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  1. #21
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Would it be okay to put 2 Ceiling Fans on one circuit???

    Man! You guys are touchy!

    I can certainly see where AWG can be critical and why electricians always seem upset when they're working in an old home where homeowners have added to circuits over the years.

    I can see the senario where an old house has 2 or 3 bedrooms on one circuit with a couple plugs per bedroom. Owner 1 adds a couple more outlets per bedroom for convenience. Owner 2 makes one bedroom into an office and has multiple multi-plug cords to power the computer, printer, monitor, fans, space heater... No shorts, but the extra equipment now overloads the 15A circuit.

    No problem. Just swap out the 15A breaker for a 20A. "It'll probably be okay". And in most cases, probably will considering the safety margins built into code.

    Owner 2 has some issues and calls in the electrician who opens up boxes and finds AL wiring tied to copper plugs or wirenutted to copper for the new outlets, and the wirenuts are black from overheating and the box shows char.

    I couldn't figure out why I had to run 12AWG thhn to fan circuits that I then spliced to 18 AWG vinyl coated at the appliance. I've realized through this series of posts that it's because people will add to the circuits, and that it's the fire inside the wall that you can't see that will kill you. That 18 AWG at the appliance will not have anything added to it.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Would it be okay to put 2 Ceiling Fans on one circuit???

    Oh... another real world example...

    We recently replaced a swamp cooler at my church.

    For those not living in arid places, a swamp cooler is Southwest air conditioning. A pump runs water over pads and a blower sucks air across the pads and cools it through evaporation. Works great in places where 12% humidity is a "sticky day".

    We pulled the electrical box off the old cooler and I found 12 AWG thhn running UP TO the box, but a handyman along the way actually spliced in a piece of 18AWG extension cord from the box into the cooler.

    This place also damned near killed me one day while replacing some lighting and I found out the hard way that there are neutrals being shared across circuits.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,558

    Default Re: Would it be okay to put 2 Ceiling Fans on one circuit???

    jvande7471, I would hate to tell you all the substitutes for blown fuses I have seen.
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Would it be okay to put 2 Ceiling Fans on one circuit???

    Quote Originally Posted by jvande7471 View Post
    This place also damned near killed me one day while replacing some lighting and I found out the hard way that there are neutrals being shared across circuits.
    Since discovering (thankfully not the hard way) what a damn mess the previous owner made of DIY wiring in my house I will not touch a wire without checking it first with a non contact voltage detector.

    The closest I came to problems was the discovery that a three gang box had two circuits passing through it and I had only switched off one of them. Not against code, I believe, but it sure made me much more careful to not just trust that the breaker had shut off power to the whole box...

  5. #25
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Posts
    65

    Default Re: Would it be okay to put 2 Ceiling Fans on one circuit???

    Quote Originally Posted by jvande7471 View Post
    Man! You guys are touchy!
    Blame the amateur (me) for baiting the pros (just about anyone else who's posted).

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,558

    Default Re: Would it be okay to put 2 Ceiling Fans on one circuit???

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie_Fergler View Post
    I never touch any wiring without putting a meter to it. As you post you just never know.
    It is not uncommon to have more than once source of power feeding into say a 3-gang box, mainly because 3 & 4-way switching & traveler requirements. Add to the mix box fill requirements as well. And that is completely legal, and rightly so, by NEC standards.
    Even with the double pair of gloves, face shield, flash resistant clothing, and double insulated tools?
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  7. #27
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    New Mexico
    Posts
    35

    Default Re: Would it be okay to put 2 Ceiling Fans on one circuit???

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie_Fergler View Post
    I never touch any wiring without putting a meter to it. As you post you just never know.
    The gotcha I found with this was when working in a large room with multiple lighting circuits that shared return lines. When the breaker for one circuit was off, the lines looked dead. It was when I separated the return lines, saw sparks and watched the other lights go out that I knew I was in trouble. This was working overhead on 20 ft ceilings. One of those moments where you just don't move as you yell for people to turn the other light switches off.

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