04:46AM | 02/12/08
Member Since: 11/01/06
34 lifetime posts
Hey people!

When i turn on my hair dryer... sometimes the breaker trips... some other time it doesn't... it all depend what's running on the circuit i know that... but if i replace the 15Amp breaker for a 20Amp will that be safe?

Also, when the hair dryer is running that same wire that goes out of the load center is warming up... is that normal? Is that something i should be worried about?

Should the hair dryer be on a separate breaker?

By the way i live in Canada so code is almost the same as US.

Thanks for all you're current!

Tom O

02:57PM | 02/12/08
Member Since: 09/17/02
477 lifetime posts
Here in the US, a few code cycles ago there was a requirement added which called for a circuit for bathroom receptacles only and that it was to be 20 amps (there is an alternate method that allows all outlets in one bathroom to be on a single 20 amp circuit that serves no other loads). Multi megawatt hairdryers were one of the reasons for the change.

Unless all the wire on the circuit in question is #12 copper (or #10 aluminum) changing the breaker to 20 amps would be hazardous.

Wires that are carrying current will warm up and wires that are carrying their maximum permitted load can get fairly warm. This shouldn't be a problem as long as the circuit breaker keeps doing its job. BTW, putting a 20 amp breaker in where a 15 is called for will allow the wire to get too hot.

Best bet is to run a new circuit to the bathroom receptacle.


03:17PM | 02/12/08
Member Since: 01/09/07
198 lifetime posts
"but if i replace the 15Amp breaker for a 20Amp will that be safe?"

___Absolutely NOT!___

Unless the circuit was originally wired for 20A, but only used a 15A breaker -- and that's unlikely -- it makes no sense for an electrician to do that.

This is a good way to start your house on fire! Don't do it!


05:11PM | 02/12/08
Member Since: 11/01/06
34 lifetime posts

A little background is in order!

This is an old house. 189x... revamped in the early 1910s to have what was hot back then... electricity!

It's a 2 stories high plus full basement. There is a 100Amp feed to the house. Much of everything was redone (electricaly).

I have started to re-wire the house and most of is is done except that for this wire!

This wire feeds the whole second floor (7 rooms, 4 computers, 1 printer) but *NOT* the bathroom... but since it feeds the rooms and everything... well... I touhght it was normal for that wire to warm up a little bit.

There is 1 lighting ficture per room... so nothing to really go crazy there. When the printer starts... lights get dimmer for a second or 2 and come back to normal.

The re-wireing will be completed next year as the ceiling of the frist floor will be redone and wires passed through.

There are going to be 5 separated breakers for the bathroom: 1 for the lights, 1 for the shower (yeah... Kohler DTV + thermo!), 1 for the whirltub, 1 for the heated floor, 1 for the 2 outlets.

The hair dryers are used in the bedrooms...

so... am i still dangerously playing with fire by using 20amp for that single circuit that feeds all the 2nd floor?

Thanks for all the jolts!


02:29PM | 02/13/08
Member Since: 01/09/07
198 lifetime posts
"so... am i still dangerously playing with fire by using 20amp for that single circuit that feeds all the 2nd floor?"


If you're trying to run 20A of current through a 15A wire, you are deliberately overloading it and risking a fire. Don't do that.

A hair dryer in itself should not be enough to trip the breaker -- there must be other loads on at the same time. So either turn off some of those other items when you use the hair dryer, or try moving it downstairs to another circuit, and dry your hair there.


05:08AM | 02/21/08
Member Since: 11/01/06
34 lifetime posts

Last thing I want is turn into smoke all I have...

I've put back the 15Amp circuit...

When the circuit trips... I'll say thanks everytime... even if I have to go downstairs!

In the mean time I'll search for the overload!

Thanks again Tom and to the others that have taken the time to answer me!
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