Number of outlets on circuit

Recent new home inspection - 4 bedroom, all (25) outlets and (8) ceiling light fixtures connected to one 20 amp AFCI breaker. Is this allowable?? Seems to be the circuit can be easily overloaded. The rest of the electrical installation appeared to be in good relatively “code compliant” order. Thoughts? Thanks.

The smiley face is supposed to be an eight, as in eight light fixtures in my post above.

Cheese, no comments?

There is no limit to receptacles on a circuit.

However, your concerns are well founded with that many lights on the circuit.(What wattage?, how many lamps?, what type)

Your job is to point out your concern, why it is a concern and let the client decide what to do with the information.

They may have a lot of nuisance tripping depending on what they plug in so recommend and upgrade.

way too much, my sparyk buddy says only 8-10 junctions per branch total is what he’ll allow, for safety.what will happen they will overload it, then get the idea that they should use a 30 amp breaker instead of the 20, problem solved, no more tripping, except the wire in the wall is not rated for 30 amps so it becomes a heating element…

Me think that you need another AFCI/circuit.

As a rule of thumb in counting devices on a circuit you count each outlet (light or receptacle) as 1.5 amps. Now remember you only count 80% of the rating which means a 15 amp breaker should not exceed 12 amp load, a 20 amp breaker would be 16 amps. OK so based on that you should not have more than 8 devices on a 15 amp circuit, and not more than 12 on a 20 amp circuit.


Up to 12 is allowed here, however I do believe in a margin of safety and prefer to see only 10.

As mentioned it depends on use.
Are they using them all at the same time?

You would need to perform load tests but how many times have we all seen AC and baseboard electric heat on the same circuit which is OK because they are never used at the same time as a rough example.

Rough rule of thumb I was taught by a famous kinetic artist was that 100 watts = roughly 1 amp.
As a generalist I am not there to open junction boxes and figure out the exact details of the branch wiring unless there is a glaring defect.

Thanks guys. Here’s how I reported it.

All outlets and light fixtures at the four bedrooms are connected to a single 20 amp Arc Fault Circuit Interrupt (AFCI) breaker at the main panel. There are a total of approximately 23 outlets and 8 light fixtures connected to this single circuit. The potential for over loading the circuit exists and greatly depends on the electrical demand. Operating small appliances in each room such as computers along with televisions, with the lights on can present nuisance tripping of the circuit breaker. In my opinion, the circuit should be separated and based on anticipated electrical demand. Have a qualified electrician further evaluate.

What do you report when you see 11 or 12?

John, is that 23 Duplex outlets = 46?

Yes, 23 duplex = 46. Good point.

Nothing on my report I just verbally tell my client how I feel about the situation and say exactly what I have stated.

In residential wiring there is no limit to the number of receptacles on any given circuit. There is also no such thing as 80% of the size of the breaker or wire either except in water heaters and such resistive loads.

The total number of fixtures on any given circuit will be 1800 watts on a 15 amp circuit and 2400 watts on a 20 amp circuit. It is permissible to wire 2400 watts of lights and a dozen or so receptacles on the same20 amp circuit.

What we must remember is that the breaker or fuse is in place to protect the conductor not to limit the number of devices or lights. Also we need to remember that all this “what If” and “in my opinion” means absolutely nothing and in some cases can cause a lot of trouble for the Home Inspector.

Common sense will dictate that we never have something plugged into every receptacle at the same time nor do we have every light on at the same time unless you are at my house where the lights gets turned on when we get out of bed and turned off when we go to bed.

Rule 12-3000 of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code reads in part:

A maximum of 12 outlets may be connected to a circuit. This may consist of 12 light outlets or 12 plug outlets (not appliance plugs) or any combination of light and plug outlets mixeed, as long as their total number does not exceed 12 outlets.

Different country, different rules though.

I was going to mention that Marcel but that is a Canadian thingy.:shock:

To continue on Mikes comments,you could potentially overload a circuit with only one or two duplexes on it.

Can someone explain why Canada allows only 12 outlets per circuit and codes here have no limit? And no wise cracks…:stuck_out_tongue:

You would have to ask the AHJ for that info. I have heard that it might be due to a complete black out of one area. Safety