Outlet/hair dryer tripping breaker?

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  #1  
Old 09-08-04, 07:02 PM
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Outlet/hair dryer tripping breaker?

I'm not sure who the culprit is. Every so often, when my wife is using her hair dryer, it trips the breaker. It seems to have happened a little more frequently lately, but I think that could be due to the recent heat and everyone using their A/Cs more and limited electricity to go around the area. Regardless, I remembered that she used to trip another switch in the house when she'd use her hair dryer in the other bathroom.

I've looked at the hairdryer, cord seems to be okay. Nothing else we ever use seems to do flip any switches, except for once or twice when I was using my air compressor. Any thoughts?
 
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  #2  
Old 09-08-04, 07:56 PM
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A hair dryer consumes most of the available power on a circuit. You usually cannot run anything else of any consequence on the same circuit at the same time. Today's electrical code is written to accommodate this fact, but earlier codes were not.

First, I suggest you make a list of everything that is on the same circuit as the receptacle your wife uses for a hair dryer. You can do this by shutting off the breaker and seeing what goes dead. Then I suggest your wife use the hair dryer on the "low" setting whenever any of that other stuff is running, or find another circuit to use (using the same technique of shutting off the breaker). Or buy a lower power hair dryer. The marketing department of hair dryer manufacturers always tout the big wattage numbers of their hairdryer as if that was a good thing.

Over the long run, it is very damaging to your house wiring to repeatedly trip the breaker, so try to find a way to stop it from happening.
 
  #3  
Old 09-09-04, 05:26 AM
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The other question that needs to be answered has to do with the type of breaker? Is this a a normal breaker, or a GFCI breaker?

If this is a GFCI breaker then it may not be due to an overload, but could be due to a ground fault. Since you said that the hairdryer has tripped other breakers in the house it's probably not a GFCI breaker, but the question does need to be answered.
 
  #4  
Old 09-09-04, 02:32 PM
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Thanks for both of your responses.

No, it's not a GCFI.

Since your saying that nothing else should be run on the circuit at the same time, would it be recommended that I designate it it's own switch? We had the control panel updated when we moved in, so there is plenty of room.
 
  #5  
Old 09-09-04, 03:24 PM
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Well, it would be nice to give it its own breaker, but that cannot be done merely with modifications at the panel. It's more complicated than that.
 
  #6  
Old 09-09-04, 04:10 PM
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Well, how involved is it? I'd be getting somebody else to do this anyway, as I'll admit my electrical knowledge is limited.
 
  #7  
Old 09-09-04, 05:00 PM
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You probably have to run a new cable from the panel to where you want the hair dryer outlet. Could be hard or it could be easy, depending on how far apart they are and what's in between.
 
  #8  
Old 09-09-04, 05:18 PM
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Thanks, I'll probably contact an electrician
 
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