How Many Electrical Outlets Can Be on One Circuit?

Electrical outlets power homes with all the necessities you need every day. However, is it possible to have too many appliances or electronics plugged into one electrical outlet? While the common household carries a typical 15-amp current, most homeowners lack the expertise to know how many electrical outlets can go on one circuit.

In fact, the National Fire Protection Association reports the malfunction of electrical problems cause more than 13% of house fires, leading to more than $1.4 million in damages, property loss, and death.
It is important to protect your home and family by knowing the capacity of your home circuit, looking for signs of overload, and spotting when to call a professional electrician to inspect your house circuits.

Maximum Circuit Load

Although you might want to maximize the use of each electrical outlet in your home, it is essential to determine how much electricity an electrical loop can support. Major kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, electric stoves, and dishwashers need to be plugged into the wall directly either through a larger 240-volt circuit or a normal wall outlet.

You should never plug large appliances into an extension cord or power strip, because both the different thickness of wiring and additional power draw on a single outlet can lead to an electrical malfunction. Power strips are ideal for offering more room for low drawing electronic devices like phone and computer chargers.

To safely calculate the maximum circuit load, you need to know the amount of current in your home. Then, you multiply the current by the amount of power required to conduct the current; typically it takes 120 volts. In most cases, a home must not exceed 1,800 watts based on a 15-amp current.

Signs of an Overload Circuit

When an electrical circuit is reaching maximum capacity, it will show some clear and visible signs.

Flickering and Dimming Lights

The biggest sign is dimming or flickering lights when appliances are turned on. Dimming and flickering of lights occur because electric current is having to be split evenly among electrical devices. If you need to know how many outlets on a circuit are too many, flickering lights are one sure sign.

Warm Outlets and Cords

Another obvious sign is when wall outlets or electrical cords are warm to touch. Warm electrical outlets and cords are signs that electricity is transferring to heat in your electrical wiring, and that means you’ve got an overloaded electrical outlet. It is important to troubleshoot the cause of warm wiring immediately because it poses a risk of fire and electric shock.


If you see or hear sparkling, sizzling, or crackling noises, check your outlets immediately and follow fire hazard procedures. Sparking could be the result of an electrical short caused by a malfunctioning appliance or electrical connection.

Burning Smell

Lastly, a burning smell coming from light switches or electrical outlets is a dangerous sign of an overloading circuit and it should be looked at immediately. If you can do so safely, turn off the light switch and unplug everything that’s connected through the overloaded electrical outlet where the burning smell originates. Then, call an electrician right away.

How to Rewire Circuits

If your electrical wiring shows any of the symptoms of an overloaded circuit, it is important to fix your issue. You could remedy an overloaded circuit by moving around which wall outlets appliances are plugged into, but if that does not you may need to require some electrical outlets.

Before attempting to rewire circuits or receptacles, you must turn off the breaker switches. It is always a good idea to label the circuit breaker switches that belong to each appliance, or room. properly labeled circuits will help you determine where the overloaded circuit is.

When rewiring outlets, it is of the utmost importance to never do something that you are not sure of, or not comfortable with. If you are unsure how to rewire outlets or redistribute electrical circuits, you should call an electrical professional like Allgood Electric.

Removing and replacing wires in circuits is a task for a professional electrician. For more information contact Allgood Electric today!

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