Builders make home electrical circuits to work with a specific electrical load while maintaining certain safety margins. It is down to the individual to ensure they don’t overload the circuit when adding appliances, devices, or lighting fixtures around the home.
So, how many lights can be on one circuit before you trip the breaker? The wattage of the lights determines the number of lights you can run on an average 15-Amp circuit.
The total amps drawn by the circuit should not exceed 80% of the circuit breaker’s rating for safety reasons. On this size circuit, you’ll find a maximum of 12-Amps for a 15-Amp circuit breaker. Using a CFL bulb rated at 60 watts, a 15 amp breaker can handle up to 24 lights at the current draw. (Learn How Much Weight Can A Ceiling Fan Hold)
You can install up to 150 LED bulbs on a single circuit if you use low-wattage LED bulbs, as an LED bulb typically uses around 10 watts per bulb.
However, too many bulbs offer too much illumination, and your home turns into a commercial showroom.
In our guide, you can learn more about how many lights and recessed fixtures you can have on one circuit.
By the end, you’ll see how room shape can affect lighting and how to connect multiple LED lights to one switch to make turning on and off easier.
How Many LED lights Can I Have On A 15 Amp Circuit?
Home electrical circuits have a limited max wattage capacity spread across the lights and the outlets.
Wiring multiple lights to one switch and a separate circuit allow grouping your lights the same way contractors would with outlets.
The number of lights you can run on a circuit depends on the circuit breaker’s rating, the thickness or gauge of the wire used in the circuit, and the energy consumed by the lights.
Circuits with a 20-Amp breaker use 12 to 10-gauge copper, a thicker wire.
Too much current will heat a wire, and a thin wire heats up faster with too much current. Bulb wattage and bulb intensity, the type of bulb, be it incandescent bulbs or LED, dictate the flow of electricity.
The NEC says circuit breaker loads shouldn’t exceed 80% of capacity for safety, so with a 15-Amp circuit breaker, you can’t go over 12-Amps.
There is no limit to the number of light fixture placements you can have as long as you have all the lights turned on; the lighting load stays under the 80% limit.
How Many Lights On A 15-Amp Circuit?
The number of lights on a 15-Amp circuit depends on light fixture wattage.
Check the wattage of each light on the circuit and do some math to determine if you are inside the 15-Amp circuit breaker’s 80 percent capacity restriction.
How To Work Out Light Wattage To Amps?
Watts measure light, while Amps are measured on circuit breakers. To set circuit restrictions, convert the light Wattage to the circuit breaker’s unit. (Learn How To Clean White Doors)
Light wattage combines voltage and amperage so that you can calculate the limit. If your home’s voltage differs from 120-Volts, substitute it in the equation.
Watts = Amps X Volts. For Amps, just reverse your formula.
Amps = Watts / Volts
To determine how many amps a 60-Watt light bulb will pull, add your values into the equation.
Amps = 60-Watts / 120-Volts
Amps = 0.5
A 60-Watt light draws 0.5-Amps, according to our calculations.
We may apply this calculation for each light circuit in our home to see if we are within the circuit breaker’s 80% capacity or need a new circuit to add extra lights.
How Many LED Lights Can Be On a 20 Amp Circuit?
You must consider overloading a 20-amp circuit breaker if you plan to extend your lighting system. Many homeowners think LED light fixtures use so little energy at the same brightness, so they may add as much as they want.
Knowing the number of lights a 20 amp circuit breaker can handle affects electricity, wiring, and whether they can be controlled from one light switch.
A 20-amp breaker on a 120-volt conventional circuit may carry 2400 watts.
You can place ten outlets on a circuit without exceeding the NEC’s 80 percent restriction.
A standard 50-watt light consumes less than half an ampere on a 120-volt circuit. 50-watt lights on a 20-amp breaker might have 38 lights on a circuit.
CFL or LED bulbs are power-saving lights that provide the same amount of brightness as a 60-watt incandescent bulb. Although, be careful when connecting appliances to the same circuit.
If you plan on multiple appliances on the same circuit, you can reduce the number of lights to between 5 and 7.
Shared circuits circuit lights and outlets. Traditional dwellings have a circuit breaker panel indoors. Today, a 15-amp circuit breaker, a standard for general lighting, can also offer appliance outlets.
Although lights and outlets on the same circuit seem fine, there are three factors:
- Some authorities have local codes forbidding electrical professionals from combining the two on a single circuit within the breaker rating.
- If any electrical devices overload, blow the circuit, and fuse, your lighting will go out.
- A separate lighting circuit is less expensive than combining outlets. In addition, thin wires reduce power consumption.
Despite these issues, combining lights and outlets is easy.
How Many LED Lights Can you Have On One Switch?
How many light bulbs on one switch? People wishing to update their light fixtures often ask how many LEDs, fluorescent, or recessed lights to put.
How Many Fluorescent Lights on One Switch?
How many lights per circuit? One circuit should hold 8 of these without overloading.
Fluorescent lights don’t daisy-chain, yet you can wire ballast in parallel, although there is no reason.
When wiring lights, remember how many lights wired will stay below the circuit’s rated amperage, and you can connect multiple ballasts to a single power supply.
How Many Recessed Lights on One Switch
How many recessed lights on one switch? Recessed lights make ceilings appear beautiful, yet one recessed light fixture won’t light a room.
You can add more than one fixture in one switch, though it depends on the new light size, shape, and canister width.
You’ll also need to know how many watts and how many new light bulbs you can put before reaching the breaker limitations.
CFL Bulb vs. LED Bulb
LED and CFL bulbs are different. The exact amount of light for 10 watts or less. You can control 180 LED or CFL bulbs using a 15-amp circuit.
How to Wire Multiple Lights To One Switch
One switch can light multiple lights. One way to do it is to connect them and then connect the first fixture to the switch. (Read Covering Drywall Seams With Wood)
Wires are the second technique to control all your lights from one switch.
Turn off the power before working with or touching wires to avoid getting electrocuted.
- Two conducting wires and ground make up a standard 120-volt home circuit.
- The wire that transmits energy from the power source to the load is black.
- The white wire is the return wire, which, when connected, returns power to the source.
- This completes the circuit so you have flow of current.
- Because switching disrupts this connection, switch terminals have only black wires.
- One of the brass terminals receives the black wire from the power source.
- Another black wire from your light fixture is connected to the load terminal.
- Two white cables remain once these wires have been connected.
- White wires mark the return path. They go around the switch and return in this direction.
- You connect them by twisting their ends together and securing them with a wire cap.
Daisy Chain Light Fixtures
Daisy-chaining is not the same process as connecting lights in a series.
When one light in a series fails, the others go out. You can use parallel wiring to fix light fixtures in daisy-chaining.
Standard electrical color coding is also used, thus making the daisy-chaining approach simple.
You’ll need one extra cable that you’ll most likely run through the attic, connect the black cable to the other two black wires, and repeat with the ground and white wires.
How to Home-Run Fixtures
Feeding wires from multiple light bulbs to a single switch serves two purposes.
One is convenience because a single switch can control multiple lights. The other is the wiring isn’t permanent, and it can easily be removed.
- The hot wire goes on the load terminal when using a light switch that operates multiple lights when using the home run approach.
- A pigtail is the most acceptable way. This entails twisting all the black wires connected to the fixtures and then screwing on a wire cap.
- Use the same procedure whenever you want to connect more than one light to a single switch.
- The ground cables should be connected to the ground terminals.
- A pigtail is not required for the white wires. Twist and cap them, then put them in an electrical box large enough to accommodate all of your cables.
Consider the type of bulbs you have at home when determining how many lights can be on a switch.
Only two incandescent bulbs will work with one switch depending on if they are incandescent bulbs.
Depending on how many lights each switch controls, three or four switches can control fluorescent bulbs.
For example, if each fixture has over one bulb and is connected to two switches, 3-4 lights may be controlled.