I have a circuit breaker that keeps tripping. It's a 20 amp and there is a lot of stuff plugged into that one breaker. In fact, there are three bedrooms full of stuff. Should I replace the 20 amp breaker with a 30 or 40 amp? Will that work? Or should I run an extension cord from a different zone?
By Eloy from New York, NY
No, I think you should add more circuits.
6 open to one breaker.
A kitchen is by itself, always.
You probably need to call an electrician and have him make more circuits. I had a whole house (very old house that used a fuse box located on the front porch of all places) on 20 amps once and I had to be very, very careful. Luckily I didn't have a dishwasher. I had a gas kitchen stove, a gas dryer, a gas water heater and a gas floor heater. I checked amperage on all other appliances, and ran the house fairly well for 15 years. I finally had 220 put in for an air conditioner and the electrician added another 20 amps line. I felt like I was living in luxury. I could finally have my curling iron heating while I used my hair dryer.
You need electrical help. Unless you want to burn the place down. Really. I get the lectures from my husband about fuses vs circuit breakers. 2 + 2 will always be 4. Meaning unless you fix the problem, you will be popping circuits or blowing fuses.
The popping or blowing is a sign that Something is wrong and must be fixed.
And no to the extension cord. Those are means for temporary 4-6 foot issues, not room to room to room. That is so scary to think about. I have a 100 yr old home, and we have had to do the new electrical thing. Or house insurance will not cover you!
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We recently bought a house and have since learned that the kitchen, living room, garage and our bedroom along with half the dining room and the lights on the way down to the basement ALL run off of the same breaker. I do not know how to fix this or to tell what amp breakers to buy if I want to run the rooms on their own individual breakers. Is it ok to have this many rooms running off the same breaker?
We can't even run a space heater with anything but one room turned on or most of the outlets and lights throughout the house go off. I also had an outlet in our 2nd bedroom stop working completely after running a space heater off of it. Please tell me what I can do to fix these problems.
Tawni from Indianapolis, IN
I can't tell you how to fix it, but it's definitely not good. In particular, new codes require kitchens to be separate from other parts of the house. Ours was partially fixed by an electrician. We had the kitchen separated from the rest of the house. If we'd known at the time, we'd have separated a few other rooms as well, especially those that have the computer and the TV. (I'd put the rooms on multiple breakers.) (01/26/2006)
This is not a do-it-yourself job. Hire an electrician. Have the job done correctly to the electrical code for your area. At the same time, have your electrical service updated to at least 200 amps. Most codes today specify that bathrooms, kitchens and outdoor receptacles be ground faulted to prevent electrical shock. Have the other rooms on a separate circuit. The electrician can explain what is best for your home. PLAY IT SAFE. (01/26/2006)
Check with the electrical inspector. You may have some legal recourse to force the seller of the house to pay for bringing it up to code. Get a qualified electrician to sort out that mess, BEFORE the house burns down! Even if it costs you $1000 to bring it up to code, that is probably less than the deductible on your fire insurance.
Most outlets in the house will have 2 cables going to them, in and out. Find one in the center of the circuit and pull in a new cable from the breaker panel and wire nut it to the existing cable that is not hot with the power turned on. The existing wiring may be #14 so use a 15 amp breaker for each circuit. (04/25/2006)