A customer recently sent in this question about a dedicated circuit and outlets. We decided to answer it with a blog post in case other people wonder about the same issue. The lady asked about installing a hot tub, but the question is valid for other uses.
“… if there are 3 outlets on a circuit and only 1 of them are being used (i.e. nothing plugged into the other 2)…does that allow the 1 outlet to be “dedicated”? I’m not sure if the empty outlets pull anything from that circuit if not used..?”
A fixed appliance, or an appliance that uses more than 50% of circuit capacity, requires a dedicated circuit. The power comes through a specifically-labeled and correctly-sized circuit breaker in the breaker box. An air conditioner or furnace are good examples. Each of them is the only appliance on that circuit. There are no additional outlets available on that circuit because you want all the power supply to remain “dedicated” to the cooling equipment. This type of circuit is not shared.
Suppose you want to add a special circuit in a workshop where you use portable (not fixed) power tools. You may choose to have one-two outlets – one on either side of the building – for your convenience. The same circuit breaker would serve both outlets and protect them with the 20 amp breaker. If you used two 15-amp power tools at the same time, it would trip the breaker.
A dedicated outlet can only exist on a dedicated circuit. It is not possible to have multiple outlets on a circuit where some outlets and dedicated and some are not.
If you need specific advice about your situation, please contact us. We’ll be glad to give you a free estimate or just free expert advice. Join the thousands of customers who always rely on Frye Electric for all their electrical needs.