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TrailerParadise 01-31-2013 08:38 AM

Bad breaker or worse?
My parents are having a problem and i wanted to get opinions here before they pay for an electrician. When they built their house in 2000, the entire living room and dining room lights and receptacles plus the outside receptacle was all put on one circuit. It worked fine for a while, but about a month ago, we started experiencing issues. If you turn on the tv, converter box, a lamp, and the space heater, then someone flips on the dining room light, it will throw the breaker every time. this has never been an issue before. Could it be a bad breaker?

Trucon01 01-31-2013 08:48 AM

My guess is that they all are on a 15A breaker? Space heaters are breaker killers!!!

120 volts x 15 amps = 1800 watts (total)

A space heater usually uses about 1500 watts by itself! You can figure out the rest :)

Add in a few 60 - 75watt light bulbs, a tv, cable box and boom. A trip to the basement you are goin...

TrailerParadise 01-31-2013 08:57 AM

so do they need to update this breaker to a 20amp?

joecaption 01-31-2013 09:02 AM

If they want to start a possible fire.
It all would depend on what gauge wire it is.
14-2 is only 15 amp rated.
It would need to be 12-2 in order to install a 20 amp. breaker.

TrailerParadise 01-31-2013 09:09 AM

yeah its 14G wire. So is there nothing they can do about this, short of rewiring the living room and dining room?

TrailerParadise 01-31-2013 09:13 AM

it wouldnt be such an issue if we had a basement with the breaker box inside, the reason this is so irritating is because it usually trips at night, after we are dressed for bed, no shoes or nothing and we have to put on shoes and tromp outside through 30 degree weather to reset the stupid breaker, which the builder put on the side of the house.

funfool 01-31-2013 09:44 AM

Trucon01 got that one correct, most space heaters are 1500 wats.
Anything less is worthless. Sounds like the breaker is working correctly.

I hate using space heaters, expensive to run and do not work that well.
I would look for an alternative like running another supply vent from the furnace.

Move the space heater to another location, so is on another circuit that is not used at that time of day.

Have the electrician install a new breaker with a dedicated line just for the space heater.

TrailerParadise 01-31-2013 10:01 AM

We have central heat already but it costs us $400 a month to run it. At least that is what the bill is every time we use it, so we stopped using it and just pay around $200 a month now with the space heater. Putting it in another room would not help heat the living room. We did the dedicated line in my trailer since it doesnt have central, but in the big house we didnt even consider doing that because of the central unit. Foolish mistakes, i suppose. Thanks.

Windows 01-31-2013 10:45 AM

How do you manage to spend $400 per month on heat in Texas?

TrailerParadise 01-31-2013 10:49 AM

in the winter, it gets below 20 at night. For example, last night, it was 19 degrees at my house. Frikken cold. Not to mention we had winds from hell picking crap up and throwing it all over the place. I saw my neighbors chasing down their plastic lawn chairs, and my brother in law had his picnic table fly into his porch and hit his BBQ grill. With winds like that and temperatures that low, you need heat. The central unit racks up the price of electric big time. Its the same way in the summer, when we have to crank the AC to 60 just to keep cool, itll jack up the bill to about $350. We hung a blanket in the stairway to keep the warmth downstairs and we have tried just about everything we can think of, but when you have to crank up the air or heat, it costs you.

TrailerParadise 01-31-2013 10:52 AM

Not to mention, its a 2 story house with no trees nearby. We catch the full brunt of any type of weather. The two story part itself produces a high utility bill, with no wind blockers or shade trees nearby, it makes it even worse.

danpik 01-31-2013 11:14 AM

Sounds like you realy should get another circuit run in there. If something as small a amp draw as a light turning on pushes the breaker past its limit then the circuit is already pretty well maxed out. A couple of 60 watt light bulbs will only pull an Amp of power so it must realy be right at the limit.

Is there any insulation done in that house when it was built?

jbfan 01-31-2013 11:16 AM

Keep tripping the breaker and it will become bad.
You can keep the heater, and sit in the dark and not watch tv, or you can bundle up, watch tv and not have to go outside to reset the bresker.

TrailerParadise 01-31-2013 11:50 AM

Insulation? Yeah, normal fiberglass batts in the exterior walls and floors and blown in insulation in the ceiling, but i dont see what that has to do with wiring?

danpik 01-31-2013 01:12 PM


Originally Posted by TrailerParadise (Post 1106406)
Insulation? Yeah, normal fiberglass batts in the exterior walls and floors and blown in insulation in the ceiling, but i dont see what that has to do with wiring?

It is indirectly tied to it because if the insulation is good then there should be no reason for suplimental heat. Without suplimental heat your breaker would not be tripping. Don't know what the quality of the insulation is but, $400.00 month is a bit steep for a well sealed house.

Anyway, if you want to keep using that heater, I would suggest having a dedicated line ran to that room to plug in the heater.

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