How much to put on a single 20amp circuit

I am doing some rewiring. I need:

2 ceiling fans
5 overhead lights and
1 outdoor outlet which (will probably run anything that can be used outdoors)

Is a single 20amp circuit enough for all of that?

Look up on each appliance how many watts it is. Add the figure for the most powerful garden appliance. You know the voltage (I assume 120)

amp = watt / volt

The ceiling fans and lights are inconsequential.

That leaves the appliances you are planning to run outdoors. As long as you’re not trying to blowdry your swimming pool while welding a battleship together, you should be OK. If not, well that’s what circuit breakers are for.

Remember that outdoor outlets must be GFCI protected and installed in an outdoor-rated electrical box.

I think you’ll be ok, but you do need to calculate what you’re going to do outside. Some tools and outdoor equipment can draw a lot.

And that isn’t what a circuit breaker is for.

Excellent, thanks. Am I correct in believing that I can either use a GFCI outlet OR a GFCI breaker? I do not need both, correct?

You only need one. I’d use the outlet if it were need. You don’t need to run into the basement if you don’t need to.

You can’t put two GFCI’s on a circuit. They’ll conflict with each other and trip. I ran across this in a friend’s house. Removing one of the GFCI resolved the problem.

You can use either type. I’d prefer a GFCI breaker because it protects the whole circuit.

Excellent, so another unrelated (well, semi-related) question.

I am installing a hot tub on the back deck and I need a 60 amp 240v setup. If I understand electricity correctly, I need a 60amp breaker in my main panel like this:

And then run 6/3 wire:

Out the back and into a device such as this:

and then hardwire from that into the hot tub.

My (semi-related) question is: can I use the additional spaces in that box to put 20amp breakers to run my 110v outdoor outlets or go with the original plan? Will the hot tub use all 60amps?

Hot tubs are a bit more complex, they are something even licensed electricians can get fouled up meeting code requirements depending on which code is being used. It should require a permit. Consult an electrician familiar with hot tub installations in your city.

I agree - I would be pretty reluctant to attempt a hot tub install myself, even as a very experienced electrical DIYer.

Why is that? Is just electric, right? What makes hot tubs so much more complicated?

Water and electricity don’t mix.

Everything has to be isolated, the frame of the hot tub, the pump etc.

It can be done safely. But I’d hire a pro.

Even just the fact that it’s 60 A and 240 V puts it a bit further outside of the amateur realm. And in addition to the water that’s supposed to be in the tub, you’ve got yet further complications from it being outdoors. And there are probably non-electrical building codes you need to consider, too, like the necessary strength of the deck that the tub will be sitting on.

The isolating and other things should already be done by the hot tub company.

The only connection I had to make on my hot tub was one set of terminals. The only thing an electrician would do is run the conduit and wire then make the connection at the terminals.

My emphasis. If the hot tub company was doing code compliant bonding they’d already have their own electrician there who could do all of the wiring to begin with.

I’m an electrician and I work with water for a living. If I was looking to install a hot tub there is another guy I’d hire to do the electric. Pools and hot tubs is all he does. You call him before you even start so he can tell you things like ‘there must be a buried bonded wire mesh under the tub and an anywhere within 10 feet of it in this towns code addendum’ Start the project without that and you’re stuck removing everything and digging to put the mesh in.

After googling around a bit, I am not seeing the complexity discussed here. Maybe I am setting myself up for an electrocution, a fire, or both at the same time, but I checked with the City and their codes are no stricter than the International Swimming Pool and Spa Code. I need a disconnect between 5 and 10 feet away and a 110V outlet between 10 and 20 feet away (I’m not sure why that is; I am guessing so that people are not tempted to run stuff off of extension cords that can fall in the hottub).

It says nothing of mesh bonding or anything so extravagant. What about 60A and 220V makes it so much harder? Just bigger wires, right?

In all seriousness, if you think I’m setting myself up for problems, please talk me out of it.

I have never heard of an exterior outlet sharing an indoor circuit. Exterior outlets should be on a separate GFCI circuit.

Really doubt a DIY yourself wiring of a friggin hot tub is a good idea for you.

Is there a reason why an exterior GFCI protected outlet cannot be on the same circuit as other indoor outlets? Is it dangerous or otherwise against code?

I appreciate the warnings, but I’ll use my one bump to see if I can get other responses as to WHY it is so difficult to wire a hot tub. 4 wires, 6/3 gauge…I’ll buy bigger strippers.

Is there any reason my configuration described above will not work?

You don’t need strippers – they aren’t even commonly available for them. Big wires like that, you just use an electricians knife or utility knife to strip off the insulation.

Also, for your original plan, I would run 1 #12 NM (romex) cable for the lights & fans, and a separate one to the outdoor outlet. Back at the box, you could connect both to the same 20A breaker. That should only blow the breaker if you happen to be using more than 20A at once, which is probably unlikely. If it does happen frequently (like you are using heavy outdoor tools in that outlet, than all you have to do to fix this is to simply go in the box and move the outdoor outlet cable to its’ own 20A breaker. It’s easy (& pretty cheap) to run a second cable now, when you are doing this remodeling, ve. having to add it later.

Don’t see why they couldn’t be shared. I plan on putting my exterior and garage recepts on the same circuit. Ran it by the code guy when he was here and he didn’t have a problem with it.

He did say that I might consider two separate receptacle circuits for the garage, but I’m not gonna. I’m not running a ton of tools simultaneously.