I’m renovating my 1984 kitchen and I'm worried about exceeding the maximum load on the circuit. I'd like to add recessed lighting and above/below cabinet lighting as well.

I know that 12 devices are permitted per 15A circuit (light outlets; plug outlets) and that switches and junction boxes are NOT to be counted. With my new setup I think that I will end up with 11 devices total for that 15A circuit.

My modifications are about:

  1. Adding - Under cabinet lighting using 7 LED Power Strip (linear) lights via one dimmable switch
  2. Adding – Below cabinet lighting using 5 LED Power Strip (linear) lights via one dimmable switch
  3. Adding – 4 Recessed LED Slim Lights to Bridges in between my upper cabinets via one dimmable switch
  4. Replacing – 1 Ceiling Track Lights with 6 Recessed LED Slim Lights via one dimmable switch
  5. Replacing – 1 Ceiling Track Lights with 3 Recessed LED Slim Lights via one dimmable switch

For the 4 above modifications, I counted that as 4 Devices to be added to my circuit. I already have 7 devices on the circuit, for a total of 11. I`m not sure if this the right way to calculate this and I was concerned that it might not be permitted by the Ontario Electrical Code?

Here are the specs for the devices:

  1. Under cabinet LED Power Strip: Qty: 7 at 4.3W each (total of 30.1 Watts)
    • using a 36W LED driver for a 120V to 12V – DC conversion
  2. Above cabinet LED Power Strip: Qty: 5 at 3.1W each (total of 15.5 Watts)
    • using a 24W LED driver for a 120V to 12V - DC conversion
  3. 4 Recessed LED Light (9 Watts each - 120V) – a total of 36 Watts
  4. 6 Recessed LED Light (9 Watts each - 120V) – a total of 54 Watts
  5. 3 Recessed LED Light (9 Watts each - 120V) – a total of 27 Watts

Please note that every item above has its own dimmable Switch.

The rest of the circuit is used as below:

  • 1 light outlet in Dining Room (hanging type) via a dimmable switch
  • 1 outdoor light via an indoor dimmable switch
  • 2 plug outlets in dining room
  • 2 plug outlets in a room above the kitchen; one outlet used for computer/printer, about 14 hours a day

I do understand the circuit loading rule of 80%, i.e. 120V x 15A = 1800W x 80% = 1440W but I was concerned is if there were specific rules in the Ontario Electrical Code, i.e. specific calculations for LED Recessed and LED power strip lighting restricting me in making these additions.

Also, I recall reading something about the known load (i.e. lights) and the unknown load (i.e. plug outlets), not too sure if applicable here (??)

Also, read about a 1.1 factor, i.e. multiplying the wattage by 1.1 for drivers. I’m not sure I understood that one and if applicable to my case (??).

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!

  • Thanks Micheal, I'm new and learning... I did create a new question (Ask Question) in regards to the last entry with a new question, that I noticed you had deleted, thanks!
    – Mike
    Feb 19 '19 at 16:49

Consider having a limited number of DC power supplies that each supply as many lights as possible (remembering that voltage drop is a much bigger issue for low voltage).

Being in Canada you have a statutory limitation on how many outlets you can have on one circuit. (the US doesn't, except for local amendments). The DC power supply counts as one outlet, no matter how many loads it supplies on the DC side.

Another slick thing you can do with DC lighting is fit a deep cycle battery somewhere in the house. Feed the lights from it. Use a proper battery recharger instead of individual power supplies. Now, when the power fails, the lights still work. Along with possibly the Internet router, a few device chargers, some TVs, a Roku box, and the refrigerator if you upsize the system enough and add an inverter*. You can then add solar panels to extend duration during a long outage.

* They used to make special 12V refrigerators specifically for off-grid solar homes, which were hyperinsulated. They were so low volume as to be practically bespoke; so prices were over the moon. Meanwhile, Energy Star happened, and with the benefit of million quantity and therefore a large R&D budget, mainstream builders were able to highly optimize efficiency beyond what a small scale builder could possibly do. So now, even with the efficiency losses of an inverter, plain off-the-shelf refrigerators have proven to be the "way to go".


I'm from Toronto and I not aware of any special considerations for LEDs in relation to code. I am aware of lots of cheap Chinese copys on the market. If your light costs 8 bucks, don't use it. The drivers are crap and brightness varies quite a bit. Even the colour is off a lot of the time. I'm actually writing this in my garage under a very yellow set of 5000k 3" pots that I couldn't use for a customer because I realized they were crap. Each one has a different colour temp. In terms of draw on the circuit, they use almost nothing. Some of them can even be powered with batteries for several hours. Check the draw on your printer if it's a laser sometimes they can draw quite a bit.

  • More than that, if you're using cheap Cheese junk power modules, don't snug them up to limits. If your lights are 15W don't use a 24W supply, use a 48. I wouldn't use cheapie power supplies at all, though I am comfortable with cheapie LV lights. Feb 19 '19 at 4:49

TLDR, first the outlet limit is for commercial and industrial locations NOT residential. With that said there is NO way led lighting will over load your existing branch circuits in fact power companies have given huge rebates where I work to replace lighting that was upgraded 7 years ago to fluorescent now again to led's current covering 70% of the fixture cost. You need to look at the wattage of the new lamps a 16w led. Will replace a 100w incandescent if one of the newer lamps this means you could have 5 of these in the same place as a 100w old school incadesent lamp and still use less, in my opinion led lights are brighter and many areas I work including my own home have been upgraded with more perceived light at much less energy usage, in most cases by 1/2 the power with more light because of technology. Not just my opinion but why would power companies pay to do this? Because they don't have to keep upgrading services its a fact. My area my power actually gave me a "free new electric high efficiency water heater but I had to install it. Great deal similar to LED's

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