Can I wire lights and outlets on the same circuit? This is a question a lot of people ask me. And most of the time my response is it depends. Why do I always say it depends? For example, when you’re doing a temporary Installation, you can wire both lights and outlets on the same circuit.
In a permanent structure, I recommend that you separate the lighting circuit from the socket-outlet circuit.
Table of Contents
- Should you separete lights and outlets circuits?
- how to wire lights and outlets on same circuit.
- How many lights can be on one circuit?
- Lighting circuit wire size.
- Final thought.
Should you separete lights and outlets circuits?
They are a lot of reasons why you should not combine lighting and socket outlets circuits. I am going to share with you a few reasons.
- These two circuits are different
- It is difficult to find a fault when you are trouble shooting
- When there is a fault in one circuit,both lighting and socket outlets are affected.
- It is not easy to do mentenance works when you put both lights and outlets in the same circuit.
These two circuits are different.
When I say these circuits, are different, they are a few things that I consider, and these are:
- Cable size.
- Circuit breaker size
- The load.
The cable sizes for both lights and outlets are different. In lighting circuits, you use a 1.5mm2 cable. While in sockets outlets you use 2.5mm2 cables.
The circuit breakers’ size is different. What dictates the size or amperes of a circuit is the expected current drawn by the circuits. In general light, circuits draw less current from the supply while outlets consume a lot of current compared to lighting.
The load in a lighting circuit is less than the current consumption in sockets outlets. In modern homes, you find that most lighting loads are LED these consume less electrical current. Socket outlets on the other hand do not have a specific load type but you plug in various home appliances with different power ratings.
You have loads like computers, electric kettle, juicers, T.V, and many other home appliances that you plug-in outlets.
It is difficult to find a fault when you are trouble shooting
In troubleshooting, it is easy when lights are not coming on, you will just concentrate on the lighting circuit. And the first step is to identify the lighting circuit that has a fault.
If the outlet has a problem you start your fault-finding with outlets sockets. When you have both lights and outlets in one circuit, it will take you a lot of time to know where the fault is coming from. When Isay it is difficult to troubleshoot, I am not saying that you can’t find the fault. You can but it will take you more time than when one circuit is dedicated to either lights or outlets.
When there is a fault in one circuit,both lighting and socket outlets are affected.
The reason circuits are separated is for safety, easy identification of faults and speedy fixing of faults. When you wire both lights and outlets in one circuit, when there is a short circuit in an outlet, the entire circuit is down.
Let us imagine that in your house you have one circuit that controls both outlets and lights. if lights have a fault that causes a circuit breaker to trip, your entire house will have a blackout.
how to wire lights and outlets on same circuit.
Here am going to guide you on how to wire lights and outlets on the same circuit. I must stress that you should follow these steps when your local national electrical code allows wiring outlets and lights on the same circuit.
Materials need to wiring plugs and lights on same circuit.
- Circuit breaker
- conduit pipes
- Mounting boxes
The first step is to run a cable from the distribution board to the socket outlet. Then you tap power from the socket out and you supply the switch for lighting from the socket outlet.
You proceed to run another cable from the switch to the lighting point. In practice how do you with both outlets and lights on the same circuit?
You run three cables from the distribution board to the first socket outlet. The three cables are live, neutral and earth wires.
You get the live and neutral wire from the socket-outlet you route it to the switch. Then you get your switch wire from the switch to the light points.
How many lights can be on one circuit?
This is a question that a lot of people ask. This is a good question because when you know the number of lights that can be in one circuit, you are likely not to overload it.
The most important thing to consider when determining how many lightS one circuit can accommodate is the watt rating of the light fitting.
I will use the circuit breaker rating of 10A this is a recommended size in a 220v system, and I will use a 100w incandescent bulb. In a 220v system, a 10A circuit can allow up to 16 lights rated at 100w.16 light bulbs will work without causing an overload.
However, in a 120v system, a circuit breaker rated at 10A can allow a maximum of 8 light bulbs without causing an overload. Mind we use a light bulb rated at 100w.Nowadays, most light fixtures use LED light bulbs with lower power ratings.
This means that you can add more light fixtures in one circuit when you use light bulbs with a lower power rating.
Lighting circuit wire size.
The lighting circuit wire size in a 220v electrical wiring system is 1.5mm squared cable. This can either be a single core or multiple core cable.
Can I wire lights and outlets on the same circuit? Yes, you can wire both lights and outlets on the same circuit. For permanent structures, homes and offices, I would not advise you to combine lights and outlets circuits.
All in all, some rules and regulations guide you in all electrical installations. The best practice is to apply these rules and regulations. The only objective of wiring regulations is to ensure safety for both equipment and people.
If you are an electrician do all electrical installations as stipulated in your national code. Are you a homeowner and you want to do electrical house wiring? Seek the services of a licensed electrician to help you.
Do you have questions and personal experience wiring outlets and lights? you can share or make your contributions in the comments section below.