Can You Run Lights On A 20 Amp Circuit? Yes, You Can!

One must deal with electrical connections with the utmost caution, especially regarding circuits. A circuit refers to a circular path consisting of a conductor, load, and a current source from which it travels.

A simple mistake or overload on the circuit can burn down the whole wiring and circuit board. And as a consequence of the damage, you will have to spend considerable money on repairs. Therefore It’s better to make sure your circuit can handle the load you are putting on it.

Can You Run Lights On A 20 Amp Circuit

In this article, we will describe everything you need to know regarding circuiting while answering whether you can run lights on a 20-amp circuit or not.

Can I Run Lights On a 20-amp Circuit?

Yes. You can Run LED or CFL light bulbs in a 20 amp circuit. The National Electrical Code doesn’t prohibit running bulbs on a 20 amp circuit. So following the standard practice, you can put 10 outlets on a single circuit, assuming each outlet will draw 1.5 amp or 180 wattages. So there is no complexity in using lights on a 20 amp circuit.

But you must remember that the light should not cause an overload in the circuit. For example, if the circuit takes a load of 80% of its total capacity, a single lamp may cause the circuit to trip off.

Can I Put A 15 Amp Light Fixture On A 20 Amp Circuit?

As we have mentioned earlier, a circuit can take a load up to 80% of its capacity. Therefore, you can draw a maximum of 16 amp output from a 20 amp circuit. That’s why you can put a 15 amp light fixture on a 20 amp circuit. But make sure no other lighting fixture or electrical device is connected to the same circuit.

Can I Use 14 Gauge Wire For Lights On A 20 Amp Circuit?

Gauge refers to the thickness of the wire. The thicker the wire, The more current will pass through. So to take the current flow from a 20 amp circuit, a minimum 12 gauge wire is necessary. However, a 14 gauge wire is thicker than a 12 gauge wire, which will be unable to take the load of a 2o amp circuit.

Consequently, the circuit breaker will trip off, and you will burn the wire due to overload. But a 12 gauge wire can handle a 20 amp circuit breaker even if the 20 amp current is being drawn simultaneously.

What Can I Run Off A 20 Amp Breaker?

Before answering this question, let’s look at the list of how many amps a standard home electrical device may take in its runtime.

  1. Mobile Phone Charger- 0.4 amp.
  2. LED Bulbs- 0.08- .12  amp
  3. Standard Iron- 1.66
  4. LCD TV- 1.35-1.66 amp (Depending on the size of the TV)
  5. Coffee Maker- 6.2 amp
  6. Hair Dryer- 12.5amp
  7. Space Heater- 12.5 amp.
  8. Toaster- 10 amp.

We have said earlier that a 20 amp circuit breaker can easily take a 16 amp load at a time. This 80% rule is the most risk-free zone that causes no damage to the electrical line keeping the circuit safe from overload. So you make your own equation of what you can run on a 20 amp breaker. 

Looking at the list, we can say that when using a hair dryer on a circuit, using a space heater at the same time using the outlet connected with the same circuit will overload the circuit and trip the circuit breaker off.

Simply put, A 20 amp breaker can handle almost 2400 watts. In that case, it has the capacity to run a whole room on it, including standard light. There are appliances you can see from the list that may take a single breaker for itself to run.

If you don’t find the amp requisition of a device on the list, check the device’s packaging.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Lights Can You Run Off A 20 Amp Breaker?

A lamp with an LED bulb draws 0.08 amp or 5 watts of current at a time. So if you want to use a single 20 amp breaker for all your LED lights, we recommend you put no more than 50 lights. Put 45 to be on the safest side from any electrical hazards.

What Can I Do To Avoid Overloading 20amp Circuit?

Having too many receptacles in one circuit poses the danger of tripping the breaker off and damaging the electrical wiring. To avoid such overload, refrain from using all the receptacles simultaneously, which is not a solution for eternity. So to have a definitive solution, you must split the circuit and run a wire from a separate and independent breaker.

Is It Ok To Use Light And Output On The Same Circuit?

Using light and other electronic appliances on the same outlet is the wisest option. Because an LED light doesn’t draw 5% of what an electrical device like a toaster or hair dryer does. In that case, the load will be perfectly balanced for the circuit.

How Many Amps Does An LED Light Draw?

Unlike any incandescent bulb that takes up to 1.6 amp, an LED takes only .26 amps. The difference is quite significant to make anyone consider LED over an incandescent or CFL bulb.

Can I Put All My Lights In One Circuit?

You can put all your lights in one circuit. But the number of lights depends on the capacity of the breaker and the amount of current the light will draw from the circuit. Generally, for a 50-wattage bulb on a 20-amp circuit, you can put 50 lights in one circuit. 

But nobody has this much light in their home. So you can put all your bulbs in one circuit, but the number is limited to the circuit capacity and the load of the light fixture.

Final Words

There is nothing to worry about while using lights on a 20-amp circuit. A 20 amp circuit can handle the load of dozens of bulbs at a time. But you must ensure that the light is not exceeding the load capacity of the circuit. If there are electrical appliances already connected to the same circuit, you must make your own equation to calculate how many amps are still left to use.

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