? about adding seperate breaker box


Old 03-07-06, 12:31 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 1
Question ? about adding seperate breaker box

Ok here I go, there is a bit to spill here. I had a fire just before Christmas due to an overload (fire inspector said). One of my circuit breakers kept tripping, I was told to replace with a 30A, I did, still tripped so I put the 20A back in, well, to late I guess. Now as we are being restored, I want to know would it be possible to add an outlet under the eaves of all 4 corners of the house? or should I have a seperate breaker box installed? What can I do to ensure this problem never happens again? This house is 4 years old. My wife and I really love decorating for Holidays and such, but to be honest, I am really gun shy now. What can I do or should do to ensure this won't happen again, and to allow me to put my Christmas lights and yard decor's out without being nervous? I have no knowledge of electrical work, So please any information would be so helpful. We have just had the house re-wired where the damage was, and the electricians said it would cost $1000 for labor alone to hook up one outlet under 4 corners of the eaves. Any information would really help me.
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Old 03-07-06, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central New York State
Posts: 13,973
I don't know who told you to install a larger circuit breaker. Obviously it was stupid advice. I suggest you no longer turn to that person (or source) for advice, and that you tell them just how stupid their bad advice was and how it almost cost you your house.

You tripped a 20 amp circuit breaker. That means that you overloaded the circuit. The fact that you still tripped a 30 amp breaker means that you really overloaded the circuit. Either you tried to place way too many decorations on the circuit, or perhaps some of the decorations are defective and/or damaged.

I suggest that you only use known good decorations that that you inspect and test the decorations before you put them up. Inspect them, repairing or replacing anything with a damaged cord or wire. Test them one at time. make sure that you only use OUTDOOR decorations outside the house. If you notice anything unusual with the testing, such as lights dimming or hot wires, then repair or replace the device.

Make sure that you never, ever, up size a breaker. In fact, if they didn't do so, I would have the electrician back in and have them make sure that your existing breakers are properly sized for the wiring. This will mean 15 or 20 amp breakers for the 120 volt circuits.

You don't need a new panel. If there is space in your existing panel (and there may be space without it looking like there is space) then one or more new circuits can be run from your existing panel. If there isn't space then a sub panel can be run. It may even be such that an existing or lightly used circuit can be extended to power your lights. For example, if you have an outside circuit, you may be able to extend it, as long as you don't try to use your electric lawn mower or your electric snow thrower or your electric hedge trimmer when the decorations are turned on.
Old 03-08-06, 01:33 AM
bolide's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: PA
Posts: 1,909
For outdoor lights, make sure the outlets are GFCI protected.
(This is a good idea for indoor decorations too.)

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