Electrical Nightmare please help

Old 10-01-02, 08:58 AM
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Electrical Nightmare please help

Okay here is the situation. We are renting a house that is over 70 years old. The electrical has been updated to the poin that we have breakers not fuses anymore. Most of the outlets are 2 pronged, some are three pronged, but I haven't checked to see if they are grounded.

My problem is that we have a "computer" room. And on one circuit we have a computer, a monitor, two lamps, a printer, a tv, and a scanner, and a window a/c unit. All of that will run on the circuit. The problem is that we have a microwave in the kitchen and where it is plugged is shared. There is really not another place we can plug it in, and if the microwave gets plugged in the circuit blows.

In addition to that, we are getting some new computer goodies that are going to suck mroe power from that outlet. Do I have any recourse to fix the problem? Is there a way I can up the amperage or something. I don't really know what I am talking about here. I think it is a 15 breaker in the box.
Old 10-01-02, 09:03 AM
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It would appear based on the information that you have provided that your only option would be to add some circuits or find a way to split what you have in place more efficiently.

You can't change the ampere rating of a circuit unless you change the size of the conductors that are run in that circuit. In essence, you can't put a larger breaker on the line. This would subject you to a fire hazard.

It sounds like you need to add some circuits and based on what you have said and the fact that you are running computers on these circuits, it would probably be best to call a licensed electrician to do the work for you.

Good Luck
Old 10-01-02, 09:20 AM
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Unfortunately Sparksone42 is right. You have two semi-major appliances on a 15 amp circuit with the microwave & AC unit. Not good. That circuit breaker is your friend and your friend is telling you you're over-loading that circuit. Back in the day rooms were wired for convenience of the run and efficiency of wire length. In other words, on the way from the panel to the end of the line the electrical installer hit everything along the way, leaving you with receptacles and lighting in different rooms all on a single circuit. But back in the day many of the power-xucking appliances we now have didn't exist, so nobody cared.

Because of the proliferation of kitchen appliances modern electrical code says you must have two 20 amp "small appliance branch circuits" serving your kitchen/dining/pantry area with no lighting or receptacles of other rooms on those circuits. That is if you upgrade your wiring in this area. If it was up to the code of the day when installed and you change nothing it is still legal today.

You might be surprised at how reasonable the cost of having a pro add two circuits would be. It may be a pain, but call at least two electricians for a free estimate.

For now I wouldn't use the micro when running the AC at least. Good luck.

Old 10-01-02, 09:30 AM
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When your house was built, such things as computers and microwaves probably didn't exist. Therefore, they weren't planned for in the electrical system. I would ask your landlord to consider upgrading the electrical system. If this doesn't work out, I'd seriously consider moving.

If moving is out of the question, you're going to have to get more creative. You could consider moving some of that computer equipment or the TV into another room, or moving the microwave to a bedroom or basement, or remembering to shut off the A/C whenever you want to use the microwave, or ...

Remember, it won't be legal for you to modify the electrical system yourself on a property you are only renting.
Old 10-04-02, 10:36 AM
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Well, if you are not able to redo any of the wiring it may be a problem, but you could try an extension cord (big orange-type one) for the microwave to a circuit that has a different breaker.

its pretty ugly, but it wont blow breakers or start a fire either.

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