That’s more than you’d ever install in most rooms. Each CFL or LED bulb typically gives the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb while drawing 10 watts or less, which is equivalent to a current draw of 1/12 amp.
Thus a 15-amp circuit can safely control 180 or more fixtures that use CFL or LED bulbs.
How Many Can Recessed Light Fixtures Should Be Used Together?
Recessed lighting canisters provide attractive ambient lighting, but because the fixtures are hidden behind the ceiling, you need more than one to adequate illuminate a room.
The optimum number of fixtures for a particular space depends on a number of factors, including bulb wattage, canister width, and room shape and dimensions. The number of lights you can put on a circuit is limited by the breaker rating, but in most cases, that isn’t an issue.
The ideal spacing of recessed lighting fixtures results in each part of the floor having approximately equal illumination. Each fixture provides a cone of light, and the cones should overlap.
The fixture spacing necessary to produce this effect depends on several factors, including bulb intensity, diameter of the fixture opening and height of the ceiling. As a rule of thumb, you can usually divide the height of the ceiling by 2 and space the fixtures by this amount. The optimum spacing between standard fixtures in a room with an 8-foot ceiling is therefore 4 feet.
Omnidirectional and Directional Fixtures
Overusing recessed lighting, or using it improperly, can produce undesirable effects. Lining the fixtures up in a row creates a sightline pattern that creates a less-than-inviting airline runway effect — it’s often better to space fixtures in slightly irregular patterns.
Moreover, spacing standard fixtures too closely can provide too much illumination, giving the impression of a commercial showroom. Some fixtures are directional, though, and you often need to space them closer together than omnidirectional ones to produce the desired lighting effect, which may include patterns of indirect lighting on the walls or ceiling.
The main limitation to the number of recessed fixtures you can run at the same time is the rating of the circuit breaker that controls the circuit. Each fixture with a 60-watt incandescent or halogen bulb draws about 1/2 amp, so a 15-amp breaker for a standard lighting circuit would be able to handle 30 of them.
That’s more than you’d ever install in most rooms. Each CFL or LED bulb typically gives the same amount of light as a 60-watt incandescent bulb while drawing 10 watts or less, which is equivalent to a current draw of 1/12 amp. Thus a 15-amp circuit can safely control 180 or more fixtures that use CFL or LED bulbs.
A 120 volt, 15 ampere circuit can provide 1800 watts (unless it’s a “continuous load”, then only 1440 watts). I’d guess that a “normal bulb”, is a 60 watt incandescent bulb. Which means you can have up to 30 bulbs on a 15 ampere circuit (likely a bit less to compensate for losses elsewhere in the circuit).
120 volts * 15 amperes = 1800 watts
1800 watts / 60 watts = 30 bulbs
However, the National Electrical Code says that “An outlet supplying luminaire(s) shall be calculated based on the maximum volt-ampere rating of the equipment and lamps for which the luminaire(s) is rated.” (220.14(D)). So you’ll have to check the rating on the fixtures you’re installing, and do the calculations based on those values.
Having said all that… You should have no problem supplying 8 light fixtures from a single 120 volt 15 ampere circuit, unless the fixtures have four or five bulbs each.
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