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Steve G.
Steve G., Electrical Engineer
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 16796
Experience:  27 years in Electrical Engineering, designing electrical plans and specifications.
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How many circuits are recommended for a 12 X 17 Living room?

Resolved Question:

How many circuits are recommended for a 12 X 17 Living room? And how far from the panel before it's recommended to change from 14 gauge to 12 gauge?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Steve G. replied 9 months ago.
Hello there and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be assisting you today. I am an engineer with over 30 years of electrical and electronic training, repair and installation experience. I will try and answer your question accurately and precisely so that we can get you on your way.

Your receptacles must be spaced at a maximum of 12' apart. Any wall longer (wider) than 24" must have at least one receptacle.

As for how many can you have on a single circuit, there is no specific code for this (although your local jurisdiction may have one - worth checking) but a good rule of thumb that I use is 10 per 15A circuit and 13 per 20A circuit. I nearly always use less.

Keep in mind that this is for a living room. There are other rules for Kitchens, bathrooms etc.

As for wiring, it would have to be a very very big house to start using #12 on a 15A circuit for general purpose receptacle circuits. If 20A, then you must use #12.

I'll be here if you need further help with this issue. Please let me know.

Regards
Steve
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

My concern for possibly needing larger gauge wiring is for the possible use of a residential space heater, through the wall air conditioner or window air conditioner.


 


Combining this with a distance of 40 feet from the panel to the living room.


 

Expert:  Steve G. replied 9 months ago.
A space heater or AC unit that runs on 120V and plugs in, would not require you to upsize your wiring on a 40' run. If you are sure that you are going to have one or the other, I would probably knock 2 or 3 general purpose receptacles off my circuit but there is no requirement to do so.

I'll be here if you need further help with this issue. Please let me know.

Regards
Steve
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

you're saying one 15 amp (14 gauge wire) for the living room, 40 feet from panel even with possibly high watt appliance use


 

Expert:  Steve G. replied 9 months ago.
I think you are getting confused with the requirements for upsizing wiring. We upsize wiring on long runs because of volt drop, not current draw. Current is not lost over long distances, but volts are due to impedance in the wiring.

Usually, on a fully loaded conductor, this starts to be problematic over 100 feet (one way) so a volt drop calculation is normally a good idea.

If you have a 15A breaker, you can use #14 wiring for residential power circuits.

If you have a 20A breaker, you can use #12 wiring for residential power circuits.

Technically, on a 15A 120V circuit, you can have 1440 watts and on a 20A you can have 1920 watts.

If your space heater is going to be 1500 watts (quite possible), then I would recommend that you run a single 20A feed and use #12 wiring.

I'll be here if you need further help with this issue. Please let me know.

Regards
Steve
Steve G., Electrical Engineer
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 16796
Experience: 27 years in Electrical Engineering, designing electrical plans and specifications.
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