Need help installing a new Circuit Breaker

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  #1  
Old 07-23-06, 04:39 PM
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Need help installing a new Circuit Breaker

With all this wonderful summer heat here in Northern California I've decided I might need to install an AC in one of my upstairs rooms. The complication is that half of the upstairs (two rooms, hallway, bathroom, stairway) are all on the same 15amp circuit.

Short of rewiring that portion of the house would it be simple enough to remove the 15amp breaker and install something of a greater capacity?

If that answer is no, then my project gets potentially more complicated in that the service panel doesn't have any free expansion slots available. If that's the case, what scale of a project am I looking at?

I appreciate any suggestions, ideas or advise, thanks!

- Chris
 
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Old 07-23-06, 05:12 PM
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You cannot just change a breaker to a larger breaker unless the associated wire is of the large breaker sizes requirements.

If you have a 15 amp circuit now, more than likely there is #14awg wire onthat breaker. That is the largest breaker you can ue in that wire.
 
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Old 07-23-06, 05:16 PM
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The answer is NO. You can not change the breaker to a higher one without replacing all the wiring. Since there is a bathroom and bed rooms involved that would involve some other special circuits as well.
If you start rewiring the area you must bring it up to code. Bathroom needs 20 amp for bathroom only.
Bedrooms need AFCI protection.
 
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Old 07-23-06, 05:18 PM
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Breaker

Do Not install a larger amperage breaker. You will burn down your house. Call a qualified electrician.

The breaker amperage must match the size wire in the circuit.
 
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Old 07-24-06, 02:50 PM
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This is precisely why I posted my question here. I had a feeling that it wasn't going to be as easy as I had hoped it to be. Looks like if I'm going to pursue this project I'll be calling out a local electrician; any upgrades of this scope sound well beyond my current skill set.

Thanks for helping me to *not* burn my house down.
 
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Old 07-24-06, 03:52 PM
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and your local fire department and insurance company thank you as well.



Your welcome.
 
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Old 07-24-06, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Toast
This is precisely why I posted my question here. I had a feeling that it wasn't going to be as easy as I had hoped it to be. Looks like if I'm going to pursue this project I'll be calling out a local electrician; any upgrades of this scope sound well beyond my current skill set.

Thanks for helping me to *not* burn my house down.

It is a wise man who knows that he does not know.
 
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Old 07-26-06, 01:31 PM
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I've come about a follow up question since I've begun to pursue different options, less dangerous ones... hopefully. As I've been studying over my breakers I've come about some that might not be in use and others that may be severly underutilized.

I have yet to set my sights on a specific AC unit, however there is the very real possibility that it will require a 240 outlet. Since the documentation on the breaker panel is lacking in explanation, how might I determine if the wiring to a specific breaker is 120 or 240?

Thanks again!
- Chris
 
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Old 07-26-06, 02:25 PM
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real simple

1 pole (one hot and a neutral)=120volt circuit

2 poles (2 hots, no neutral)=240 volt circuit

2 poles (2 hot and 1 neutral)=120/240 circuit
 
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Old 07-26-06, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by nap
real simple

1 pole (one hot and a neutral)=120volt circuit

2 poles (2 hots, no neutral)=240 volt circuit

2 poles (2 hot and 1 neutral)=120/240 circuit
This assumes full sized breakers with a tie bar between the handles, not a "mini" or "twin" half sized breakers (2 handles in a single breaker space)
 
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Old 07-26-06, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by scott e.
This assumes full sized breakers with a tie bar between the handles, not a "mini" or "twin" half sized breakers (2 handles in a single breaker space)
Thanks for the catch but one minor correction to your correction.

It makes no difference in fact if there is a tie handle or not. It will still be 240 although an illegal use.

So let me clarify my post.

If you have contact with both "legs" in the panel, there is 240 volts coursing through your body. If you have contact with but one "leg" and the neutral, you a being killed by 120 volts.

just having fun with it scott. not being an a**.

nap
 
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Old 07-26-06, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by nap
Thanks for the catch but one minor correction to your correction.

It makes no difference in fact if there is a tie handle or not. It will still be 240 although an illegal use.

So let me clarify my post.

If you have contact with both "legs" in the panel, there is 240 volts coursing through your body. If you have contact with but one "leg" and the neutral, you a being killed by 120 volts.

just having fun with it scott. not being an a**.

nap
I didn't mean to try to correct your post, merely to amplify it and provide more clarity. I mentioned the tie handles simply to differentiate them from twins, which also have two handles, but which control 2 120 circuits on the same phase and therefore cannot be a 240 circuit.
 
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Old 07-26-06, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by scott e.
I didn't mean to try to correct your post, merely to amplify it and provide more clarity. I mentioned the tie handles simply to differentiate them from twins, which also have two handles, but which control 2 120 circuits on the same phase and therefore cannot be a 240 circuit.
Like I said, I was just having fun. Actually, I appreciate your clarification since it is definately a situation the could confuse a DIY'er.

Also there are 2 pole breakers (full size) that have only a single width handle as well. This would also provide a 240 circuit since there are two phases involved.


Weebee cool
 
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