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Old 01-01-2010, 08:16 PM   #1
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Breaker keeps popping


Hello,
I have a home built in 1983. I recently added can lights in our garage and converted it to a family room. The lights are 50w halogen can lights. There are 9 of them. If the lights are on and we run the vacuum in the other room it pops the breaker. The TV and most of the outlets (maybe 3 or 4) are effected. Since the home is old could the breaker be worn out? I am not sure what the amps are on the breaker. We also have a 3 person hot tub on the same circuit. If the hot tub pump is on and the lights are on it pops. Our house electrical is very odd. If my wife blow dries her hair and the lights are on in the family room it pops the breaker. Anyone have any idea what steps I need to take to diagnose and fix the problem?

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Old 01-01-2010, 08:26 PM   #2
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Breaker keeps popping


50w x9 = 450w = 3.75a

How many amps does the vacuum pull ?

What else is on the circuit ?

What size is the breaker ? AFCI breaker ?

Sounds like the circuits are overloaded

Hair dryers are high power items, as are most vacuums
LCD or Plasma TV ?

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Old 01-01-2010, 08:33 PM   #3
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Breaker keeps popping


it seems like my vacuum lists itself as 12 amps. If you add that to the lights, that alone would pop a 15 amp breaker. If it is a 20 amp circuit, if the rest of the stuff added another 5 amps, pop, there she goes.

I would either check the current draw on the circuit using a clamp on ammeter or look at each of the uses and add them up to see how much everything together draws.

I am guessing you are just overloading the circuit.
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Old 01-01-2010, 08:53 PM   #4
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A home from 1983 isn't really old

My house was built in the 50's
My last house was over 100 years old

How many circuits were installed in the converted garage ?
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Old 01-01-2010, 09:19 PM   #5
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Breaker keeps popping


The thing to do is add a new circuit or two. Many old circuits are 15 amps and these will trip as soon as you also use a vacuum. Best to add new 20 amp circuits, then they can handle the vacuum and other things at the same time.

So far as adding circuits goes, it depends on the construction of the house and location of the breaker panel as to where it would be easiest to add new circuits and run the wiring.

Sometimes outside walls are easier to get to and run new wires.

Or it may be easier to add another 15 amp circuit and use the existing wiring.

Or it may be easier to install a new outlet on a new circuit centrally located for the vacuum.

Might want to call an electrician and get an estimate and see what your options are.
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Old 01-02-2010, 05:31 AM   #6
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Breaker keeps popping


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Originally Posted by Scuba_Dave View Post

How many circuits were installed in the converted garage ?
I'm wondering the same thing.
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Old 01-03-2010, 03:15 AM   #7
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The converted garage is nothing but cosmetic. All we did was install carpet, and the lights and add some cabinets for storage. I have a feeling I will need to add a circuit. I will speak to my local electrician. The vacuum is a wind tunnel. Not sure of the amps. The TV is a CRT old one. To me itis just weird the circuit in the living room effects the garage. When my wife is blow drying her hair it is upstairs. Almost the opposite end of the house. Very odd layout.

Thanks for all the info.
Rick
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Old 01-03-2010, 04:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by rickv2009 View Post
The converted garage is nothing but cosmetic. All we did was install carpet, and the lights and add some cabinets for storage. I have a feeling I will need to add a circuit. I will speak to my local electrician. The vacuum is a wind tunnel. Not sure of the amps. The TV is a CRT old one. To me itis just weird the circuit in the living room effects the garage. When my wife is blow drying her hair it is upstairs. Almost the opposite end of the house. Very odd layout.

Thanks for all the info.
Rick
1983 was a bit before I started in the trade, but I'll make a few educated guesses.

The lights may have been installed on a circuit for an adjacent room. There wouldn't be more than 1 or 2 inside, and 1 or 2 outside, typically, so that would have been OK for the original installation, just no room for expansion.
I don't know what the GFCI requirements were then, but a typical install in '90 (my starting date) would be to install one circuit, for the garage receptacle, all the outside receps, all the bath receps, and unfinished basement receps, all protected by one GFCI receptacle. Not enough for a modern load.

Those circuits wouldn't be enough to add any load/additional outlets.
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:16 AM   #9
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Breaker keeps popping


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Originally Posted by rickv2009 View Post
To me itis just weird the circuit in the living room effects the garage. When my wife is blow drying her hair it is upstairs. Almost the opposite end of the house. Very odd layout.

Thanks for all the info.
Rick
Rick, Is your wife in a bathroom when dhe is blowdrying her hair? You mentioned the living room. During the time your house was built it was permissable to have the garage rec(s) on with the bathroom rec(s). I used to live in a house wired that way in which I converted the garage to a den also. We ran new circuits to the new den for this very problem we forsaw happening.
Your three person Hot Tub most likely calls for its own dedicated circuit due to the heating elements and pump draw. You would definately be overloading the circuit with this configuration.
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Old 01-03-2010, 07:19 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by codeone View Post
Your three person Hot Tub most likely calls for its own dedicated circuit due to the heating elements and pump draw. You would definitely be overloading the circuit with this configuration.
I agree with the above.
I don't think I've ever seen a hot tub that didn't call for it's own circuit.
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Old 01-03-2010, 10:02 AM   #11
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Breaker keeps popping


dang, I missed the hot tub altogether.

a hot tub should be on it's own circuit and it must be GFCI protected although many of the 120v units have GFCI built in.


I would run a separate circuit for the hut tub and a separate one for the lights.

If you have any receptacles in there (which legally you MUST), I would put them on a 3rd circuit.



You might see if there is a lighting circuit for the living room you could bug onto for the lights.

I try to keep receps and lights on separate circuits. I hate it when you are vacuuming and the breaker trips and the lights go out too.
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Old 01-04-2010, 02:36 AM   #12
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Breaker keeps popping


Thank you for all of the information.
The hot tub is a 120v plugged into a GFI outlet out on the deck. She is in the bathroom upstairs when she is blow drying her hair. The only time the breaker pops is when

the hot tub pump is running and the lights are on in the garage

or the wife is blow drying her hair and the garage lights are on

or the lights are on and we vacuum the living room and the vacuum is plugged into a specific outlet.

Very interesting I know.

Thanks again.
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:57 AM   #13
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Breaker keeps popping


Everything is most likely on the same circuit, or sharing a neutral.
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:54 AM   #14
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Breaker keeps popping


Quote:
Originally Posted by rickv2009 View Post
Thank you for all of the information.
The hot tub is a 120v plugged into a GFI outlet out on the deck. She is in the bathroom upstairs when she is blow drying her hair. The only time the breaker pops is when

the hot tub pump is running and the lights are on in the garage

or the wife is blow drying her hair and the garage lights are on

or the lights are on and we vacuum the living room and the vacuum is plugged into a specific outlet.

Very interesting I know.

Thanks again.
Hot tub is a high power draw, most 2 person tubs are rated 15-20a
Hair dryer is a high power draw, wifes rated at almost 14a
Vacuums are high power draws, we have one that is rated at 12a

Perfectly normal for the breaker to trip when you exceed its capacity
Every hot tub I have seen requires a dedicated GFCI protected circuit per MFG requirements

Some do have GFCI built into the plug/unit, but still require a dedicated circuit

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