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Thread: Safety concern?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
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    Default Safety concern?

    Should I be concerned about the electrical wiring in my home if the circuit breaker pops in the main electrical panel when my wife and daughter both use their hair dryers at the same time or is it more likly that it is a weak breaker that I can change myself? My house is a 25 year old track home.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Safety concern?

    Quote Originally Posted by mtrav1@comcast.net View Post
    Should I be concerned about the electrical wiring in my home if the circuit breaker pops in the main electrical panel when my wife and daughter both use their hair dryers at the same time or is it more likly that it is a weak breaker that I can change myself? My house is a 25 year old track home.
    Sounds like the breaker is doing it's job. If two hair dryers are running at the same time on the same circuit then it's too much draw.
    Explain they can't dry their hair at the same time on that circuit. ( good luck with that )

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Safety concern?

    Are they in the same bathroom?

    Each bathroom should have a different circuit feeding the receptacle.

    Your system is operating correctly if they are both in the same bathroom. If they are not, you should consider adding a new circuit to one of the bathrooms.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Safety concern?

    each bathroom does not have to be on it's own circuit. it's fine if they are both on one circuit. bathrooms, however, are supposed to be on a 20 amp breaker, not a 15 amp breaker. the main issue here is that you can not just swap out a 15 amp breaker for a 20 amp breaker. a new 12 guage wire has to be run from the panel to the bathrooms then a 20 amp breaker installed.

    check the breaker. if it's a 15 amp breaker, there's your problem.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Safety concern?

    Quote Originally Posted by MLB Construction View Post
    each bathroom does not have to be on it's own circuit. it's fine if they are both on one circuit.
    I was under the impression that current code states bathroom outlets must have a dedicated circuit and a separate one for each bathroom. I'll have to check my reference manuals, but I will defer to a contractor as I am just an obsessive diyer.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Safety concern?

    But your house isn't new. It may have been wired properly for the times. These days I prefer a separate circuit for each room but that's more the oddity than the norm. Most electricians run a "home run" then wire as many outlets that are close by, even if the rooms are back to back, up and down, whatever is easier. Room by room takes a little more wire and effort, which tract home electricians aren't paid for.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Safety concern?

    Quote Originally Posted by function View Post
    I was under the impression that current code states bathroom outlets must have a dedicated circuit and a separate one for each bathroom. I'll have to check my reference manuals, but I will defer to a contractor as I am just an obsessive diyer.
    they do have to be on their own circuit but you can have more than one bathroom on one circuit. the way they figure it, most bathrooms have one outlet and you can easily have more than one outlet per circuit. relatively common around here in new construction you'll find that a first floor bathroom will have one outlet and that outlet will feed the bathroom directly above it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Safety concern?

    To answer your question: No, you should not be concerned by the breaker that pops.

    Cheapest solution: Just tell all occupants not to use hair dryers all at once.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Tennessee
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    Default Re: Safety concern?

    The issue is not the circuit breaker and whether or not its a 15 amp or 20 amp. The breaker is doing its job. You could run a new circuit if this is going to be an ongoing conflict, i.e. both wife and daughter are on the same schedule and both just have to dry their hair at the same time.

    The issue is the hair driers. When the first portable driers came out on the market, they were rated at around 1200 watts which is around 10 or 11 amps each. Running two of these on a 15 amp circuit isn't going to work, two of them on a 20 amp circuit will probably run for a while anyway.

    But todays hair driers are rated at up to 1800+ watts, that's over 15 amps each. Your not running two of them at the same time on one circuit for more than a minute or two, even a 20 amp circuit.

    There are several solutions here, but a larger capacity circuit breaker is NOT one of them. The women could try to adjust their schedules. Many of the hair driers have two heat settings and it might be possible that both could run on a lower heat setting, that might even be better for their hair anyway. You could have a qualified electrician install a new circuit to one of the bathrooms.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Safety concern?

    There is no safety concern -- the breakers are doing their job properly.

    The concern is one of convenience due to limited electrical capacity. There are a few workarounds or solutions:
    1. Use the hair dryers on different circuits (extension cords are not recommended for use with heating appliances; watch out for hot hair dryers and curling irons placed in inappropriate locations)
    2. Use the hair dryers at different times (if you can stand the whining)
    3. Install a new circuit to one of the bathrooms so that both hair dryers can be used at the same time
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

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