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# Too many things going to one circuit???

#1
09-13-11, 12:14 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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Too many things going to one circuit???

Hi sorry for the noob question, but I just bought my first house, I'm young and don't know a whole lot about electricity. I attempted a search but came out empty handed.

Anyways, I was in my attic and I noticed a lot of wires going to one outlet box. I figured out that this one box gave power to my A/C, 2 ceiling fans with lights, and a light in the attic. Is this too much for one circuit? My circuit breaker doesn't trip, but I'm a little concerned. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

-Ryan

#2
09-13-11, 12:30 AM
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It is impossible to ascertain without more information. You need to determine the running watts of the air conditioner (window model?) and the ceiling fans and lights. You need to determine the size (American Wire Gauge) of the wire in the circuit and then the size of the fuse or circuit breaker protecting the circuit.

Under most residential circuits a #12 wire is protected by a 20 ampere circuit breaker of fuse and a #14 wire is protected by a 15 ampere fuse or circuit breaker. These translate to 2400 watt and 1800 watt circuits respectively and most residential circuits are loaded to only about 80% of their maximum so that would be 1,920 watts total on a 20 ampere circuit and 1,440 watts on a 15 ampere circuit.

#3
09-13-11, 10:48 AM
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The two ceiling fans and lights are typically quite fine on that circuit with room to spare. The big question is the A/C. There are 800w units, which would work just fine on that circuit. On the other hand, if you have a monster 1800w unit, I might be a bit more concerned.

It's important to remember that the number of devices on a circuit doesn't matter, it's the total power used by what's connected.

Also, your fuse/circuit breaker box should be protecting your wiring from any overloads. If you do end up plugging in a large A/C, the worst that should happen is the breaker/fuse trips. You do have to be careful though with fuse boxes - they are quite safe, but can in certain cases be "over-fused", which is an unsafe condition. If you do have a fusebox, let's talk more

#4
09-13-11, 11:58 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
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Thank you for the quick reply's! I wanted to try and add up how much power I was using, but the only problem is, I have no way of figuring out how much my A/C was using. Should it be posted on the A/C unit somewhere? It's not a window model, its a central A/C but we do have a small condo (600 sq. ft.), so it's not a monster unit. It is also a 15 amp circuit.

I have a circuit breaker and it hasn't tripped yet. But I guess my main concern was at the outlet box. One wire coming in is straight from the circuit breaker and giving power to all this stuff. Then, there's 2 wires coming in for the ceiling fans and 2 light switches (one for the attic light and one for the A/C I think... its labeled F.A.U) Is that normal to be all tied-in in one fuse box?

#5
09-13-11, 12:01 PM
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There should be a label on the unit that shows voltage and amps.

#6
09-13-11, 12:20 PM
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It is very unlikely that a central A/C unit would share a circuit with anything else.

#7
09-13-11, 12:43 PM
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Do you mean the AC outside or the air handler in the attic? Does the outside part of the AC have a line going to a gray box on the outside wall?

#8
09-13-11, 01:25 PM
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FAU = forced air unit.

.........................................

#9
09-13-11, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by pcboss
FAU = forced air unit.
I see said the blind man to his deaf wife. Never heard an air handler called that.

FlyEagles15 it sounds like someone just grabbed power from where they could. The air handler is offten a likely target. The main power user for your AC, the compressor, is not running off that breaker, just the fan so you are probably OK. Assumes gas heat.

#10
09-13-11, 07:12 PM
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In addition to Rays comments, I have never seen a central air conditioner that was not 240 volts.

#11
09-13-11, 07:12 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
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Yeah I think it's just the air handler. And someone wrote "FAU" with a permanent marker so...it's not official. Thanks for the reply's. I'm feeling better about it.

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