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Circuit Breaker Loads

Most office and laboratory locations have 20 amp circuit breakers that serve two or more outlets. These breakers can handle most office equipment; however, the widespread use of personal computers and associated hardware can create an electrical overload. To determine your current electrical load, follow these steps:

  1. Check office/laboratory equipment for a manufacturer's rating label that indicates total watts or amps. Take special care to check appliances that use electricity to generate heat.
  2. Convert the watts rating to amps: Amps = Watts / 120 Volts
  3. Total the amps for each circuit.
  4. If the total equals more than 15 amps per 20-amp circuit, you may be overloading the circuit. Move enough equipment to a different circuit to reduce the circuit load; otherwise, have the Facilities Department inspect the circuit wiring.

May 2011
Revised November 2014