You can safely have 12 LED shop lights on one circuit at a time. There are some exceptions for stronger circuits, especially if you use LED lights with a lower wattage. However, sticking with the 12 lights will help you get plenty of light in the one area and can prevent overloading or other issues with your breaker box.
When you’re setting up a new shop, adding more lights to an existing area or even replacing those old incandescent or fluorescent bulbs, it’s important to know how many LED shop lights you can add to one circuit at a time. You want to make the most efficient use of your circuits without overloading them and causing a power outage or something worse.
The good news is that modern day LED lights use very little power compared to their incandescent and fluorescent cousins. This means that you should be able to install more LED shop lights on a single circuit before maxing out the circuits capacity.
Let’s take a look at how many lights you are able to put onto one circuit, how to figure out the right number of lights you can add to each circuit, and why you need to be careful about adding too many lights to each circuit.
How Many LED Shop Lights Can Be On One Circuit?
When you are looking to add more LED lights to your shop or garage, you want to try to maximize the number of lights you can. This helps you get the most efficient use out of your circuits without overloading them and risk either continuously flipping or even ruining the circuit breaker.
For the most part, it is best to stick with no more than 12 lights or receptacles on the circuit to be safe.
In a few situations, you are able to add a few more. This is only true if you have gotten approval by your local inspectors ahead of time and you know the known load of the devices. With an LED light, you are able to add as many of the devices to the circuit as you want as long as you never go higher than 80% of the load. Since most homeowners do not know how the load works, it is best to stick with no more than 12 of these LED lights on one circuit.
How to Figure Out How Many LED Shop Lights to Place On a Circuit?
The best way to help you figure out how many LED shop lights you are able to add onto one single circuit is to figure out the total load that that specific circuit can handle. You can easily do this by using the following formula:
Power (watts) = Current (amps) X Voltage (volts)
So, to figure out the maximum load if you are using the 15 amp circuit would be at 15 amps by 120 volts, which will equal 1800 watts.
And the maximum load on a 20 map circuit would be 2400 watts.
Now, the NEC is going to limit the lighting that you’re able to use based on how many watts per square foot that you have.
What they say is:
You should not use more than 80% of a circuits total capacity and you should not place over 10 loads on each circuit.
So, with 15 amps, you would need to only have the amount of wattage that is 80% of the 1800 watts, which equals 1440 watts. If you have LED lights that are very efficient, you may be able to put a few more up than the 12 recommended above. However, do not go above this number or you risk being too hard on the circuit.
The more amps that each circuit is able to handle, the more you can add in terms of shop lights. Since 15 amps is fairly standard, this is a good rule of thumb to stick with. You can use the formula from before to help you figure out the load in your home or shop.
What Happens if I Overload a Circuit?
If you try to put too many LED shop lights onto one circuit, you could cause a few problems with the electricity around your home. It is possible for circuits to overload when you try to place too many lights or other electrical devices onto one of them. All of the circuits in your home are designed to handle a very specific amount of electricity based on what it should hold.
However, if you allow the circuit to overload by placing too many electrical components on them, it is possible that the circuit is going to blow. We recommend doing about 12 lights on one circuit at a time, but if you decide to put 20 there, you could overload the circuit and cause some problems.
When you overload the circuit, the power will shut itself off. This is a safety measure that is done to keep the breaker box and all the electricity in your home safe. it will automatically happen if the electrical wiring exceeds its known capacity at the time. The good news with this is that you should not have to worry about a home burning down because the electrical circuit is overloaded. But it will cause you to have a power outage through the home until you get it fixed. And if it happens too often, it may ruin your electrical breaker box.
The best way to prevent this from happening is to not put too many electrical components onto one circuit. If you want to add some LED shop lights, you need to think carefully about how many you want to put there. Keep it to no more than 12, though you may want to consider doing fewer if you can to keep the circuit safe. since these LED lights are bright and give off a good deal of light, you are probably going to be fine.
When it comes to lighting up your office or shop, you need to be mindful of how many different lights you put up at a time. A few lights will not be a big deal, but having quite a few of these up at a time can cause the circuit to overload and can ruin your breaker box if you are not careful.