Electrical Wiring in the Home/adding add power outlets


QUESTION: Do I have to upgrade my breakers to higher amps after adding more outlets?,  If, so typically how many outlets in addition require amount of amps for upgrade with respect to home square footage for san mateo county, ca.


ANSWER: No, the breaker protects the wiring. So if you keep the same size wiring and increased the breaker you could put the wiring in danger of overheating and causing a fire.

The breakers are protection.

The wire size will determine what the size of the circuit amp load will be on each circuit.

For example, most modern outlet circuits use 12awg wire which means they can carry up to 20 amps. They have a 20 amp breaker to keep no more than 20 amps being used on that wire.

You could put as many outlets you want on a circuit.

However, you can only use a certain amount of amps on that circuit.

Simply adding outlets only makes it more convenient to plug loads into, it does not add more amps.

If you exceed the rated amperage for the wiring on that circuit you will need to add another circuit.
That circuit would be another set of wires from the main panel, with an additional breaker for it, ran to a set of outlets.

It cannot be tied into an existing outlet circuit, it would need to be its own circuit.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: So, can it can be preety much any voltage if its the same amps? 230, 240, etc.. on a 120, 30a?

also I woul like to know how to add a different voltage / amps, is it just simply adding a soccket module type of breaker into the existing or the interface may be different?

thanks again for your time,


As far as the wire size goes it is rated in amps, and goes up to 600 volts.

So 12awg copper wire is rated for 20 amps regardless of 240 volts or 120 volts.

Again, the amps that a circuit can carry is related to the size of the wire.

If you have 12awg you can only load it up to 20 amps, and you have to have a 20 amp breaker protecting that circuit from overload.

To change the voltage from 120 to 240 requires a double pole breaker.
But you would only do that for a circuit that needs 240 volts.

If you changed an outlet circuit in your house to 240 volts and then used 120 volt loads, you would burn out the loads and cause shock hazards.

Before adding outlets to a home the circuits need to be evaluated.
If you are trying to simply make it more convenient to plug loads into, rather than adding loads, typically your circuit is okay.

If you are trying to add more loads you have to figure out whether you need an additional circuit or circuits.  
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Greg Hughes


Troubleshooting electrical including appliances and HVAC.


34 years of experience.

Both college and tech schools in this field.

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