15 amp to 20 amp circuit breaker change

Several outlets have been added to a bedroom/living room circuit that originally was used mostly for ceiling lights. At times the total current usage may now hover close to 15 amps. The house is 20 years old. Is it safe or is it dangerous to change the breaker from a 15 amp to a 20 amp?
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Don't do it unless all of the wire is 12 gauge. The breaker is there to protect against overheating in the wiring and must be sized to match the wire size. 14 gauge amps, 12 gauge amps.
RB
Dick M. wrote:

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Dangerous. Every wire on that circuit has to be changed to 12 guage wire.
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The wire for a 20 Amp circuit must be 12 gauge or larger, 14 gauge for 15 amp. That's what determines the allowed breaker.
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Dangerous! Can you split the circuit into two separate 15 amp circuits instead, running new wire back for the split off outlets?

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Yes, I could hire an electrician to rewire the area back to an additional circuit breaker, but that would be more expense than I want. I was just wondering if possibly the house wiring may have been sufficient in the first place to allow use of a 20 amp breaker. Dick
"The Masked Marvel" wrote

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It would be dangerous to assume that. Even if the wire connected to the breaker is #12, you cannot be sure that all the wiring that is hidden in walls, etc. is also #12.
MB
On 04/22/04 09:39 am Dick M. put fingers to keyboard and launched the following message into cyberspace:

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If you have to ask, the answer is "no, you can't upgrade the breaker". Is the load you currently have causing the breaker to trip? "may now be close to 15A" implies that it's not, in which case you should just leave the breaker the hell alone.
15amps is the theoretical minimum required to serve the lights and convenience outlets for 600 sq.ft. of occupiable space.
--Goedjn
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It is dangerous as the wire for the 15 amp breaker is most likely 14 gauge.
You would be better off running a new circuit for the new outlets.
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Very ill-advised. Certainly not US NEC-compliant, because it's dangerous. Unless you change the branch-circuit wiring to 12-ga.
Nothing like overheated wiring inside a wall-cavity.
John
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Dick:
DM> Several outlets have been added to a bedroom/living DM> room circuit that originally was used mostly for ceiling DM> lights. At times the total current usage may now hover DM> close to 15 amps. The house is 20 years old. Is it DM> safe or is it dangerous to change the breaker from a DM> 15 amp to a 20 amp? As the others have stated: dangerous. You should consider moving some of the load to another circuit, either an under-used circuit or a new circuit, if there are frequent overloads which cause the circuit breaker to trip. If the circuit breaker is not tripping then the loading is probably OK and no need to move things. (Hopefully your outdoor outlets are GFCI protected.)
If you do decide to move parts of the circuit this would probably be a good beginner project with which to learn from a knowledgeable friend.
- barry.martinATthesafebbs.zeppole.com
* Hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn.
--
RoseReader 2.52 P003186
The Safe BBS Bettendorf, IA 563-359-1971
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