circuits and amps

Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 06:17 pm
This is a 2 part question.

1) On my circuit panel I count 12 15 amp circuits and 3 20 amp circuits, total 240 amps. There are 2 100 amp main circuits. The sticker on the door says max mains of 100 amps. So what is my real capacity? And either way how can it support 240 amps? I'm not sure I'm understanding amps.

2) Similarly, I have a circuit in the kitchen which currently has the refrigerator, an outlet, the range, and a range hood on it. The refrigerator says 7.74 amps. I'm getting a new range with 15 amps, and an over the range microwave also with 15 amps. What size circuit would I need to support all that, with also maybe a coffeemaker plugged into the outlet? Should I put in a new circuit(s)? Will my total mains capacity be able to handle a larger or additional circuits?

Thanks, Mike Olson
Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 07:15 pm
1) You never use all the available capacity on all your circuits at the same time. Individual lines may have a 15 amp limit, but the main circuit is limited to 100 amps. If you max out all your circuits at the same time, you will trip your house breaker.

2) You have a very unusual house if your range and your refrigerator are on the same circuit. Typically your oven has it's own dedicated circuit, often with a much higher rated breaker. You should confirm this. If your house is really set up like this, you should install two separate circuits, one 30 or 40 amp for the oven and range, one standard 15 amp for the refrigerator and outlet. (You should also consider getting a smaller microwave. No one needs a 15 amp microwave.) Your mains should be fine.

All this is just general guidance. House wiring is controlled by local code where you live. A local electrician can ensure you are compliant.

Reply Thu 5 May, 2016 07:54 pm
interesting. Thanks for the answer. I double checked and those 4 things - refrig, outlet, range, and hood (the hood electric will become the OTR microwave electric) - are indeed all on the same circuit. Not sure why it was done that way. The dishwasher has its own circuit, as does the disposal - so why not a separate one for the range like you said. It looks like I will need another circuit as you described. Could it be that the OTR microwave needs 15 amps in part for the exhaust fan?
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