The best way to prevent an unnecessary electrical disaster in your home, including frequent breaker trips, is to spread the amp load throughout the breakers in your electrical panel.  You can combine electrical receptacles and overhead lights on one circuit due to the fact that lights generally draw significantly less power than large appliances. This will allow you to distribute the power consumption throughout the breakers in your panel effectively.

How many outlets does a house need?

You will want to ensure that certain rooms in the home have more than one receptacle, such as the kitchen.  This is to ensure you still have power in the event one breaker ends up tripping for whatever reason.  There are some appliances, such as the dishwasher, dryers, and washing machines, in the kitchen and the laundry room that will require a dedicated circuit for each appliance.  This means that only that appliance can be on that circuit and nothing else—not even some light bulbs or a light fixture.

Space heaters are another example of heavy-duty appliances that take the maximum draw of the entire circuit.  An air conditioner is another.  Ideally, you should spread as many outlets around your home as possible and assign them to a single circuit. Just keep in mind the maximum load for a single circuit.  A good rule of thumb is to assume that there will be a maximum power draw of 1.5 amps for each outlet, allowing 10 outlets for a single 20-amp circuit.


Outlet Spacing

The primary rule is what’s known as the 6’/12′ rule.  NEC 210-52 states the following:

Receptacles are needed in every room of a home such that no point on a wall is over 6′ from an outlet.  This means that you need an outlet within 6′ of a doorway or fireplace.  A long wall, however, may have up to 12′ between outlets.  Any outlet above 5′ 6″ cannot be counted towards this equation.  Floor outlets less than 18″ from the wall can.

There are also other guidelines that need to be followed.  For example:

  • Every hallway should have at least one receptacle if it is 10′ or longer in length
  • Kitchen countertop outlets require at least two 20-amp circuits and must have GFCI protection. Allow no more than 4 feet between countertop outlets.


Generally, you want to mount receptacle boxes with the bottom of the box about 16-inches off the floor.  Coincidentally, this roughly equates to the same height as your garden variety 22-ounce framing hammer.  We still recommend using a ruler, however.

For kitchen countertops, how high you mount the receptacles depends on your layout.  There are no height guidelines except to keep them under a maximum of 20-inches.  This seems obvious since the top cabinets start at 18″).  Placement somewhat depends upon how you intend to do the backsplash.  If you mount the bottom of the box about 2-3 inches above the top of your tile, solid surface, or stone backsplash, you’ll have a nicely positioned outlet that is easy to access.  For refrigerators, you have some flexibility.  Typically, we mount these outlets about 48-inches off the floor.


When to Call the Professionals

All of this can be a little confusing.  The good news is that you don’t have to approach electricity in your home alone.  Regardless of whether you are concerned with an overloaded circuit, want to add more general-purpose outlets to your home, or need help mapping out where the power should go, licensed electricians can help to ensure everything is done safely and efficiently.

At the end of the day, if you’re nervous about your home’s electrical system, don’t hesitate to give one of our electrician experts in New Jersey.  A professional Mikulka electrician can quickly tell if there is something wrong with your system and provide you with potential solutions on how to best address the problem.  You can reach out to us if you’re searching for electrical contractors in New Jersey.  We have a dedicated team ready to help 24/7.


Contact us

Mikulka Electricians are always professional and efficient.   Insured and trained to do the job right the first time.  Experts in the field of electrics with over 25 years’ experience.  Prepared with up-front pricing and a lifetime guarantee.  We observe all personal protective equipment and COVID 19 requirements to keep our staff and your family safe.  Our team of experts will respond immediately to your call for help.  Call Mikulka Electric, Inc. for a wide range of electrical services, including indoor and outdoor lighting, electrical heating, electrical repairs, and back-up generators.  We service the Central New Jersey area.  Address 275 RT. 79 Morganville, NJ 07751

Phone 855-645-8552 or 855-MIKULKA

Each major appliance needs its own breaker