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Calculate Electrical Circuits for Lights and Outlets

Can I use a 12 gauge wire for 7 outlets and 12 lights…

Electrical Question from Beata about Wiring Lights and Outlets
Background: Beata, a Homeowner from Exton, PA

Question: Can I use a 12 gauge wire for 7 outlets and 12 lights?

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical question Beata. That depends on how many watts will be required for each light  fixture, and it depends on the type of room where the outlets will be installed. However, I would install one circuit for the outlets and a second circuit for the lights. 12 gauge wire is rated for 20 amps or 2400 watts maximum.

Make a list of  how many light fixtures, the number of bulbs and the watts for each bulb.
Calculate this to determine the load of the proposed circuit:
Watts X Bulbs X Number of Light Fixtures = Total Watts or the Load being placed on the circuit.
Total Watts / Voltage (120) = Required Circuit Amperage
The required wire size will be determined by the required circuit amperage and circuit breaker size.

The Following links will assist you with your electrical question:

Electrical Codes for Outlets

Electrical Wire Size Chart

Wiring Electrical Outlets

Lighting for the Home

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