Christmas Lights

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  #1  
Old 11-23-01, 04:51 PM
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Christmas Lights

How do I calculate the number of Christmas lights I can have on a single 15 amp circuit? What would happen if I exceeded this amount? I have a lot of lights going through an extension cord with a circuit breaker on it and it has tripped a few times (everything stays lit for a few hours before tripping). I'm not sure if this is because I have exceeded the capacity for the circuit, or if I have another problem.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

TIA,

-Mike
 
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Old 11-23-01, 05:20 PM
J
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The breaker doesn't care about number of lights. It only cares about amperage. And amperage is directly proportional to wattage. Tell me the wattage of each of those bulbs (e.g., are these 1-watt bulbs?), and tell me what else is on this circuit, and I'll tell you how many bulbs you can have.

You have probably just exceeded the capacity of this circuit. And you have already found out what happens when you exceed the number of lights a circuit can handle.

How many bulbs do you have on this circuit now?
 
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Old 11-23-01, 05:39 PM
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Thanks for the quick response. I don't know the wattage of each bulb. I can't find it on the light set, or on the box. They are the mini-bulbs, so I assume 1 watt.

I have about 2,000 on the circuit now. There is nothing else on the circuit.

So you're saying that if the circuit was overloaded, it could take a few hours until the breaker tripped?

Thanks!
 
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Old 11-24-01, 08:50 AM
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A 15-amp circuit can only handle 1800 watts indefinitely. So if you have 2000 watts on this circuit (a small overload), it could indeed work fine for some period of time, before the heat buildup in the breaker caused it to trip.
 
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Old 11-24-01, 09:38 AM
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Thanks for the info. It is much appreciated. Guess it's time for a new circuit.
 
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Old 11-27-01, 02:38 AM
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Cool

A 20 amp with 12/2 with ground should do it.
Good luck!
Mike
 
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Old 12-02-01, 08:01 PM
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Christmas Lights

Due to my excessive holiday lighting cheer, I have a similar overload problem. I thought I could get around it by putting half of my lights on an outlet in front of the garage and the other half on an outlet near the rear patio - I'm still blowing the same switch. Even though the outlets are at opposite ends of the house, I now think they're on the same 15 amp circuit (the switches say 15 on them). Can I just change out the 15 for a 20? How do I add another circuit and then put those outdoor outlets on the added circuit? I'm obviously a novice in the electrical box - I'm tempted to call a local electrician.
 
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Old 12-02-01, 10:16 PM
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Yes, it's pretty common for outside receptacles to be on the same circuit. You need to find a receptacle on a different circuit. Shut off the breaker that keeps tripping and find some receptacle that is still live.

And no, you absolutely cannot replace the 15-amp breaker with a 20-amp breaker. This might be the last mistake you ever make. If you decide to do this anyway, be sure to tell a neighbor so that he can help the fire investigator figure out what happened.

Adding another circuit is an excellent idea. The best way to do that is to call an electrician.

Good luck.
 
  #9  
Old 12-03-01, 01:22 PM
Wgoodrich
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John I really enjoy all the different methods that you use to inform a guy that if he oversizes his breaker he is creating a fire hazard. You do have a variety of unique methods.

Enjoyed

Wg
 
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