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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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July 29, 2016 Flag
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I live in an RV that has a double pole 15 amp breaker that's tripping. The load is 8 plugs and 2 110 volt AC window units. The breaker box is full, so can I install another breaker box and split up the load?

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August 12, 20160 found this helpful

I apologize

I missed that the AC units were 120 VAC.

This means that they must be less than 1440 (120 x 15 x 0.8) watts and not run on the same leg at the same time.

Again, please consult an electrician.

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June 23, 2016 Flag
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We live in a 10 year old home. The main breaker in our box has shut down our power two days in a row. We have been able to re-set it and get power back, but we are concerned. Any advice? We haven't been operating anything new in our home, so our usage should be the same as it's always been.

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June 25, 20160 found this helpful

Breakers don't just shut off without a reason. Please call an electrician to help you figure out what the problem is. This could be a serious issue that could cause a fire.

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January 2, 2011 Flag
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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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January 6, 20110 found this helpful
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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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May 19, 2011 Flag
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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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May 21, 20110 found this helpful
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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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April 19, 2015 Flag
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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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April 20, 20150 found this helpful
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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.

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June 28, 2012 Flag
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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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June 29, 20120 found this helpful
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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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June 14, 2011 Flag
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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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June 23, 20110 found this helpful
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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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January 31, 2014 Flag
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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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February 1, 20140 found this helpful
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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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December 29, 2015 Flag
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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?

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January 5, 20160 found this helpful

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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