How Many Watts Can a 20-Amp Breaker Handle?

A 20-amp breaker for typical 120-volt service may sustain up to 2,400 watts on a single circuit. However, circuits should not be loaded over 80 percent of their maximum capacity for extended periods, making 1,920 watts the maximum safe load for a 20-amp circuit.

Long-term operation of a circuit at or near its maximum capacity might cause the wiring and connections to become warm and trip the circuit breaker. If a circuit breaker continually trips, appliances should be transferred to other circuits to lower the circuit’s load. Constant overloading can cause damage and raise the possibility of a fire.


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