How much will a 15amp breaker hold??

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  #1  
Old 07-04-07, 07:52 PM
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How much will a 15amp breaker hold??

I am getting ready to do my bathroom remodel. I need to install an exhaust fan and an extra outlet in the bathroom. Right now I have the bathroom and office on the 15 amp breaker. (PUSHMATIC style) I have an outlet and light from the bathroom, 2 outlets and a ceiling light from the office on this breaker. In the summer the most that would be using electric would be the 5k btu a/c unit in the window in the office, hair dryer being used and light on in the bath. I just wanna make sure I don't need to run another 12/2 romex to the attic?? THANKS
Chris
 
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Old 07-04-07, 08:02 PM
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Bathroom should be on a separate circuit. #12 20amp breaker is best. The window AC should if possible also be on a dedicated circuit. First is to meet code second suggestion is best practice not code.
 
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Old 07-04-07, 08:11 PM
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You need a dedicated 20 amp circuit for just the bathroom (nothing else in the house can be on it) OR you can just put bathroom receptacles on it.

Also run a dedicated circuit for the air conditioner.
 
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Old 07-04-07, 09:08 PM
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My wife wanted new lights over the counter and not the ugly florescent in the ceiling in both baths. Both baths were on a 15 amp circuit that was also the kitchen, dining lighting and three other outlets. I put a 20 amp circuit to each of them. Was a lot of work for me and I asked many questions here and studied online and books. Also helped electricians in the past doing remodels. I Feel my home is a lot safer than it was. If you think a little that 1650 watt blow dryer exceeds a 15 amp circuit all by itself.
 
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Old 07-05-07, 07:29 AM
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Ok, so I need to run another line then. I will just put the bath and the office on their own seperate breakers. I checked our local codes and I didn't see anything about the window a/c's having thier own but I have heard that before from my co-workers. So should I just do 20 amp breakers in both the office and bath?? We usually have central air but out 30+yo unit took a crap last Sept., so that is why we have 3 window units. One of them is on its own breaker. Thanks for the help!!! Chris
 
  #6  
Old 07-05-07, 07:52 AM
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It is not a requirement, in general, that a window air conditioner have it's own circuit. Some larger units by virtue of their voltage and/or current requirements may be required to have a dedicated circuit, but a basic 120 volt window unit has no such requirement.

However, it is recommended that you put a window air conditioning unit, or any other high current draw appliance, on a dedicated circuit. This is to prevent excessive current draw on the circuit and tripping of the breaker. This would especially be true if the circuit is already loaded to any degree or if the circuit is used for sensitive electronics that may be adversely affected by the voltage drop that typically occurs with the startup current draw of some devices.
 
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Old 07-05-07, 07:55 AM
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Could I post my breaker label on here and if stuff is wrong could you let me know?? You should have seen it when we moved in. There were lights and outlets from the kitchen and lights and outlets from a bedroom upstairs on one breaker!! I was dumbfounded. My father in law who has re wired his house and his brothers house helped me. I pretty much just ran the wire while he hooked it up. I learned a lot about elect., but I guess not enough!
If you wouldn't mind that let me know. THANKS
Chris
 
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Old 07-05-07, 07:59 AM
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The NEC has specific requirements for the bathroom, as Racraft mentioned.

The NEC does not in general have a requirement that a portable window AC have its own circuit, however the instruction manual for the AC might require one. In this case the NEC requires that you follow the instruction manual. (Then it gets to a grey area, because the AC is not a permanently installed piece of equipment....)

If you are going through the effort to pull new wire from the breaker box for the bathroom, and if the circuit in the office seems excessively loaded, then it makes sense to install a new circuit for the office as well. This is because you are already doing most of the heavy lifting pulling the first cable, your labor and the effort patching holes and fishing cables is more expensive than the new cable.

If you are willing to take the time to learn about multi-wire circuits, then you can get this second circuit by running a single 12/3 cable rather than running two 12/2 cables. This however will require a significant amount of time learning about such circuits, because they are more complex and have more ways in which they can cause problems.

If your office circuit is on a 15A breaker, then it is likely that the wiring between receptacles is only suited for 15A. In which case the 'easy' thing to do is to leave the old 15A circuit alone, and then add a few receptacles on the new 20A circuit.

-Jon
 
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Old 07-05-07, 08:03 AM
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I suggest you pick up a copy of the inexpensive, easy-to-read green paperback book titled "Wiring Simplified". Read it cover to cover and then you'll be able to identify all your wiring problems.
 
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Old 07-05-07, 08:03 AM
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I don't know what you mean by breaker label.

If you mean a list of items on a single breaker, that's fine go ahead and post it.

However, keep in mind that codes have changed over the years. Some things that used to be allowed to share a single circuit are no longer allowed to do so.

Finally, unless you have actually verified what is on a circuit, do not trust a label. Labels in panels are notoriously incorrect. The problem is two fold: The space provided in the panel is just too small to list everything; Some electricians and many homeowners do not bother to update the listings as changes are made.
 
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Old 07-05-07, 08:11 AM
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Just an opinion and not an expert but in this case I would not use a multi-wire circuit for AC and bath. If sometime in the future a 240V AC is installed the circuit for the AC could not be converted to 240V. A new cable would have to be pulled.
 
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Old 07-05-07, 08:14 AM
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My breaker label, I mean what is on each of my breakers. But your right that would take forever. I know what wire goes where b/c my father in law and I did all the running of the wires. The wires that were in the wall where falling apart. It was bad!! My labels are 100% currect. I labeled as we ran wires in a notebook. I am very anal about stuff and must keep things in order. Up in the attic I even wrote on the wire what wire goes where.

All the a/c units I have don't say anything about running thier own specific line. If I run another line dedicated to bathroom only then the office will also have its own line b/c I am taking the bath off of the office breaker. So on one breaker I will have 2 outlets and a light for the office. That is it!? Also the bath will have 2 outlets, light over the mirror and the exhaust fan/light. The office realy isn't an office. It was a porch on the second floor that they enclosed and put 6 freaken windows in that room. I appreciate all the help on here. I love this site!! I do post when I can on helping other people and that is usually on loose fill ins. b/c I did my attic floor and all my exteriro walls.
 
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Old 07-05-07, 08:17 AM
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I am hoping to get a new central air unit next year!! So the a/c units in the windows will be gone!!!! I got a couple of quotes for them and they aren't cheap. I needed to get the bathroom done first. IT IS TERRIBLE!!! Don't know what the previous owners where thinking when they painted it!!!!!!!
 
  #14  
Old 07-05-07, 08:54 AM
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back to the original question: "How much will a 15amp breaker hold?? "


Originally Posted by diyplank View Post
. In the summer the most that would be using electric would be the 5k btu a/c unit in the window in the office, hair dryer being Chris
Figure the 5000 BTU AC at about 7 amps, hair dryer at 12 amps. Now add an amp for lights, amp for fan, etc. you see that a 15 amp circuit just will not make it. Things like hair dryers and coffee pots are why we like 20 amp circuits for bathrooms and kitchen receptacles.
 
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Old 07-05-07, 01:24 PM
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Well thanks everyone for the fast and very very efficient answers!! I am going to buy a couple of 20amp breakers and rearrange some stuff in the breaker box. THANKS AGAIN!!!!!!!!!
CHRIS
 
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Old 07-05-07, 01:37 PM
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Just make sure that the circuits you connect to the 20-amp breakers have no #14 wire on them.
 
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Old 07-05-07, 08:51 PM
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Why 14?? Do you mean like 14/2?? We rewired our house with 12/2 and 12/3. Let me know?!
 
  #18  
Old 07-05-07, 10:36 PM
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John was reminding you that no circuit protected by a 20A breaker may have any #14 (14 AWG or gauge such as 14/2 or 14/3) in it; #14 may only be used for circuits protected by a 15A breaker. Since you mentioned the current breaker is 15A, that could mean you have 14AWG wire and it would be dangerous to connect this to a 20A breaker.

If you completely rewired your house with #12, you donít have to worry about this. If you have some old #14 wire left connecting anything, that circuit may not be upgraded to a 20A breaker, even if part of it is wired with #12.
 
  #19  
Old 07-06-07, 05:53 AM
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Oh ok. I was told by my cousin who works at Turn Key as an electrician just to use 12/2. So that is what I did. I just bought a roll from Lowes, 250' of 12/2 Romex and spent 65 bucks. It has gone up 13 bucks since the last time I bought a roll in early spring of 06 at 52 bucks. Couldn't believe it!! Well again thanks for all the help everyone!!!
 
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