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Old 11-21-2012, 10:11 PM   #1
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


Hello DIY,

Question for you guys as Im not sure where else to go for such a thing.

Our basement suite has been rented recently to two young girls. Our previous tenants never had issues, which makes me curious.

Anyhow, one breaker in particular is breaking frequently as they've said. I flipped the breaker off and took my currency tester, and traced how many outlets and lights are connected to this breaker.

1 bedroom light, 4 bedroom outlets and 2 of those over the sink outlets that shut themselves off in case of water or shorting. The research I did, proved that wasn't excessive or even pushing it. Is that correct?

My next questions went to them, what are you guys using to blow this?
Hair dryers, straighteners, kettles, coffee machines. Are these types of things particularly high in amp draw?

MY newest issue, is that they are claiming that the kitchen outlet has "fried" their kettle and coffee maker and are asking we reimburse them. Is this my fault? I'm doubting its just coincidence they both broke due to age or whatever.

Can someone please please shed some insight on this for me?

Thanks,

Brent

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Old 11-21-2012, 10:21 PM   #2
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


All of the items you mentioned typically use a lot of power.

As a general rule....If it produces heat to heat something (straightener to straighten hair, coffee maker/kettle to heat water, hair dryer to heat air), it will typically draw a lot of power.

Most likely using any of those 2 items at the same time on the same circuit will cause the breaker to trip especially if it is a 15 amp circuit.

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Old 11-21-2012, 10:29 PM   #3
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


Thank you so much for the quick reply!

Any idea how/why their appliances are breaking?
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Old 11-21-2012, 10:54 PM   #4
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


Overcurrent on the circuit could be causing a voltage drop on the circuit.

Changes in voltages for devices designed to operate at a specific voltage can do all sorts of crazy things.

Power = (Voltage) * (Current)

If a device is designed to output so much power, a drop in voltage will translate into an increase in current. Higher current draw could damage the internal wiring/circuits because they are not designed to withstand the higher currents.

This all is assuming a voltage drop occurs as a result of the overcurrent situation on your circuit.
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Old 11-21-2012, 11:15 PM   #5
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


Agreed! The circuit must be on a 15amp vs 20amp. Any receptacles period are required by NEC to be placed on a 20 amp breaker, using 12-2 wire. The kitchen bath should also be on a dedicated circuit alone. Still using both receptacles per bath with the items will cause the breaker to trip, for thats what it is designed to do, to decrease any over ampere to the circuit.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:04 PM   #6
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


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Originally Posted by JuzRick View Post
Agreed! The circuit must be on a 15amp vs 20amp. Any receptacles period are required by NEC to be placed on a 20 amp breaker, using 12-2 wire. The kitchen bath should also be on a dedicated circuit alone. Still using both receptacles per bath with the items will cause the breaker to trip, for thats what it is designed to do, to decrease any over ampere to the circuit.
That is flat out incorrect. The NEC does NOT require ALL receptacles to be on 20 amp circuits.

However, the NEC does require that the BATHROOM be on a dedicated 20 amp circuit.

And if there is a kitchen area in the suite, NEC requires 2, 20 amp small appliance circuits in the kitchen area.

The bedroom lighting and outlets can however be a 15 amp circuit.

It sounds like you really should have an electrician check out the situation, you may really need to have a couple of your circuits upgraded, or at least split into several circuits.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:47 PM   #7
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


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Originally Posted by TTW View Post
That is flat out incorrect. The NEC does NOT require ALL receptacles to be on 20 amp circuits.

However, the NEC does require that the BATHROOM be on a dedicated 20 amp circuit.

And if there is a kitchen area in the suite, NEC requires 2, 20 amp small appliance circuits in the kitchen area.

The bedroom lighting and outlets can however be a 15 amp circuit.

It sounds like you really should have an electrician check out the situation, you may really need to have a couple of your circuits upgraded, or at least split into several circuits.
Chance putting bedrooms on a 15amp circuit, you will have a circus going on too. Ampere= common sense!!! LOL
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:50 PM   #8
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


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Chance putting bedrooms on a 15amp circuit, you will have a circus going on too. Ampere= common sense!!! LOL
Yes, a 20 amp circuit is always a better choice, especially as we as a society are tending to use more and more power, however, I was pointing out that 20 amp wired receptacles are NOT required by the NEC in ALL situations.
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:05 PM   #9
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Yes, a 20 amp circuit is always a better choice, especially as we as a society are tending to use more and more power, however, I was pointing out that 20 amp wired receptacles are NOT required by the NEC in ALL situations.

TTW: I agree.. 20 amps are not. Should be, but not. I'm not mad with you. Hey its just a practice again. Everyday code is changing. And yes you are right about the 15 amps.. they are allowed- but i disagree on the usage for them especially pulling to 2-3 beds on one circuit on that 15, have caused fires from my experience to having to rewire portions from a burnt out.. ifff not total!

No hard feeling....
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Old 11-22-2012, 10:12 PM   #10
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


I believe you can be in allot of cases especially on this electrical side to per-cautous to where your over cautious.. thats when things really happen. Ratings doesnt always equals out to voltage. I've witness allot of incidence, had to come behind ME's to correct problems! And their ME's, lol
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:11 PM   #11
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


Quote:
Originally Posted by bwintert View Post
Hello DIY,

Question for you guys as Im not sure where else to go for such a thing.

Our basement suite has been rented recently to two young girls. Our previous tenants never had issues, which makes me curious.

Anyhow, one breaker in particular is breaking frequently as they've said. I flipped the breaker off and took my currency tester, and traced how many outlets and lights are connected to this breaker.

1 bedroom light, 4 bedroom outlets and 2 of those over the sink outlets that shut themselves off in case of water or shorting. The research I did, proved that wasn't excessive or even pushing it. Is that correct?

My next questions went to them, what are you guys using to blow this?
Hair dryers, straighteners, kettles, coffee machines. Are these types of things particularly high in amp draw?

MY newest issue, is that they are claiming that the kitchen outlet has "fried" their kettle and coffee maker and are asking we reimburse them. Is this my fault? I'm doubting its just coincidence they both broke due to age or whatever.

Can someone please please shed some insight on this for me?

Thanks,

Brent

Voltage drop will not fry resistive loads like the kettle, I would suspect you may have a shared neutral circuit with an open neutral causing high voltage to appear at the outlets. I would check for MWBC (multi wire branch circuit) in the kitchen and see if the neutral has opened.
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:29 PM   #12
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


The NEC requirement for the bathroom to be on a dedicated 20a ckt is one of the recent changes. I don't recall when the rule was put into place, but the chances are, your up to code for the time period that your basement was done....hence, it's a non-topic.

Girls? 2 Girls? The typical hair dryer pulls 1200-1500W....if both of them do their hair at the same time....yea...it will trip the breaker.....and as a father of 3 girls....the likelyhood of 2 adult girls getting ready at the same time...is pretty high.....

As for the other items....like Stubie said....if you have a MWBC (2 hots that share a neut), then it is 'possible' to get a high voltage on one leg if there is a neut issue. If the MWBC was done right, you would have a double breaker feeding it.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:52 AM   #13
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


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If the MWBC was done right, you would have a double breaker feeding it.
Code to put MWBC on handle tied breakers only came into effect in '08.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:38 AM   #14
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


Quote:
Originally Posted by JuzRick View Post
Chance putting bedrooms on a 15amp circuit, you will have a circus going on too. Ampere= common sense!!! LOL
HUH???



Quote:
Originally Posted by JuzRick View Post
And yes you are right about the 15 amps.. they are allowed- but i disagree on the usage for them especially pulling to 2-3 beds on one circuit on that 15, have caused fires from my experience to having to rewire portions from a burnt out.. ifff not total!
Can you explain to me how a properly wired 15A circuit that has 3 bedrooms on it will cause a fire???



Quote:
Originally Posted by JuzRick View Post
I believe you can be in allot of cases especially on this electrical side to per-cautous to where your over cautious.. thats when things really happen. Ratings doesnt always equals out to voltage. I've witness allot of incidence, had to come behind ME's to correct problems! And their ME's, lol
Once again, HUH???
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:18 AM   #15
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Breaker constantly blowing : question


Hey Speedy, I got no idea what JuzRick is trying to say either.

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