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Breakers tripping

All of my wall outlets are on 15amp breakers and my outlets are wired with 14ga. Instead of 12ga. Wire. When I'm running maultipal plugins my breaker trips. My question is, can I pull out the 15 amp breakers and replace them with 20 amp breakers or higher without hurting anything. Thank you,
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Posted 2010-12-12T16:45:23+0000  by Kenb Kenb
 

Hey Kenb.

 

Different size wire is designed to carry a certain amount of amps and 14 gauge wire is designed for 15 amp breakers. Circuit breakers are designed to protect wire, therefore if you switched to a 20 amp with a 14 wire then the breaker would not trip when the wire got overloaded potentially causing a fire. I don’t know what you are plugging in but if it is a space heater, they traditionally pull 1500 watts and do not leave much room for much else on that circuit. Do not switch out breakers.

 

If you are using Christmas lights, then you need to put some of the lights on a different circuit, or you can get some LED Christmas lights which use practically no power and you can hold about 10 X more lights on a circuit than traditional incandescent Christmas lights.

 

Thanks for your questions and welcome to the community.

Posted 2010-12-12T19:53:06+0000  by Ingar_HD_ATL

One thing not mentioned above is the possibility (although rare with newer breakers) is that some of the breakers may be worn out.  You could try replacing one or two of them with new 15 amp breakers (don't put larger ones in) to see if that solves the problem.  If it does fix the problem without any further rewiring, then you might need to consider replacing your panel.  I have seen a lot of issues with panels installed prior to the 80's, mainly in mobile/manufactured homes.  Again, unless you rewire each circuit with 12 gauge wire and 20 amp rated outlets, you do not want to install bigger breakers.  They are designed to trip before the wires in the walls get hot enough to melt and cause a fire.

 

You can also easily calculate how many amps you have on each circuit using simple math.  The formula is Volts x Amps = Watts.  Since most circuits in the US are 110 for wall plugs,  For each 100 watt bulb, figure 1.1 amps of power.  So if you have a floor stand lamp with three 100 watt bulbs, that light will use ~3.3 amps.  As you can see, they can add up quickly.  And a 1500 watt space heater will use over 15 amps alone.

 

Electrical wiring can be easy, but if you do not feel comfortable around electrical wiring, call a professional.  This is something that you really do not want to mess up.

Posted 2010-12-18T17:30:21+0000  by GrueMaster
 
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