15 Amp Breaker Keeps Tripping

We have a 3 bedroom house and my son's family started living with us. Before this we were only using 1 bedroom. Now there is a 110 volt window unit in every room, AT&T U-verse TV in every room, plus naturally the lights. The breaker started tripping (15 amp) so we bought a new one. The new one is tripping now. Help! What to do? Can we go up to a 20 amp breaker?


By Carol

June 3, 20110 found this helpful
Best Answer

Do not put in a 20 amp breaker. Breakers are sized to protect the size of wire in a circuit. In general 15 amp breakers are used to protect 14 gauge wire, 20 amp 12 gauge. You most likely have 14 gauge wire and over sizing the breaker is dangerous and can lead to short circuits and fire. The answer is to use fewer appliances, especially a/c units or have more circuits put in, maybe even a dedicated line for each a/c unit.

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June 6, 20110 found this helpful

Agree completely with ZooDad. Your son probably has several things plugged in that are overloading a single circuit-sounds to me that each room only has one circuit, even if it has several outlets. He and his family likely have (going on experience with my son) a stereo, a computer, a clock radio, at one battery charger, and a TV all plugged in on that one circuit per room in addition to the U-Verse device. If everything is being used at the same time, well, that blows the circuit!

The safest and best thing to do is first, have your son unplug everything. Make a 'one electronic device plugged in and on at a time' rule, and stick to it. Circuits flip to prevent fires, but a circuit flipped several times can also start a fire.

Second, have a licensed, certified electrician in to give you an estimate on a new circuit to the son's rooms; might even need two to handle the probable load your son and his family is putting on the mains. I'd get the son to help pay for the installation costs if possible.

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Anonymous Flag
June 6, 20110 found this helpful

Ditto with zoodad and frugalsunny! Also, if your son wants to use as much electrical pull as is occuring then he should pay a professional electrician, an electrician approved by you, to have completely separate breakers installed for each of the three bedrooms. I say a professional electrician because you don't want to take the chance of your house burning down!

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June 6, 20110 found this helpful

You need an electrician. Hate to have a fire for a few cents saved. Until then, unplug all that does not have to be in. Including the kid's toys, big tvs, etc.

Unless you got a McMansion or recently updated electrical system, your house was not built for all the electric hogs. People used to have 1 tv, fridge, freezer, laundry done in the daytime when all other things were off. You read about fires being caused by electrical issues. This would be one, not lightening.

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