Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Home & GardenMaintenance & Repairs · 9 months ago

Is it okay per National Electrical Code about hooking up 13 light switches and ten outlets to the same breaker/line is to CODE?

Last Saturday Night, my daughter was vacuuming cleaning the rug in living room and the breaker tripped. Notice my tv, lights in living room, dining room all went out. Went to the electric box and turn to turn breaker back on. This is not the first time this breaker tripped.

Decided to make a list on what each breaker controls. Not sure why this one BREAKER as so much hookup up to it .

Have 13 light switches and 10 outlets on the same 12/2 wire. My home builder said I don't have nothing to worry about. It's to NEC code.

Very worry my Christmas lights will burn the house down, if I don't get this fix. Builder refuses to fix this.

Your thoughts?

9 Answers

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  • 8 months ago

    Yes, the NEC has no particular limits on how many outlets (receptacles and lights) you can have on a given branch circuit. Obviously you cannot OVERLOAD the circuit without blowing the breaker, regardless of whether it has 2 or 20 outlets.

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  • 8 months ago

    It would be well worth the minimal cost just to have a professional electrician check it out.

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  • M.
    Lv 7
    9 months ago

    Something sounds wired unacceptably.

    I wouldn't put all that on one circuit.

    How many circuits does your panel have?

    Is your house old?

    Was it converted from a fusebox?

    The NEC (code) is sometimes slippery.

    None of this will burn your house down, as long as the 20 amp breaker is working properly. A circuit breaker's purpose is to protect the wiring from overheating and causing a fire.

    So far that's just what it did. But this has alerted you to an unacceptable situation. Something needs to be changed.

    Access to the house wiring is usually the biggest problem.

    A competent electrician can sort this out for you.

    I think that your builder or his electrician miscalculated.

    • ...Show all comments
    • M.
      Lv 7
      9 months agoReport

      We have an 80% current rule for continuous duty loads (after a time limit).

      For a 20 amp circuit, 80% would be 16 amps. So the circuit should be rated for continuous duty 16 amps (or less).

      A 15 amp circuit at 80% is 12 amps (or less).

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  • 9 months ago

    As for how many outlets that you can hook up to a single breaker all depends on what your local jurisdiction says - not the NEC.

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  • Anonymous
    9 months ago

    According to the electrical code for N.A. each breaker can handle 10 electrical boxes. That is the box in the wall that holds either a double outlet (that is classified as 1 box) or a ceiling light box.(another box)

    . Now if the house was properly wired and inspected by an electrical inspector before the drywall went up, he could see the roughed in wiring.

    . Now the standard in my house is that the wall outlet boxes are chain ganged together meaning 10 wall boxes are joined together so ONLY the wall outlets go out. Just sitting in my living room that is 5 wall outlets, so then the chain goes into the next nearest room which is my dining room and do the outlet boxes there until it connects 10(or8 if that is all there is and then ends. then another breaker will do the next set of 10 which goes into the kitchen and just does wall outlets.

    . The fridge takes a 20Amp breaker just for it. One single breaker for 1 line because no one likes a fridge that is defrosting because the breaker tripped. And you would never know unless you opened the fridge door and the refrigerator light does not come on. Then you know there is no power to the fridge.

    . Light switches do not count as outlet boxes (only unless they have an outlet right at the switch) Some bathroom switches are set up that way. Mainly for electric razor.

    . The lights in the ceiling or on the wall where the fixture is counts as one box and they are chain ganged together. This way the least amount of wire is needed. Lights have the least amount of trouble. One breaker will do all my light boxes upstairs(that includes the outside lights at the front door and back door if the electrician determined that would use the least wire. Maybe he chose to do the upstairs outside light but ran the front 2 lights on a different breaker because it meant less wire...but he also included the attached garage in that wiring. I have not figured out the basement though I did fudge with the wiring maximum as I built an additional bathroom, so stole the power from a downstairs ceiling lamp to power both the lights and the outlet in the downstairs bathroom and a hallway wall outlet, so I am up to 13 boxes for the breaker. But there is NO CHANCE I will be running all 13 boxes at the same time. Most of the time they are off. If it came to a house fire, the wiring would stay intact so that is where it gets iffy with the Fire Insurance company(for they always want to NOT PAY a claim if they can.

    . Sometimes it is BETTER if you ask a party who did not build your house or wire it and find out what the standards are. 23 boxes is more than the 10 that I know is in the ECode.

    Xmas lights do not bother me so much. It is when you hook up electrical heaters into outlets that are on the same breaker. Making heat uses alot of power (same like making cold..refrigerator...as it is a heat extractor box) This is where you blow breakers. Knowing which outlet is connected to which breaker then you could say run 2 heaters on different breaker lines. Living room may be one breaker and hall way may be another breaker.

    . That is why you mark it out so you know which is different.

    Maybe the daughter needs to use a different outlet. I hate GFCI outlets as my vacuum has a dual motor and it always blows the GFCI.

    That is about all you can do without tearing the walls apart to get at the wiring. Use a different outlet.

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    • Nuff Sed
      Lv 7
      8 months agoReport

      There is no such limitation on "boxes" per circuit in the NEC. Also, GFCI has nothing to do with "dual motors" -- you may be thinking of AFCI. GFCI deals with ground faults, AFCI deals with "arc faults", which can occur with motors.

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  • 9 months ago

    the breaker will prevent any problems. in my community, the usual way is that outlets and lights are on different breakers. And, changing your setup to mine after the house is built is a painful, expensive job.

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  • 9 months ago

    As other answers stated, it isn't a code violation.

    That said, if you are repeatedly overloading the circuit, it is worth getting a price to split the circuit into 2 or 3 separate circuits.

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  • 9 months ago

    Like Mmm J said "The number of switches and outlets on a single breaker do not matter - but the amount of electricity they use, does". A 12/2 circuiit at 120 volts can handle 2400 watts maximum. The NEC code recommends you only load it to 80% which is 1920 watts. If all 13 light switches were controlling 60 watt bulbs you have a draw of 780 watts. That leaves you 1140 watts for the outlets. Plug one blow dryer or iron into one of those outlets and you have maxed out that circuit assuming all the lights are on. Using LED bulbs, which commonly draw 5-7 watts, you are well within specs. If some of those light switches are controlling multiple lights then you may have a problem. It all really depends on how much draw is on that circuit. You know what all this is controlling, so figure the draw and you will know if the circuit is overloaded.

    • H9 months agoReport

      Thank you!

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  • Mmm J
    Lv 7
    9 months ago

    The number of switches and outlets on a single breaker do not matter - but the amount of electricity they use, does.

    In your case, with all the power being used by the different devices at the same time, the circuit is overloaded and the breaker does its job.

    Nothing is broken, so there is nothing to fix. Upgrading by splitting this group of switches and plugs into two or three circuits is a good idea. Since you are speaking to the builder, this sounds like new construction - Check the electrical schematic to understand if this was designed as a single circuit or if it was designed as separate circuits and the builder did not follow the plan.

    Christmas lights should not burn the house down... as you experienced, the circuit breaker works. Best if you minimized the footprint of the devices on that circuit. If the lights (including your Christmas lights) are not already LED, then they should be. When the vacuum cleaner is in use, turn off the TV.

    • H9 months agoReport

      I appreciated your answer.

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