropriate for additional outlets.
If you have already added lights and want to add more outlets, that can create a problem.
Lights do not use a lot of electricity and, thus, do not place a huge load of current on the circuits.
That’s why thin wires are used to accommodate light fixtures.
It is fine, but the problem occurs when you think of adding new outlets.
Adding extra outlets means you will use extra appliances and plug them into the outlet.
These appliances might require much more power than the lights utilize.
The wires will strain too much due to this, and lead to fuse blow.
You lose both light and outlet.
If the fuse blows for any reason, like overloading or a heavy appliance plugged in, you would lose both the lights and the outlets.
So, when you fix it, you will have to fix the whole circuit.
That is why most people argue about keeping the circuits of both light and outlet separately.
Replacing the outlet becomes difficult.
The problem is not common like the earlier two issues, but it will happen.
When you try to replace an outlet of a circuit that contains lights, too, it is a bit tricky.
Since you will turn the circuit off, the lights will be off too.
How many lights can you use in a 15 amp circuit?
Generally, you can use 36 lights if the light is 40 watts.
You can put 150 LED lights in a 15 amp circuit using low-wattage LED lights.
However, the number of lights to use in a 15 amp circuit depends on the gauge type, thickness, circuit breaker ratings, energy used by the light, etc.
But, you must make sure the rating doesn’t exceed 80%.
In that case, you can run 36-40 watts of light in a 15 amp circuit.
So, before you fix lights, know their wattage and add them.
How many outlets can you use in a 15 amp circuit?
Generally, you can install 8 electrical outlets on the 15 amp circuit.
But there is no limit if the circuit rating is within 80% and per outlet receives 1.5 amps of the breaker.
The circuit will keep tripping if it gets overloaded.
So before you add outlet quantities according to your choice, keep the circuit rating load and the amp per outlet in mind.
There is no limit to adding lights and outlets on the 15 amp circuit. You must add the lights and outlets by keeping the load and circuit rating in mind.
The rated load of the circuit should be within 80%. The rest 20% should be left for safety processing and avoiding accidents. You can use 1.5 amps of lights and outlets.
However, you must check the appliances you want to use. It should not exceed the circuit’s capacity. If that happens, the circuit fuse will blow, and you will have to repair both the lights and the outlets.
Avoid using the same circuit for lights and outlets in the kitchen and laundry. You can put lights and outlets in a 15 amp circuit in the bathroom, provided you don’t have a fan or heater.
Using lights and outlets in the same circuit is safe, but there might be some possibilities of risk. However, you can avoid the risks by keeping the rated load within 80%.