Increase amps

Old 11-30-03, 07:19 PM
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Increase amps

I have just finished putting up the last of my Christmas lights. On the last few strands, the 15 amp circuit started tripping so I reduced the number of lights until the circuit stopped tripping. Which was fine, until I realized that I have two sets of interior hallway lights on the same circuit. I have three options:

1. Run an extension cord from the backyard (as a friend suggested), but that messes up the automatic timer I am using for turning on the Christmas lights.

2. Don't use the hallway lights throughout the month of December (not really an option).

3. If possible, increase the circuit to 20 amps. However, I have no idea if this can actually be done, and if it can, how much work would be involved. Is it as simple as replacing the circuit or are there wiring issues as well? I am certainly not an electrician, but if it's a relatively simple procedure, I'm good at following directions. As a follow up question, in case it does require an electrician, do you have an idea of what it might cost?

Thanks in advance for your help.
Old 11-30-03, 08:19 PM
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The 15A circuit breaker is sized as it is, to protect the wire connected to it. Generally if it is a 15A, then the wire size is #14. If it is not, and it is larger, then there is a possibility.

Tell us the size wire connected at the 15A breaker. If it is larger than #14, then tell us the size of the wires in each switch and receptacle to be sure it isn't reduced along the way.
Old 12-01-03, 06:46 AM
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btbird, you can't do it. I say this with 98% certainty. If you want to explore that other 2%, then answer Ron's questions.

Unfortunately, I think you may eventually discover that there are other loads on this circuit too, other than just the hall lights. Consider having an electrician install a new circuit or two just for your Christmas lights. Loading up a circuit to the brink of tripping is really not a particularly good idea.
Old 12-01-03, 03:23 PM
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You could look into using lower wattage lamps in the strings. I sounds like a couple of new circuits and 2 timers are needed.

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