can i put 2 circuits on 1 breaker


Benefits of Putting 2 Circuits on 1 Breaker

Wouldn't it be convenient to have multiple circuits running on just one breaker? It can save us from the hassle of installing new breakers and organizing a complex electrical system. However, before we dive into the realm of multiple circuits on a single breaker, it's essential to understand the implications and safety considerations associated with this practice. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of putting two circuits on one breaker, the potential risks involved, and whether or not it is permissible according to electrical codes and regulations.

Ensuring Proper Circuit Load and Protection

Before we delve into the topic, it's crucial to understand that maintaining the safety and integrity of our electrical systems is of utmost importance. The primary purpose of a circuit breaker is to protect our homes and appliances from electrical overloads and short circuits. Hence, it is imperative to ensure that the total load on a breaker does not exceed its amperage rating.

The Functioning of Circuit Breakers

Circuit breakers work by automatically stopping the flow of electricity when the current exceeds a predetermined limit. They prevent potential hazards like electrical fires and damages to appliances, ensuring the safety of inhabitants. Each circuit breaker is rated for a specific amperage, which indicates the maximum current it can handle without tripping. Common amperage ratings for residential circuits are 15A and 20A.

In a typical electrical installation, individual breakers are assigned to different circuits. For example, a kitchen circuit may have a dedicated breaker, while another breaker may be allocated for a living room circuit. This segregation of circuits prevents overloading and minimizes the risk of a complete power outage by isolating a specific faulty circuit.

Understanding the Electrical Load on a Breaker

The electrical load refers to the total power consumed by all the devices connected to a specific circuit. It is measured in watts (W) or kilowatts (kW), and a circuit's load capacity is determined by the size of the breaker. It is essential to ensure that the total load on a breaker does not exceed its rating.

When we talk about "putting two circuits on one breaker," we are discussing the possibility of sharing the load between two circuits that are electrically separate but sharing a common breaker. It is important to note that this practice is typically discouraged but may be permissible under certain circumstances.

Advantages of Sharing Circuits on One Breaker

1. Inexpensive Solution: One of the primary advantages of putting two circuits on one breaker is cost savings. When you run multiple circuits on a single breaker, you eliminate the need to install additional breakers and associated wiring. This can be particularly beneficial when we need to add new circuits to an existing electrical panel, reducing material and labor costs.

2. Space Optimization: Electrical panels have limited space, and in some cases, they may not have any available slots for new breakers. By sharing circuits on a single breaker, you can make the most out of the existing panel without needing to invest in a larger one.

3. Convenience: Having circuits on the same breaker can simplify troubleshooting and maintenance. If there is an issue with one circuit, you only need to identify and address it once, rather than dealing with multiple breakers.

4. Minimized Energy Imbalance: In certain scenarios, placing two circuits on one breaker can help balance the energy demand across phases in a three-phase electrical system. This balancing can help prevent phase overload and improve the efficiency of energy distribution.

5. Enhanced Safety in Certain Situations: Sharing circuits on one breaker can be advantageous when dealing with low-power devices or circuits with a minimal load. It can mitigate the risk of an overloaded panel and reduce the overall complexity of the electrical system.

While there are potential benefits to sharing circuits on one breaker, it is crucial to consider the limitations, safety implications, and the requirements outlined by electrical codes and regulations.

Limits and Considerations of Sharing Circuits

Sharing circuits on one breaker requires careful planning and adherence to safety practices. Here are some important considerations to keep in mind:

1. Analyzing Overhead: Determine the combined load of the circuits that you plan to place on a single breaker. Ensure that it does not surpass the amperage rating of the breaker. Overloading a breaker can lead to overheating and fire hazards.

2. Proper Documentation: It is vital to have clear and accurate documentation of the electrical system, including details of circuit allocation and load calculations. This documentation helps ensure that future modifications or troubleshooting can be carried out efficiently and safely.

3. Meeting Electrical Codes: Consult electrical codes and regulations in your region to confirm whether sharing circuits on one breaker is permissible. While electrical codes often discourage this practice, there may be exceptions or certain guidelines to follow.

4. Avoiding Excessive Sharing: While sharing circuits on one breaker may be suitable for certain low-power applications, it is imperative to restrict the practice to a sensible limit. Overloading a breaker by excessively sharing circuits can lead to compromised safety and the potential failure of the entire electrical system.

5. Professional Guidance: If you are uncertain about whether it is safe or appropriate to share circuits on one breaker, it is highly recommended to consult a licensed electrician. They possess the necessary knowledge and expertise to assess your specific situation and provide accurate guidance.


In summary, sharing two circuits on one breaker can be a viable option under specific circumstances. It may yield cost savings, optimize space utilization, and simplify maintenance. However, safety should always be the primary concern, and adherence to electrical codes and regulations is crucial.

Remember that proper evaluation of the load, documentation, and professional guidance are essential before considering this approach. Ultimately, the decision to put two circuits on one breaker should be made in consultation with a qualified electrician, ensuring the safety and reliability of the electrical system.


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