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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

This link is helpful as a Homeowner
Do-It-Yourself Electrical

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Be Careful and Be Safe – Never Work on Energized Circuits!

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Complete Guide to Home Electrical Wiring

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Includes:
Wiring GFCI Outlets
Wiring Home Electric Circuits
120 Volt and 240 Volt Outlet Circuits
Wiring Light Switches
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Electric Range
Wiring 3-Wire and 4-Wire Dryer Cord and Dryer Outlet
How to Troubleshoot and Repair Electrical Wiring
Wiring Methods for Upgrading Electrical Wiring
NEC Codes for Home Electrical Wiring
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Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.

Electrical Tips to Help You Wire it Right

The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!

The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.

The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!

The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.

Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!

The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..

The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.



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