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rfryders98 07-12-2012 10:27 AM

Little Help
Ok so weve been in our house for about a year and a half now and we keep running into the same problem that I am hoping someone who has eletrical experience can diagnos for me. Long story short our circuit breaker pops VERY easily. The other day I plugged in the iron in the living room and after ironing for about 15 minute "there she blows" lights out in the living room. Now it wasnt like i had an overabudance of stuff plugged in just the tv cable box, etc. And if me and my wife make the mistake of trying to iron and her blow dry her hair at the same time POP gotta go out to the garage and flip the breaker again. Now the house was built in 94 and so im guessing the guidelines that said builders had to put GCFI outlets near water werent in place becuase our GCFI outlets are all in strange places. There are only two that are actually "inside" the house 1. low to the floor in the kitchen (not near the sink) and another one near the stove. BUT if you go into the garage there are 3 GCFI outlets in there. Only one of the outlets actually work while the rest of the outlets in the garage have always been "dead" ever since we moved in. My father believes that these "dead" GCFI outlets are the problem and if I replace them with new ones everything will be fine. I am not an eletrician, but I can replace an outlet if thats the problem, but I dont want to waste my time if that has nothing to do with it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance:whistling2:

jbfan 07-12-2012 10:39 AM

Dead gfci's are a problem, but not your problem.
Are you ironing in the bathroom?

The bathrooms should be on a circuit by themselves and not share anywhere else in the house.

You could start by checking all connections in the receptacles that trip the breaker, then all of them on that circuit.
Pictures of the panel showing which breaker/s are tripping help.

Another thing, if the panel directory is not correct, you need to go through the house and identify each circuit.

rfryders98 07-12-2012 10:46 AM

I am at work right now but I will try to post some pics when I make it home. I am not ironing in the bathroom. The time it tripped I was ironing in the master bedroom while my wife was blow drying her hair in the downstairs bathroom. I do know that the working GCFI outlet in the garage is "linked" to the downstairs bathroom, the front and back porch outlets. While the indoor GCFI is linked to the other bathrooms . My memory could be wrong but Im pretty sure the master breaker flipped when I was ironing and she was blow drying. When it tripped a few nights ago i was in the living room and the iron triggered the living room circuit to pop. Is it possible that the electrician didnt put enough circuits in the home or something like that? I dont even know if thats possible but dont know the first thing about electrical .

k_buz 07-12-2012 10:46 AM


A blowdryer, by itself, can draw every bit of a 15A circuit. I have never looked at the specs for an iron, but I imagine its not minimal due to the heating. I see no issue here other than you are overloading the circuit.


In 1994 code wasn't as restrictive as it is now in respect to GFI and dedicated circuits. There could be bathrooms, outside outlets, and garage outlets all on the same circuit and all on one single GFI. Just because the receptacle isn't a GFI receptacle, doesn't mean that it isn't GFI protected. I am guessing that you have a bad GFI or you have backstabbed receptacles with a bad connection. You should first check the test/reset buttons on all the GFI's you find. IF those all work, you need to check for 120V from hot to neutral on the load side of the GFI's. If you find power, you need to start taking receptacles out and checking for loose connections. On top of that, if you do find backstabbed receptacles/switches, you really should remove the backstabs, pigtail the wires, and connect the wires to the screw terminals on the side of the receptacles.

jbfan 07-12-2012 10:49 AM

The first thing you need to do is find the layout of the circuits.

Take a radio, plug it in somwhere and turn off breakers until the radio stops(make sure it does not have batteries).
Then you take the radio around to each receptacle and find what is not working.
Continue until you find which breaker controls which circuit.
A house built in 94 should not have the living room and master bedroom and bathroom on the same circuit.

k_buz 07-12-2012 10:53 AM

I'm not sure about the code cycles in the early 90's, but my house (1993) has the bathroom, garage, and outside recepts on the same circuit.

rfryders98 07-12-2012 10:56 AM

Thanks for all the advice! I am going to go ahead and replace the outlets in the garage this weekend and figure out whats causing the problem. I figured having both of those working at the same time would overload the circuit but I wasnt sure. I did think it shouldnt have tripped with just the iron plugged in thats why I was thinking there might be a problem.

Stubbie 07-12-2012 10:57 AM

The branch circuit your using probably is 15 amp 14 awg wire. Your iron can be from 10 to 15 amps depending on the model and how high of a setting you use. It sounds like it is just a simple overload on the circuit. If your just using the iron with a few other loads operating it takes a while for heat in the wiring to trip the thermal overload in the breaker. When your wife is using the hair dryer which could be as much as 15 amps and along with the iron you have approx. 25 amps of load and the 15 amp breaker is going to trip.

Your going to have to iron on a dedicated 15 amp branch circuit with no other loads or better a 20 amp branch circuit.

The bathroom should not be on the same circuit with the living room but that will depend on the age of the house.

The non working gfcis have nothing to do with your problem .. that is a separate issue.

Sorry for the redundancy I didn't see the other posts till now.

hammerlane 07-12-2012 11:14 AM


Originally Posted by stubie (Post 964025)
The bathroom should not be on the same circuit with the living room but that will depend on the age of the house.

Most likely the previous homeowner did some electrical work...maybe adding some outlets.... and just grabbed power from the closest source.

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