Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Determining the cause of the overload of the electrical circuit is essential. This guide is about circuit breaker keeps tripping.

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Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping
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My garage has a 20amp breaker, but I would like to occasionally be able to run it with a higher load capacity. I have 20 amp outlets, but all my outlets are wired in series therefore if one were to go out, there would be no power delivered to all outlets, however the lights are on a separate branch circuit in parallel with the 20amp circuit.

My question specifically is:

How would you use an extension cord with two male ends to plug into an outlet from my 30amp house circuit and into an outlet from my 20amp garage circuit to spread the load created by my welder and other power tools?

I realize this question may sound dumb, but I'm attempting to learn and have yet to find how people solve this problem other than by installing a higher capacity breaker (ex. 30amp breaker).

I know that if you connect two COM wires in series that you can get 230v from a 115 volt house circuit.

Feel free to use electrical jargon to describe how I should approach this problem, but if you have resources I could learn from online I would appreciate that even more since I do want to learn more.

Thank you.

Titan91

    AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

    The 20 amp breaker is designed to limit current flow through the wires (20 amp is 12 AWG or larger wire) to protect the wire from overheating (fire).

    Your power panel is staggered between two legs with the neutral being center tapped. The voltage between opposing legs is 240 volts. The voltage between the same leg is 0 volts.

    Running a drop cord from a separate circuit to your garage may trip breakers if they are on opposing legs. If they are on the same leg, it will allow too much current to flow through wires and receptacles resulting in overheating and possibly fire.

    What you are proposing is very dangerous and not according to code.

    The proper way to do this is to increase the breaker and wiring. I would encourage you to get an electrician.

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    We have a 15 amp breaker that keeps tripping. This is something that just started happening. This is what feeds off that breaker: livingroom lights, 2 TVs, kitchen lights, fridge, washer, dryer, master bedroom, guest bathroom, laundryroom lights, all porch lights, and a new gas heater with an electronic ignition and fan. This is a 1977 doublewide mobile home. What could suddenly cause this to happen and is it dangerous?

    By Kim from Silver Springs, NV

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    You bet your bippy that's dangerous! Unplug everything and get an electrician out there today to help you sort out what is overloading that particular breaker. My guess is that whomever installed the new gas heater didn't 'add' a new breaker for it exclusively.

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    1) the circuit breaker has gone bad (they do that)

    2) you have way, way too much on that breaker!

    I would bet that the breaker trips when the heater comes on. The heater should be on its own breaker. I agree with everyone else, call the electrician now!

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    Starting about 2 months ago the main breaker outside has shut off my electricity 7 times. I had to call maintenance each time as I do not have access to the breaker panel. In each case, there were no breakers tripped on the panel inside the apt. The maintenance man said I should not have the central air/heat running at the same time as the washer and dryer. Last week the air conditioner had been turned on a little while prior to it happening, but neither the washer or dryer was in use. Then yesterday, it happened again. This time, the central air/heat and the washer and dryer were off. There was a small electric heater being used in the bedroom, but we didn't even own the heater during the first 5 times the main breaker tripped. Also, last month our bill showed we had used over 5,000 kwhs! Our highest usage ever was around 2,000 prior to that. What is going on?

      AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      Well, you need to urge the people who are in charge to get an electrician in to check out that breaker. Breakers do wear out. I have never had a main breaker do so, but that doesn't mean that it wouldn't. In the meantime, you should know that ovens, dryers, AC, microwaves, and electric heaters are all big draws on your current. Try not to run two of those at the same time. However, if you are using 2 1/2 times as much power as previously, you should contact the power company, as there may be some other malfunction. If you are in a rental property, your first move is to get management to call in an electrician to investigate why the breaker keeps tripping, and also why you might be using so much power if you are not doing anything differently.

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      I just moved into a brand new apartment, we are the first tenants to live here. In my bedroom I have a 47 inch TV, Xbox, surround sound system, alarm clock, cable box, laptop, desktop computer, and monitor (for the desktop), a total of 8 things plugged in.

      My 20 amp breaker would pop all the time, so I unplugged everything except my Xbox, cable box, TV, and my surround sound. It still tripped the breaker. So I thought it might be the surge protector I have so I got another one and it still tripped. Now I have used two surge protectors and two separate outlets and it still trips all the time.

      I currently have only three things plugged into two different surge protectors on two different outlets and it pops a lot less often, but I shouldn't have to do this. The breaker should easily be able to handle everything. I had an electrician come and check it out and they said everything was fine and it was probably something I had plugged in, but with my Xbox, TV, and surround it doesn't trip. If I add anything else no matter what, alarm clock, laptop charger, anything it trips. It's really getting old. Any suggestions? The breaker only runs the outlets, nothing else, no lights or anything.

      By Tyler H.

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      In order to decide how big of an electrical service is needed in your home, one has to do a little math homework. Calculating how much power both you and your electrical appliances use is necessary to calculate this number. I'm often asked how to figure this load. It really is pretty simple if you know what to look for and how to add up the loads.

      Answer:

      The first thing to know is that circuits should only be loaded at 80% of the total circuit load. To help you understand the concept, if you have a 15-amp circuit, the safe operating amperage would be no greater than 12 amps. The total wattage would be 1,800 watts, meaning the safe wattage usage would be 1,440 watts.

      If you have a 20-amp circuit, the safe operating amperage would be no greater than 16 amps. The total wattage would be 2,400 watts, meaning the safe wattage usage would be 1,920 watts.

      On a 30-amp circuit, the safe operating amperage would be no greater than 24 amps. The total wattage would be 3,600 watts, meaning the safe wattage usage would be 2,880 watts.

      To determine the wattage, you take the voltage times the amperage. Check the tags on all of your appliances for the required amperage rating. Add all of the lighting load by adding the total wattage of the light bulbs in your home. Look at the light bulbs and read the wattage that is printed on them.

      Your home will likely also have 240-volt appliances like water heaters, air conditioners, electric dryers and electric ranges. These too will have an amperage rating label and the wattage can be calculated. The voltage, 240 volts, times the amperage, say 30 amps, will equal the wattage requirements.

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      We have a circuit breaker that all of a sudden keeps tripping. The breaker box goes directly to the power pole and the only thing on the problem circuit breaker is the pump for our well. We've had this pump on this breaker for 15 years and just started having a problem in the last few days. We already tried replacing the circuit breaker. We replaced it with a 15 amp breaker because that's what was in there before. That did nothing. Can anyone help please?

      By Tim A

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      The breaker is tripping from overcurrent. If it trips immediately, it is most likely a short to ground. It could also be a locked rotor on your pump.

      If it takes time to trip, it is an overcurrent, and for some reason the pump is working harder than it used to. Maybe buildup within the pump or bearing failure.

      Look for physical damage of the cable feeding the pump from the breaker.

      If none is found, have an electrician megger the leads to the motor to see if you have a short to ground.

      If you do not, you may need to have someone pull the pump and have the motor tested and/or replaced. If it has been the same pump for 15 years, it may be at the end of its life.

      ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

      My breaker keeps tripping. My air conditioner is on a 15 amp circuit and it goes out every 6-19 minutes, and then I will have to reset. It also takes out the living room, kitchen, and bathroom lights. This is in a one bedroom apartment. I have unplugged everything in the bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen except for the fridge, but it still goes out. What to do?

      By Tameka

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      Actually contact your apartment manager and he should have maintenance check it out for you. Unless you own the apartment, instead of renting it is his responsibility.

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      I have girls and they keep tripping the 20 amp breaker. I made sure there is 12 gauge wire and there are only two receptacles on this circuit. But when the girls plug in both hair dryers and curling irons it blows the breaker. Will I have to run a dedicated line for each receptacle?

      By Troy

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      A hairdryer is nominally rated 1500watts; according to the NEC, the breaker has to be rated at least 80% greater than the load. Hence, 1500w divided by 120vac = 12.5 amps x 125% = 15.63 Amps (minimum rating for the circuit breaker) Now if you have TWO hairdryers (12.5A x 2 = 25 Amps) on the one 20A circuit breaker, you'll trip every time. If you don't, then you really have problems.

      You could run #10 Romex and change out to a 30A circuit breaker but that will put the breaker at maximum capacity. It may make more sense to leave the #12awg, change the circuit breaker to a 25amp rating and run an identical separate circuit of the same. Otherwise you will keep having issues.

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      I live in a three bedroom deluxe seven room plus basement altogether. So I just got my circuit breaker replaced because it was going out. The workers put in new one.

      I keep small heaters on, but now that it's been replaced I can't use the microwave or my room, kid's room, parts of my mom's room, part dinning room, kitchen, and basement goes out. The guy who fixed it put it on 15amp. Should it be all on one like that?

      By LW from Kansas City, MO

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      No, it should not. It might be a good idea to figure out what is all on that breaker. From my experience, a microwave takes a lot of power. Perhaps, in the short term, you can plug that microwave into a different outlet that is not on this circuit. I have too many outlets on one breaker, and I am going to have the electrician come in and add more circuits (put in more breakers). This may be what you need to do.

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      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

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      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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      I have a 20 amp circuit that goes to my barn and garage and the breaker is tripping even when nothing is turned on. I can run the garage doors and turn on the lights and it does not trip. I check the next morning and it is tripped. I can't seem to get it to trip while things are running just when the circuit is idle?

        AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        Breakers can trip from short circuits and overloads.

        From what you describe, it is not overloaded (it is idle). An electrician can verify this with a ammeter.

        A short circuit can be caused by water to a damaged or improperly installed wire. (an electrician can verify the wire is okay with a megger).

        In the morning is there a dew? Has it rained? Can water be getting into the electrical boxes?

        Is it possible someone is using the circuit overnight and tripping it out on overload?

        ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        This is a guide about dishwasher tripping a circuit breaker. It is frustrating when trying to run your dishwasher repeatedly trips the breaker. Troubleshooting the cause can be daunting.

        human hand flipping the switch on the circuit breaker.

        CommentMoreRead More...Was this helpful?Helpful? Yes

        I live in senior housing, 55 and older. I have an assigned post for my vehicle. When I plug it in the breaker trips. So I move to another plugin and that works for a couple days, then when I plug in again it pops the breaker again. Maintenance keeps telling me it's my car, but if I go to a friend's and plug in there are no problems. I just have problems at the senior housing. Why does this happen?

        By Marilyn

        AnswerWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
        Best Answer

        Your car shouldn't be tripping the breaker at your home if it's not tripping the breakers elsewhere. Do any of your neighbours have the same problem?

        The maintenance guy could be dangerously wrong; I say dangerously because the electrical problem needs to be looked at and resolved before it causes a fire.

        The draw from your car (and anyone else') is overloading a circuit not up to the work of recharging your vehicle. But if you are plugging into a circuit that is assigned to the purpose of recharging your vehicle, the complex is responsible for maintaining that outlet in a safe and satisfactory condition to accomplish the recharging. For the maintenance guy to say it's your vehicle sounds as though he doesn't want to be bothered.

        You should check your agreement to see if you have any recourse to the services of a licensed electrician to check the electrical system you are plugging into, and to whom you can lodge a request for further investigation of the electrical system. Be sure that your vehicle is checked by the dealer or a licensed mechanic certified to work on your model to be sure it really isn't your car, first:)

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        I just moved into a 1950s house. All the electric seemed to be working fine until carpet was installed yesterday. The circuit breaker flipped and flips again immediately after each attempt to turn it back on. There is no power being drawn on the circuit. It is only feeding overhead lights and outlets with nothing plugged in.

        By Susan

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        If this started after carpet was installed, I'd say somewhere a wire got nicked. It is time to have an electrician come check it out. I am speaking as a fire fighter here, who has heard similar stories that later resulted in a fire

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        I have an outside vapor light my husband installed on one end of our barn. The light is on a separate breaker with just the light and a plug on it. I have noticed the past few nights after it has been on about 6 hours the light goes out. When I went to check on it the next morning the breaker had tripped.

        My husband had put another vapor light on the other end of our barn and it is fine; it also is on a separate breaker. We have a breaker box with about 20 breakers in it and so far none have tripped except the one.

        By annie1 from Crosby, TX

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        Something is causing that breaker to trip-don't take the chance of a fire or electrocution, call a pro in to find out what is wrong.

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        The breaker to our living room and patio has tripped twice at night. Once my husband just flipped it back on and it was fine. The next night it happened again and will not flip back on. The things on the breaker are just standard things (TV, 2 lamps, an overhead light and fan, as well as, the overhead lights and fans on patio).

        We can't figure out why it won't flip back on or why it is tripping at night when everything is off. Any ideas? Oh, and this is a new construction home. We have been in it 1 1/2 years.

        By K.D.

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        Usually you will find it on the outside part of the things you mentioned. A bug or spider in the fixture. Turn the breaker off and clean all the fixtures outside including the plug ins. Moisture sometimes causes the wires to corrode, usually something simple like that if it hasn't been doing it before. I do my own and there is no risk as long as the breaker is off.

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        I bought my house a year ago. The electrical box was replaced because it did not meet code as well as some wiring and new outlets were installed. I have had absolutely no issues, never blown a breaker or anything.

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