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Electrical circuit load capacity is the total amount of power that your home actually will use. In order to decide how big of electrical service is needed in your home, one has to do a little math homework. Calculating how much power both you and your electrical appliances use is necessary to calculate this number.
The first thing to know is that circuits should only be loaded at 80% of the total circuit load. To help you understand the concept, if you have a 15-amp circuit, the safe operating amperage would be no greater than 12 amps.
The total wattage would be 1,800 watts, meaning the safe wattage usage would be 1,440 watts.
If you have a 20-amp circuit, the safe operating amperage would be no greater than 16 amps. The total wattage would be 2,400 watts, meaning the safe wattage usage would be 1,920 watts.
On a 30-amp circuit, the safe operating amperage would be no greater than 24 amps. The total wattage would be 3,600 watts, meaning the safe wattage usage would be 2,880 watts.
To determine the wattage, you take the voltage times the amperage. Check the tags on all of your appliances for the required amperage rating. Add all of the lighting load by adding the total wattage of the light bulbs in your home. Look at the light bulbs and read the wattage that is printed on them.
Your home will likely also have 240-volt appliances like water heaters, air conditioners, electric dryers, and electric ranges. These too will have an amperage rating label and the wattage can be calculated. The voltage, 240 volts, times the amperage, say 30 amps, will equal the wattage requirements.
Once you've determined the total load for your home, you'll know what size electrical service that you need.
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We realized early in our business that if we wanted to help people become energy independent by covering rooftops with solar panels that we would have to educate the public about, not only the benefits of renewable energy but the technology and application of solar power.
Over the past ten years, we have dedicated much of our time at Off Grid By Design to the area of education. We founded the Virginia Renewable Energy School to train installers, we have been invited to speak at many colleges and educational institutions all over Virginia. We have participated in energy symposiums and Earth Day Events and have spoken about solar energy for many large corporations.
There are always several solar energy items that intrigue folks or pique their interest more than others. We have tried to include some of those on our How To Gain More Solar Energy Knowledge page. We hope you enjoy, and find useful, the information we've included.
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