Can I wire 2 ceiling fans and 5 ceiling spot lights and 3 closet ligthts on a singe circuit with 12 ga wire and a 15 amp breaker? Or should I wire the 2 ceiling fans on a separate circuit?

  • If you want to always be on the safe side no more than 8 on a 15 amp and 10 on a 20 amp. – Paul Mar 8 at 21:33

There should be no problem putting it all on a single 15 ampere circuit. Likely in the worst case scenario, each fixture would consume ~100 watts. That would be using large 52" fans, and 100 watt bulbs in each fixture. With the 10 fixtures, that would be 1000 watts (10 * 100 = 1000). A 15 ampere 120 volt circuit can provide 1800 watts of power (15A * 120V).

More realistically, you're going to be using lower wattage fixtures, especially nowadays with CFL and LED bulbs becoming more common. Here's some calculations based on various wattage devices.

  • 10 devices @ 75 watts each = 750 watts.
  • 10 devices @ 60 watts each = 600 watts.
  • 2 fans @ 100 watts, and 8 lights @ 60 watts = 680 watts.
  • 2 fans @ 75 watts with 3 60 watt blub light kits, and 8 lights @ 100 watts = 1310 watts.
  • 2 fans @ 100 watts with 3 100 watt bulb light kits, and 8 lights @ 100 watts = 1600 watts.

Since it's a 15 ampere circuit, you'll only need 14 AWG conductors. Unless there's a specific reason you're using 12 AWG instead, which is also fine.

| improve this answer | |
  • 1
    great answer. You can also upgrade the breaker to 20 amp if it's 12AWG all the way through the circuit. – DrewJordan May 22 '15 at 13:56

You are FINE with this. What you are proposing is a good way less than a 20A circuit could handle in this type of setting.

Personally I'd go with #14 on a 15A breaker for loads like this.

| improve this answer | |

Maximum number of devices on a breaker is 12. So you pass the first rule with only having 10 items. Also number 12GA for a 15 amp breaker works as well. If your ceiling fans are not some crazy ones. It's fine on one circuit. I have never checked how many amps they draw cause its never very much, and i have never heard of it being a problem. Each 60W light is .5Amps so you have quite a bit of room if your bulbs are that wattage or less! Remember you can load your 15A breaker up to 12 amps before you run into code problems.

| improve this answer | |
  • Can you cite a source for the claim that you can only have 12 devices on a breaker? Secondly, if it's a 15 ampere breaker, (theoretically) you can draw 15 amperes indefinitely without tripping the breaker. I'm not sure where you came up with the idea that 12 amperes should trip a 15 ampere breaker. – Tester101 May 18 '15 at 10:18
  • 1
    Breakers are rated at 80% for continuous use. If a load is running for longer than three hours at more than 80% (e.g. more than 12 amps on a 15A circuit), than the breaker is supposed to trip. Thats how they are designed. I do understand that this is not always the case that they trip. Heck I have seen 15.5 amps hold on a breaker without tripping. But thats not how breakers are designed and why we always do the 80% calculation for breaker sizing. – JollyGoodTime May 18 '15 at 13:21
  • As for the number of devices. It seems like the internet is saying that a lot of states are different on that rule. So thats a good point! What do you usually do Tester101? – JollyGoodTime May 18 '15 at 13:27
  • 1
    @Janessa, not to sound insulting, but you really need to confirm all this stuff on your own. Going solely on what someone else tells you is a sure fire way to get things wrong, and this is not a trade to get things wrong. Your early posts in this had me worried, glad you found out for yourself. – Speedy Petey May 19 '15 at 11:05
  • 1
    Also, a continuous load is one that is expected to run for three hours or more, not one that simply can run for three hours or more. BIG difference. – Speedy Petey May 19 '15 at 11:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.