How many appliances can a particular circuit handle?
To determine how many watts a branch circuit can handle, you need to know two things. First, you need to know how many amperes, or amps, for which a circuit is rated. An amp is the amount of electrical current that flows through a circuit. In most homes, lighting and small appliance circuits are 15 or 20 amps, and major appliances are on 20, 50 or even 60 amp circuits.
Second, you need to know the volts flowing through the wires. Volts are a measure of the pressure that causes current to flow through a circuit. Generally, household wiring is 120 or 240 volts.
To determine the amount of wattage a branch circuit can handle, multiply the circuit's amperage by the circuit's volts. A 20-amp, 120-volt circuit can handle 2,400 watts.
The following list gives you the average wattage rating for common household equipment. For specific information on your home equipment, check the manufacturer's listing found in your owner's manual or on the information plate of the equipment. For lighting, check the wattage rating of the bulbs being used.
All wattages are approximate. See your equipment documentation for exact wattage.
|Frost-Free Deep Freeze||500|
|Garbage Disposal||450 to 950|
|Oven||4,000 to 8,000|
|Range||4,000 to 5,000|
|Standard Deep Freeze||400|
|Water Heater||2,000 to 5,000|
|Two Burner Hot Plate||1,650|
|Vacuum Cleaner||750 to 1,350|
Call Before You Dig
Before beginning any excavation in the vicinity of underground electrical lines or working within 10 feet of an overhead high-voltage electrical line, call 811 to request an underground locator service or overhead safeguards. For more information, visit Call811.com.
Energy Education for Kids
Have fun learning about electricity and power companies at our educational website, Learning Power.
Did You Know?
Solar Energy is measured by the kilowatt-hour. One kilowatt = 1000 watts. One kilowatt-hour (kWh) of energy will burn a 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours.
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