hair dryer blowing circuit breaker

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  #1  
Old 10-16-02, 06:19 AM
ron nath
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hair dryer blowing circuit breaker

here's the scenario:

a few days ago my wife is blow-drying her hair and the circuit breaker trips. happens again the next day and the next, and so on.

her hand-held hair dryer is an old one and so we go buy a new one (1875 watts). same thing happens. to see if anything else is "on" and drawing current, we shut off everything else on that circuit. and still it trips. (a note: i also have a hair dryer ((albeit with a smaller wattage)) on the same circuit and have had no problems)

she's been drying her hair at this outlet for years and the problem hasn't happened before.

so, my question is: can circuit breakers fail?

any other trouble-shooting suggestions are welcome.
 

Last edited by ron nath; 10-16-02 at 07:25 AM.
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  #2  
Old 10-16-02, 07:41 AM
texsparky
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If it is 14 gauge wire on a 15 amp breaker,the circuit is overloaded. An 1875 watt hairdryer would draw 15.6 amps at 120 volts. (if it is #14 wire do not change breaker to 20, get a smaller hair dryer )

If it is 12 guage wire on a 20 amp breaker,there could be other problems.Post back and let us know what you have.
 
  #3  
Old 10-16-02, 07:45 AM
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Or maybe you've plugged something else into that circuit. Perhaps a freezer in the garage or basement, or ...
 
  #4  
Old 10-16-02, 07:54 AM
ron nath
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texsparky: it's a 15 amp breaker with some 12 guage wire.

john: nope, nothing else. just ceiling lighting, a couple of alarm clocks, and a 12 inch TV.
 
  #5  
Old 10-16-02, 08:24 AM
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So texsparky's response was correct. I suggest you buy a lower wattage hair dryer, or only run the one you've got on the low setting.

As a direct answer to your question, breakers do fail, but not very often. My guess is that breakers are replaced about ten times as frequently as they fail.
 
  #6  
Old 10-16-02, 11:55 AM
ron nath
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thanks, john. i'll try to convince the boss she needs less power.
 
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