How Many Receptacles on a 20 Amp Circuit?
You can put approximately ten outlets on a 20-amp circuit. A 20-amp circuit has a capacity of 1,920 watts or 16 amps at 80% percent of the maximum load of 2,400 watts.
Which devices can be placed together on a 20 amp circuit?
Here are some devices that can be placed together on a shared 20-amp circuit:
- Lighting: Various light fixtures, whether ceiling lights, lamps, or other types.
- Computer and Accessories: A desktop computer, monitor, and printers
- Entertainment: Television, DVD/Blu-ray player, and a gaming console.
- Kitchen Gadgets: Microwave (smaller models), coffee maker, and a toaster (though be cautious when all are used simultaneously).
- General Electronics: Phone chargers, laptop chargers, fans, radios, and other small electronic devices.
- Hair dryers and curling irons
Note that devices like toasters or coffee makers are used intermittently and for short durations. This allows for more flexibility when combining them with other devices. On the other hand, devices running continuously for long periods, like a computer or TV, will consistently draw power and reduce the available capacity for other devices.
When in doubt, consult the rating of individual devices.
Which devices require a dedicated 20-amp receptacle?
Here is the list of the devices requiring a dedicated 20-amp receptacle:
- Bathroom receptacles: Even though many bathroom appliances like hair dryers can draw close to the full capacity of a 15-amp circuit, many building codes specify that bathrooms should have their own dedicated circuits to prevent overloading from other devices in the home. The NEC requires at least one 20-amp branch circuit to supply the bathroom receptacle(s). This circuit can only power the receptacles in one bathroom and cannot serve any other outlets, such as lights, exhaust fans, or other devices outside of that particular bathroom. However, within the same bathroom, you can use this 20-amp circuit to power all the receptacles, lights, and fans.
- Microwaves: A 20-amp receptacle is necessary for built-in or countertop units with higher wattages.
- Dishwashers: Modern dishwashers can draw enough current to justify a dedicated 20-amp circuit. Dishwashers require a dedicated circuit due to high power consumption and constant operation.
- Garbage disposals: Some brands of garbage disposals can have motors powerful enough to warrant a 20-amp circuit.
- Washing machines: A dedicated 20-amp circuit for a washing machine is warranted by the NEC.
- Kitchen countertop receptacles: Kitchen appliances like blenders, toasters, and coffee pots can draw significant current, especially when used simultaneously. So, kitchen outlets are often on 20-amp circuits.
- Window air conditioners: Smaller units might be okay on 15-amp circuits, but larger or more efficient units could require a 20-amp circuit. Some smaller central heat conditioners can also use a 20-amp dedicated circuit.
- Portable heaters: Some space heaters can draw close to the full capacity of a 15-amp circuit, making a 20-amp circuit more suitable.