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Code Calculations

Feb 1, 2001James Stallcup Sr. | Electrical Construction and Maintenance

Last month, we looked at how to calculate various lighting loads. This month, we'll
look at how to calculate receptacle and appliance loads. Let's tackle receptacle
loads first.Receptacle loads. A receptacle is a contact device installed at an outlet
for the connection of an attachment plug. To calculate the total VA of receptacle
loads, calculate the VA for each type of occupancy and total the results.

Last month, we looked at how to calculate various lighting loads. This month, we'll look at how to calculate receptacle and appliance loads.

Receptacle loads. A receptacle is a contact device installed at an outlet for the connection of an attachment plug. To calculate the total VA of
receptacle loads, calculate the VA for each type of occupancy and total the results. For continuous loads - loads where the maximum current
is expected to continue for 3 hours or more - you'll need to use a multiplier of 125%.

If the receptacle is a part of a multioutlet assembly, such as a surface, flush, or freestanding raceway, you will have to follow a slightly
different path to arrive at the total VA. Let's try to calculate the VA for a general-purpose receptacle load.

First, examine the use for each receptacle. Count the number of receptacles that will serve continuous-operation loads, and multiply that
number by 125% for your new total. Then, count the number of receptacles that will serve noncontinuous-operation loads and add this to the

Example: What is the load in VA for 55 general-purpose receptacles that serve noncontinuous loads and 55 more that serve continuous loads?

Step 1: Calculate the continuous load, per Secs. 220-3(b)(9), 215-2(a), and 230-42(a)(1). 55 receptacles x 125% x 180VA = 12,375VA

Step 2: Calculate noncontinuous load, per Secs. 220-3(b)(9), 215-2(a), and 230-42(a)(1). 55 receptacles x 180VA = 9900VA

22,275VA.

You can't apply the demand factor in Table 220-13 to the continuous load of 12,375VA, even though this value exceeds 10,000VA. Let's look
at how you can apply demand factors.

Applying demand factors. You calculate general-purpose receptacle outlets for cord-and-plug connected loads (noncontinuous operation),
per Sec. 220-3(b)(9) and Table 220-13. If the VA rating of the receptacle load exceeds 10,000VA, you can apply a demand factor of 50% to all
VA exceeding 10,000VA, per Table 220-13. Don't make the mistake of applying the demand factor to the first 10,000VA as well.

Example: What is the VA rating for 225 general-purpose receptacle outlets to cord-and-plug connected loads used for noncontinuous
operation?

Step 1: Calculate the load, per Sec. 220-3(b)(9). 225 x 180VA = 40,500VA

Step 2: Apply demand factors, per Table 220-13. The first 10,000VA x 100% = 10,000VA. The remaining 30,500VA x 50% = 15,250VA

Solution: The total load is 25,250VA.

Fixed multioutlet assemblies. As we mentioned above, calculating the load for multioutlet assemblies is a bit different from calculating the
load for general-purpose receptacles. For connected loads not operating simultaneously, divide the length of the multioutlet assembly by 5 ft
and then multiply the result by 180VA. For connected loads operating simultaneously, multiply each foot of the multioutlet assembly by
180VA. You can add the multioutlet assembly load to the noncontinuous receptacle load and demand factors applied, per Table 220-13.

Example 1: What is the load in VA for 200 ft of multioutlet assembly used to cord-and-plug connected loads not used simultaneously?
Calculate load not used simultaneously, per Sec. 220-3(b)(8)(a).

VA = (length/5 ft) x 180VA. VA = (200 ft/5 ft)x 180VA. VA = 7,200VA

Example 2: What is the load in VA for 200 ft of multioutlet assembly used to cord-and-plug connected loads used simultaneously? Calculate
load used simultaneously, per Sec. 220-3(b)(8)(b).

Now let's look at a slightly more complex example.

Example 3: What's the total load when you have 200 ft of multioutlet assembly (for cord-and-plug connected loads used simultaneously) and
225 general-purpose receptacle outlets (for cord-and-plug connected loads used in noncontinuous operation)?

Step 1: Compute load used simultaneously, per Sec. 220-3(b)(8)(b). Load = length x 180VA. Load = 200 ft x 180VA. Load = 36,000VA

Step 2: Compute load for receptacles, per Sec. 220-3(b)(9). 225 outlets x 180VA = 40,500VA

76,500VA

Step 4: Apply demand factors, per Table 220-13. Because you have no continuous loads, your entire load is factorable.

Factorable load = 76,500VA. The first 10,000VA x 100% = 10,000VA. The remaining 66,500VA x 50% = 33,250VA. Solution: The total load
= 33,250VA + 10,000VA = 43,250VA

Let's add another twist to the calculation.

Example 4: If the multioutlet loads in the previous example were continuous, you would have to arrive at the answer differently. You would
exclude the 36,000VA of continuous load from the demand factor calculation.

Factorable load = 40,500VA. The first 10,000VA x 100% = 10,000VA. The remaining factorable 30,500VA x 50% = 15,250VA. Therefore,
total load = 36,000VA + 10,000VA + 15,250VA = 61,250VA

Appliance loads. You calculate appliance loads by multiplying the VA rating of each load by 100% for noncontinuous operation and 125% for
continuous operation. To determine the classification, appliance loads operating for less than 3 hr are noncontinuous operation loads. An
appliance load operating for 3 hr or more is a continuous operation load. Let's run through a couple of examples to familiarize ourselves with
these types of calculations.

Example 1: What is the VA rating for a 208V, 3-phase, 165A appliance load operating for 10 hr and supplied by an individual branch-circuit?

VA = 208V x 1.732 x 165A

VA = 59,400

Step 2: Compute continuous load, per Secs. 215-2(a) and 230-42(a)(1). 59,400VA x 125% = 74,250VA

Solution: The load at continuous operation is 74,250VA. Why did 1.732 enter into the calculation? When doing 3-phase calculations, you
must multiply by the square root of 3, which is 1.732.

Example 2: What is the VA rating for an appliance load of 82A operating at 480V, 3-phase, for 2 1/2 hr every 4 hr?

Step 1: Compute VA, per Sec. 220-2. VA = V x 1.732. VA = 480V x 1.732 x 82A. VA = 68,142

Secs. 215-2(a) and 230-42(a)(1) require you to multiply noncontinuous loads by 100%, which won't change your results. If you were working
with continuous loads, you would multiply by 125% to arrive at 85,178VA.

When doing any of these calculations, always determine which portions of your total load is continuous or noncontinuous. Calculate all loads
loads together. Remember: You can't apply demand factors to continuous loads - by definition, they are always in demand.

Code Calculations
Mar 1, 2

As we've discussed in the last two Code Calculations articles, when calculating the total load on your system, you must first identify specific
types of loads. Then, you can calculate each load. For all loads, remember to determine if they are continuous or noncontinuous. For
continuous loads loads where the maximum current is expected to continue for three hours or more multiply the VA of the load by 125%,
per Sec 215-2(a). In this installment, we'll take a look at how to calculate motor and noncoincident loads.

Motor loads (Secs. 430-24, 430-25, and 430-26)

When calculating motor loads, you need to know how to convert a motor's current rating (given in amps) to a VA rating. To do this, multiply
the motor's nameplate amperage by the supply voltage. If you don't have nameplate data, then multiply the supply voltage by the current
rating shown in the appropriate table in 430, Part N. Use the tables appropriate to your power supply. Table 147 is for DC, 148 is for singlephase AC, 149 is for 2-phase AC, and 150 is for 3-phase AC.

Example: What is the VA rating for a group of 480V, 3-phase motors rated at 125 hp, 40 hp, and 30 hp? Note: Your 480V supply will require
you to use a motor rated at 260V.

125 hp = 156A
40 hp = 52A
30 hp = 40A

Step 2: Calculate total VA per Sec. 220-2.

VA = V x I x 1.732 (where 1.732 is the square root of 3)
VA= 480V x 156A x 1.732 = 129,692VA
VA = 480V x 52A x 1.732 = 43,231VA
VA = 480V x 40Ax 1.732 = 33,254VA

Multiple motor loads (Secs. 430-6(a) and 430-24)

Suppose you have several motor loads on the same circuit. The Code requires you to size the conductors at least equal to the sum of all the
loads, plus 25% of the highest-rated motor in the group.

First load = motor of 40A

Second load = motor of 52A
Third load = motor of 65A

Fourth load = HVAC unit of 23A

Fifth load = lighting of 40A

Step 1: Add up all the loads, rounding up to the nearest whole number.
40A + 52A + 65A + 23A + 40A = 220A

Step 2: Select the largest motor load, and add 25% of it to the total.
25% of 65A = 16.25A

Solution: The total load = 220A + 16.25A = 236.25A. Round up to get 237A.

You typically don't run heaters and air conditioning simultaneously on the same feeder though you may do so in some circumstances.

Some chiller-based systems run the chillers at full capacity and use local electric heating in the duct to adjust the temperature upward, but
these are unusual applications. In most cases, you will run either heat or A/C. Therefore, heat and A/C are normally examples of
noncoincident loads. Calculate this kind of load by choosing the larger of the VA ratings and disregard the other.

Example: Which is the larger load: 240kW heating unit or a 97A A/C unit? The supply is a 480V 3-phase system.

Step 1: Select larger load per Sec. 220-21.

Heating load: 240kW x 1000 x 100% = 240,000VA
A/C load: 480V x 97A x 1.732 = 80,642VA

Solution: The 240,000VA-heating unit is the larger load. Thus, you will use this load in your overall load calculations and not use the other