DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > Electrical and Wiring > Upgrade 15amp to 30amp breaker




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Old 10-26-2011, 12:15 PM  
garlandkr
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Default Upgrade 15amp to 30amp breaker

Currently I have two 15amp breakers that trip quite often.

Scenario 1:

Heating element in ceiling of bathroom is on, wife uses hair dryer - breaker trips. In my panel this is circuit #16 with a 15amp breaker.

Scenario 2:

Electric oil heater on in living room, multiple room lighting and sockets are on the same circuit - this is circuit #24 with a 15amp breaker.

Upgrade plans:

Install 30amp breaker in place of 15amp, is it safe? I would assume splitting out the load to new wiring would be the recommended approach and there is plenty of space in the panel for that. However, I'm just not up for making new runs at this time within the house. I'm pretty sure the wiring in place is 10awg but I'll have to check.



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Old 10-26-2011, 12:45 PM  
donmorgan
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Default 15 to 30 amp breaker

NO... do not up the breaker size. The breaker has to match the ampacity of the wire gauge it is attached to. A 15 amp breaker protects a #14 gauge wire. You will have to install a 20 amp circuit with #12 gauge wire or cut back on the amount of devices connected to that circuit. Changing the breakers could cause a fire hazard.



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Old 10-26-2011, 12:52 PM  
garlandkr
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[quote=donmorgan;62554]NO... do not up the breaker size. The breaker has to match the ampacity of the wire gauge it is attached to. A 15 amp breaker protects a #14 gauge wire. You will have to install a 20 amp circuit with #12 gauge wire or cut back on the amount of devices connected to that circuit. Changing the breakers could cause a fire hazard.[The wiring and it's 12 gauge so I can just upgrade the 15 to a 20 without problems.

Another question is will I need to upgrade the outlets? The one in the bathroom is GFCI.

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Old 10-26-2011, 01:10 PM  
donmorgan
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Default 15 to 30 Amp

If you are sure that it is #12 than it would be fine to change the breaker to a 20 amp make sure that all the circuits that are wired to it are #12. Sometimes additions to existing circuits are added to with a larger gauge wire and the breaker has to be matched to the smaller gauge within the circuit. Yes, GFCIs are rated in amps and should match the circuit breaker amp rating for safety.

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Old 10-27-2011, 08:48 AM  
JoeD
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The entire circuit MUST #12 wire. You need to check all the cables to be sure. It is generally not a good idea to up a breaker. 20 amp may not be enough anyway. 1500 watt heater + 1500 watt hair dryer = 3000 watts. That's still more than a 20 amp cicruit(2400 watts.)

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Old 10-28-2011, 10:28 AM  
garlandkr
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeD View Post
The entire circuit MUST #12 wire. You need to check all the cables to be sure. It is generally not a good idea to up a breaker. 20 amp may not be enough anyway. 1500 watt heater + 1500 watt hair dryer = 3000 watts. That's still more than a 20 amp cicruit(2400 watts.)
right, it probably wont be enough. i don't know the exact wattage of the heating element in the ceiling, i'll get up in the attic to check the label. i have checked the entire run of cable and it is #12 all the way. no idea why a 15 amp is in there to begin with.


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