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How Many Outlets Can You Put on a 20 Amp Circuit?

By September 3, 2020October 19th, 2020Electrical
how many outlets on a 20 amp circuit

So, how many outlets can you put on a 20 amp circuit? Well, technically speaking, you can put as many as you want.

You see, there is no direct code from the National Electrical Code (NEC) that limits the number of outlets you can put on a single 20 amp circuit. However, there are restrictions relating to power draw.

What The National Electrical Code Says

The NEC states that a circuit cannot supply more than 80% of the circuit breakers limits. This protects the circuit breaker from constantly tripping and protects your home from electrical failure.

Based on the information above, a 20 amp circuit breaker cannot provide a current of more that 16 amps (80% of 20 is 16).

If we clarify that further, 16 amps converts to about 1920 watts by using the formula below.

Watts = Amps x 120Volts (homes in the U.S. run 120 volt circuits in most rooms, unless it is a special appliance like a dryer).

Therefore, we cannot have more than 1920 watts running on a single 20 amp circuit at a time.

how many outlets on a 20 amp circuit?

So How Many Outlets Should You Use?

As a rule of thumb, you should have an outlet in your bedroom every 6 feet (or at least on every wall). Additionally, a safe bet would to allow for 1.5 amps for each item you are plugging in.

Large kitchen appliances like fridges, microwaves, or dishwashers that have large amp draw are required to be on their own circuit.

As an example, these generic LED light bulbs from Amazon are 60 watts which translates to 0.5 amps using the equation above.

In another example, most vacuums take about 1,000 watts of power, which is about 8.333 amps!

In most cases you should be just fine for lighting and outlets for bedrooms with just one 20 amp circuit.

Concluding How Many Outlets For A 20 Amp Circuit

For bedrooms, you should be fine placing an outlet every 6 feet to run generic household lighting, TV’s, and other similar equipment.

If you have further questions about how many outlets can be installed on a 20 amp circuit, be sure to comment below!

You might also be interested in how to prevent power surges!

Aaron Shishilla

Author Aaron Shishilla

Aaron Shishilla is the youngest registered professional inspector in Florida. Coming from a family-owned home inspection company and now the marketing manager at Waypoint.

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