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# 15A Breaker cannot handle clothes iron or electric kettle?

#1
10-26-18, 07:02 PM
Member
Join Date: May 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 39
15A Breaker cannot handle clothes iron or electric kettle?

Hi
The 2 small bedrooms in my 4 year old house share one 15A breaker in the panel
The master bedroom has its own 15A breaker

When I plug in a 1300W electric kettle or a 1000W steam iron into any of the outlets in the 2 small bedrooms, it trips the 15A breaker,

Funny thing is, the master bedroom also has a 15A breaker but there is no issue.

The 2 small bedrooms do not use much electricity. One of the rooms is converted into an office and I run 2 computers, a modem and a router. That is all.

Do you think it is a wiring issue? Is there any way I can get it checked or perhaps increase the Breaker from 15A to 20A?

I think the formula is P=VxA (or A=P/V). so a 1300W kettle would be 1300/120 = 10.83 Amps
I cannot imagine the 2 computers, modem and router requiring too much current. Let us say these items are 300W total = 300/120 = 2.5 Amps.

So we are still under 15A but a steam iron or a kettle (NOT used together) always blow the fuse....

#2
10-26-18, 07:20 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,773
Wow....a four year old house and two bedrooms on one circuit. I make it a point to put every room on it's own circuit.

Anyway...... a 15A circuit is capable of handling a maximum of 1800 watts. That doesn't mean the breaker won't trip before that. Circuit breakers are thermal magnetic so a heavy load will cause it to trip thermally with time.

You may have a defective breaker or..... is that an AFCI breaker.... has a pushbutton on the breaker ?
That may trip with inductive loads switched on.

You cannot increase breaker size on a wire arbitrarily. The breaker is sized to the cable size that has been run.

#3
10-26-18, 08:09 PM
Member
Join Date: May 2018
Location: USA
Posts: 39
Hi Pete
Yes, cookie cutter townhouse complex. Builders have cut every possible corner.

And yes, the breaker is AFCI. There are only 2 AFCI breakers in the entire panel - the master bed 15A and the other 15A shared by the other 2 rooms. All the rest are regular breakers. Any reason why they did that?

#4
10-26-18, 08:19 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: WI/MN
Posts: 19,606
Bedrooms are required to have AFCI protection while wet locations must have GFCI protection according to code.

#5
10-26-18, 09:43 PM
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 60,773
In the past/current codes....... AFCI was only required in the bedrooms. Now..... with the new code...... almost every circuit will need to be GFI or AFCI protected.

#6
10-27-18, 09:50 AM
Member
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 1,934
I run 2 computers, a modem and a router.
...
I cannot imagine the 2 computers, modem and router requiring too much current.
Let us say these items are 300W total = 300/120 = 2.5 Amps.
It's easy to accumulate 400-600 watts of background draw fairly quickly.
Router and Modem are probably taking up around 50 watts each.
Computers have monitors? Average 22" LCD monitor, figure 50 watts each.
~200 watts, just from peripherals.

Two newish computers with average video cards, probably 400-watt + power supplies in each,
~200-400 watts for 2 computers on (e.g. not in sleep or hibernate)

Printer?
Phone charger?
Lights?

Last edited by Hal_S; 10-27-18 at 11:14 AM.
#7
10-27-18, 09:54 AM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 4,855
I'd first check to see if they back stabbed the outlets.
If so change it so there under the screws instead.
All it takes is one loose connection to trip an Arc fault.

#8
10-27-18, 02:53 PM
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,754
the master bed 15A and the other 15A shared by the other 2 rooms. All the rest are regular breakers. Any reason why they did that?

Builders have cut every possible corner.

Surely you have heard of the term, "Low Bid". What you got was a job completed as cheaply as possible. It seems some contractor acquire a reputation for doing that kind of work.