Circuit breaker question

My 15 amp circuit breaker that has the basement, garage lights and outdoor lights and outlet is tripping a lot after putting up my Christmas lights. I tried spacing the decorations aroun to different outlets but it still trips. Can I upgrade the 15 amp to 20 amp without causing any problems? Thanks for any info
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The circuit breaker's job is to limit the amount of current to that which the wire can handle safely. If you increase the breaker size, you allow the wire to be overheated and create a potential fire hazard. Try finding another outlet on a different circuit to split up your lights

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
No. If any of the circuit is 14ga wire, that's why the breaker is 15A. You would instead need to find some load to get off that circuit to compensate for the added lights.
Bill

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Could you have a GFI on that circuit? My guess is the GFI is tripping and you have a wiring problem with one or more of those light strings. Are they all in like new condition and are they all rated for outside use? I believe the red UL sticker is used for outdoor rated lights, or is it green?
--
Joseph E. Meehan

26 + 6 = 1 It's Irish Math
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Good point, but in addition, it just could be a bad breaker. It depends on how much load is being added.
Joseph Meehan wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Rennyboy wrote:

Rennyboy,
Could it be possible that one of your light strings has a short? If they works for awhile, could one of them possibly have an intermittent short?
If it were a simple case of overloading the circuit with too many things, I would think those other things would have to be ON for the breaker to trip.
Tell us, does it trip with all of these items on? (Garage lights, outdoor lights, etc...) --Mike
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Who wrote "Can I upgrade the 15 amp to 20 amp ..... " Wow! That's 33% more load. 20/15 = 1.33 Geez. No! You don't overcome/fix one problem by creating another! The 15 amp breaker, if as installed originally by a competent person, should be the correct size to protect the size of wiring that was used. You wouldn't, I hope, put two extra people into a five seat car and expect it to not be overloaded? It definitely appears as if there is just too much stuff plugged in to that one circuit. Unless the breaker is faulty (which sounds unlikely) the tripping is a definite indication of at/near overload. The 15 amp circuit is capable of supplying a maximum but steady load of about 1600 watts, of all types. But if there is something such as fridge with a motor it can take quite a big load every time it starts that takes it well over capacity for a short while. That can trip the breaker on an already heavily/over loaded circuit. Putting the decorations on different outlets won't help a bit IF THEY THOSE OUTLETS ARE ALL ON THE SAME CIRCUIT AND BREAKER! At very least spread the load onto different circuits. BTW in event of an insurance claim, or God forbid a fatality, incorrect electrical could invalidate your policy and or create a liability! Be careful.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I think it may be a problem caused by moisture. What is the best way to eliminate any kind of water from getting into the receptacles?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
How can one think or suspect anything without first doing numbers? Those lights have numbers on them. How much power does each draw? No one can responsibly answer your question without numbers. You provided none. Therefore all answers are only wild speculation - in some cases to keep you from making matters worse.
I suspect your lights draw trivial amounts of current - no where near to 15 amps. Then you would put in a larger breaker so that shorted lights cause a fire inside walls? Think man. The breaker is saying you have created a human safety problem. So you blame the 15 amp breaker?
What type of breaker - another missing facts? Conventional? GFCI? What is causing failure remains completely unknown without sufficient information - especially numbers. What scares most is your immediate assumption that maybe a larger breaker is required.
How many lights with what numbers? What else is on the circuit? List of everything that loses power when the breaker trips is necessary. What type of circuit breaker? If moisture is causing a problem, then likely you have a threat to human life. Only circuit breaker is preventing problem from becoming worse. For example, interior lights that get wet better trip a breaker. Don't wildly speculate. The worse case result is not called an accident. It would be called criminally negligent homicide.
Most likely reason why circuit breaker was tripping - so that humans are not harmed by that mistake. Now we must find that mistake. Currently you have posted woefully insufficient information for anyone to provide a useful answer. Don't speculate without facts - especially without numbers.
Rennyboy wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
RennyRoy:
R > My 15 amp circuit breaker that has the basement, garage lights and outdoor R > lights and outlet is tripping a lot after putting up my Christmas lights. I R > tried spacing the decorations aroun to different outlets but it still trips
R > Can I upgrade the 15 amp to 20 amp without causing any problems? Thanks for any R > info
No! Do NOT replace the 15 amp circuit breaker with a 20 amp one. The purpose of the 15A breaker is to limit the current flowing through that circuit to 15 amps because it is only designed to carry 15 amps. Anything more overloads the circuit; the circuit breaker is doing what it is designed to do.
You indicated you moved the decorations to different outlets. Are these outlets on the same circuit (same circuit breaker)? If so. moving the decorations to different outlets didn't accomplish anything (except now you're using extension cords which could be a whole different problem!): you need to move the decorations to a different circuit - fed by a different circuit breaker (which hopefully isn't running at near-maximum capacity).
Ideally what you need to do is have another circuit added for just the outside outlets. I would have an electrican do it: if you are asking the type of question you did you probably don't know how to do it correctly. (When we had the addition built here we had to have the electrical system upgraded. I had the electrician move the outdoor circuit wiring to two circuits [two breakers], one for the front yard and one for the back.)
In the mean time, you stated your basement, garage lights and outdoor lights and the outlet the Christmas decorations are plugged in to are all on the same circuit (same circuit breaker). You _might_ be able to 'move' a current-hog appliance from this circuit to another. Do you have a refrigerator in the basement, and when the refrig runs and the Christmas lighting is on the breaker trips? Can you move the refrigerator to another part of the basement which is powered by a different circuit breaker? (Running an extension cord would _not_ be a good idea. During the remodeling the construction guys tried running a table saw off a long extension cord -- the saw would not start up because the guage of the extension cord was too small.)
- barry.martinATthesafebbs.zeppole.com
* Look maw, kitty goes POP when ya plug er in da waal.
--
RoseReader 2.52 P003186
The Safe BBS Bettendorf, IA 563-359-1971
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.