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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all,

So I was messing with my 200 watt controllable light in my bedroom, with a computer/monitor on, and bam, tripped the breaker. Now I know that new homes must have bedrooms on 15-amp circuits..that's code. I think my outside outlet tho is either 15 or 20 amps. I am going to run into problems when I plug in a 1200watt fogger, this lamp, a few other lamps, some audio gear, etc. I would like to know if I replace a circuit breaker with say a 50-amp one, will that basically fry the wires in my home? I would guess that the reason for a 15-amp to 30-amp (highest one I seen, GFI to bathrooms was 20, but clothes dryer was 30 I think) breakers is that the wiring used can't handle much more without potentially getting too hot and burning up, if not causing a fire. So without the expense of hiring an electrician to come out and somehow add a few extra higher-amp lines that I could use for one night a year, is there anything else I can do short of buying and running 100' or longer extensions from different outlets that are on different circuits? I am fine if it's ok to replace a 15-amp circuit with a 30-amp circuit breaker for example.. although I am guessing that isn't cheap to buy either.

Thanks.
 

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Let me start by saying I'm not an electrician but I've run into this problem myself with my power tools in the garage and have had to ask the same questions.
You're right about the wires frying if you just replace the breaker. The wires have their own load rating and could be damaged or start a fire if you overload them. What I did was hire a certified electrician for an hour and get good info on what wires I have and what my options were. If you have open slots on your breaker box (I believe one slot has to remain free) you can install a new breaker and run wires to some new outlets. I believed he quoted that he would have needed 3-4 hours of work so it wasn't too bad. But I'm sure that can change state by state due to different rules and regulations. Unfortunatly I didn't have any usable space in my box :( so I have to go the extension cords to different outlets route.
 

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You cannot, safely, replace the 15A breaker with a 20A breaker unless the original wiring running through the walls between the breaker and ALL the outlets/lights on the line is 12 gauge. Wiring run for 15A circuits is often 14 gauge. The wiring for your 30A clothes dryer circuit is probably 8 gauge. Wire gauges run "smaller number is bigger wire", so 0000 wire gauge is massive, while 36 gauge is as thin as a hair.

The easiest way to solve this problem is to buy heavy duty (i.e., 12 or 14 gauge wire) extension cords and run them from outlets on other circuits in the house.

Craig
 

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Do NOT go replacing breakers! That is just asking for trouble. You have to either rewire the outlet that is already there, or add a new one, or run cords from other outlets/circuits. However make sure that the cords you use are heavy enough. If you plan to be putting a power strip on the end of the cord get a minimum of a 12 awg cord. Personally I use Yellow Jacket cables as they have a very thick, durable jacket that stays flexible even in cold.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you guys for replies. Makes total sense. I do recall the electrician saying (we bought a brand new home and there was a goof on one wire.. so he came out.. and I asked him then about why my two computers + vacuum were tripping the circuit in the one bedroom that is presently my office) that I could replace the 15a circuit breaker with a 20a. I'll probably just run cords. I have a few 50 foot orange ones that I think are 14 guage, and I bought a 100 foot one 12guage for my electric lawn mower, so I should be ok to use cords.. was just hoping I didn't have to try to route cords all over if I could avoid it.
 
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