Saturday, May 23, 2009

Subject: lights on gfci circuit

Question: Hello,
In a basement, have a GFCI outlet with 4 other protected outlets downstream. We would like to add a lighting circuit with 3 lights and a switch. By far the easiest place to tap into for the power would be from the last of the GFCI protected outlets. This means we would have a mix of outlets and lighting, *both* trip with the GFCI. Is that ok from a code perspective? It is very unlikely this area would ever be the *only* light that is on in the room. In other words, tripping the GFCI would not leave you totally in the dark.

I am also assuming that having 5 outlets and 3 lights on a single 15amp circuit is fine. I can add fixture maximum rated wattages to compare to the 80% rule, but can you tell me how outlets get counted? I'd like to understand the limits if we chose to add more outlets or lights to the same circuit.

Answer: Hi Jim,

There is no rule stating how many outlet can go on to a residential 15 amp circuit. A general rule of thumb is to count each outlet as drawing 180 watts of power. I see no problem with the lights being on a GFCI protected circuit. You don't want to be caught in the dark if the circuit trips but you already stated that is not a problem. Here in Philadelphia the electricians normally try to place each room on an individual circuit. The rooms will have any where between 4-8 outllet and 1-4 lights.

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