15A may not be enough

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  #1  
Old 01-26-05, 10:18 AM
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15A may not be enough

We have our microwave on the wall that joins to the LR. When the TV (46") is on, with Surround and Satellite, the microwave blows the circuit. It is a 15Amp circuit that it is on and I was wondering if I should replace it with a 20A circuit.

I have 200 amp service in the house.

Any help is appreciated.

Pete
 
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  #2  
Old 01-26-05, 10:28 AM
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Only if the wire is #12 or larger can you change the breaker from 15 amp to 20 amp. While this might solve the problem, the better solution would be to have the microwave on a separate circuit.
 
  #3  
Old 01-26-05, 10:31 AM
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Never, ever simply replace a 15 amp fuse or breaker (overcurrent device) with a 20 amp. They are sized to protect your wiring from catching on fire. If there is a 15 amp overcurrent device controlling a circuit, it is likely that there is all, or at least some, #14 wire on that circuit, which is rated 15 amps max. A 20 amp circuit must have all #12 wire throughout, which is rated 20 amps. The NEC requires two 20 amp "small appliance branch circuits" in a kitchen. They may serve only receptacles (no lighting) located in the kitchen, pantry, and dining areas. If your home was built before that requirement, and the circuit you are describing was installed to the code of the day, it is legal today just as it is. If you modify a kitchen circuit (i.e., add a new receptacle) it must be brought up to today's code.

So, to alleviate this problem you're having, I would recommend running a new 20 amp receptacle circuit to the kitchen and then upgrading your existing kitchen circuit to 20 amps, with all new #12 wire, and then you can upgrade your fuse or breaker on the existing circuit to 20 amps. However, at that point you must separate your livingroom, and all other rooms other than those listed above, from the kitchen circuits.

Sorry if that's not the answer you wanted to hear, but it's the right one, and the safe one. Please - don't increase your fuse or breaker rating.

Juice
 
  #4  
Old 01-26-05, 10:33 AM
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If you mean should you replace the circuit breaker with a bigger one , generally the answer is no, but it depends on how your fire insurance policy is written and how much you value the things that are lost when the house burns down. You need to have a new circuit run from the breaker panel to power the microwave or move the microwave to a different plug that isn't on the same circuit as the TV.

Doug M.
 
  #5  
Old 01-26-05, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by JuiceHead
Never, ever simply replace a 15 amp fuse or breaker (overcurrent device) with a 20 amp. They are sized to protect your wiring from catching on fire. If there is a 15 amp overcurrent device controlling a circuit, it is likely that there is all, or at least some, #14 wire on that circuit, which is rated 15 amps max. A 20 amp circuit must have all #12 wire throughout, which is rated 20 amps. The NEC requires two 20 amp "small appliance branch circuits" in a kitchen. They may serve only receptacles (no lighting) located in the kitchen, pantry, and dining areas. If your home was built before that requirement, and the circuit you are describing was installed to the code of the day, it is legal today just as it is. If you modify a kitchen circuit (i.e., add a new receptacle) it must be brought up to today's code.

So, to alleviate this problem you're having, I would recommend running a new 20 amp receptacle circuit to the kitchen and then upgrading your existing kitchen circuit to 20 amps, with all new #12 wire, and then you can upgrade your fuse or breaker on the existing circuit to 20 amps. However, at that point you must separate your livingroom, and all other rooms other than those listed above, from the kitchen circuits.

Sorry if that's not the answer you wanted to hear, but it's the right one, and the safe one. Please - don't increase your fuse or breaker rating.

Juice
Great advice, the house was built in 1973 and the only kitchen outlets are the refigerator, electrical stove, outlet near the sink (Not GFCI but will be soon) and one on the wall. As this is hooked up to the same circuit as the TV it is probably on 14 gauge. I will look at running a new line #12 to this outlet and getting a 20 amp there. Brother-in-law is an electrician (but a 100 miles away) and he usually walks me through this but he is out of town now.
 
  #6  
Old 01-26-05, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by dougm
If you mean should you replace the circuit breaker with a bigger one , generally the answer is no, but it depends on how your fire insurance policy is written and how much you value the things that are lost when the house burns down. You need to have a new circuit run from the breaker panel to power the microwave or move the microwave to a different plug that isn't on the same circuit as the TV.

Doug M.
I agree and I told my wife not to blow up the HDTV before the Super Bowl too...especially to heat up her coffee...LOL
 
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