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Breaker Tripping

Its all in the numbers!

What Can I Plug Into A 15 AMP Circuit?

Ok, get out your calculator. 15 amps x 120 volts = 1800 watts. You can only load up to 80% of the stated rating for long periods. A 15 AMP circuit will technically not even hold a 1500- watt hair dryer. For this reason, many city inspectors do not allow 15 amp circuits in houses. What can I plug into a 20 AMP circuit? A 20 AMP circuit at 120 volt (at 80%) will hold 1920 watts for long periods. It would be possible to operate a 1200 watt coffee pot and even a 600 watt can opener, but not a 1200 watt coffee pot and a 1500 watt microwave oven. In order to operate in a safe and efficient manner, you will need to run larger wattage appliances on separate circuits.

What Can I Plug Into A 20 AMP Circuit?

20 AMPS x 120 volts = 2400 watts. As you know by now, you can only load up to 80% of the stated rating. What can I plug into a 20 AMP circuit? A 20 amp circuit at 120 volt (80%) will hold 1920 watts. It would be possible to operate a 1200 watt coffee pot and even a 600 watt can opener, but not a 1200 watt coffee pot and a 1500 watt microwave oven. In order to operate in a safe and efficient manner, you will need to run larger wattage appliances on separate circuits.

What Causes A Breaker To Trip?

Almost all common circuit breakers are thermal magnetic. This means they are forced to trip when heat builds up. How much heat a breaker can take without tripping is determined by the breakers overload rating.

Why A Tripping Breaker Is A Good Thing...

Although many times when a breaker trips it seems to be a big hassle, a tripping breaker is indicating a short circuit or an over current condition. When these conditions are present, the breaker that is tripping is actually doing its job by preventing extensive over heating that often causes fires.

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