Upgrading electrical circuit breakers to higher amperage


I recently added some new, heavier-duty equipment to my garage woodshop and am now finding that I'm tripping the breakers more often. There are two circuits in the garage, both 15 amps. The new tools are rated as high as 20 amps and trip the breakers under loads (no surprise there). If I upgrade, should I just take these circuits on up to 30 amps? Is this as simple as merely installing new breakers, or will it likely require some rewiring? I don't plan on trying to do this myself, but I would like to get a feel for what's involved and how much it might cost. The house was built in 1978. I'll be calling the electricians this week in any case.
Thanks.
Lynn Willis Indianapolis
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If you have 15A circuits now, its likely you only have 14 gauge on those 2 circuits. You have to re wire with 12 guage wire , and then you can change out the breakers to 20A. Or you can just leave those 2 circuits alone and run a new 20A circuit. 30A is not really practical for this application. How far away is the panel? If its close, and if you can run new wire to it with no problems, its fairly easy and straightfoward for an average homeowner to do themselves.
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* You will definitely need to upgrade the wiring to increase the amperage capacity. I would suggest that you have an electrician install a subpanel in your shop. This will allow you to easily add more circuits in the future as you add more equipment. The subpanel topic and garage shop has been discussed here a lot. Do a Google search of this group to see what has been said in the past.
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John Grabowski wrote:

Sometimes tripping can occur due to large voltage drops on long runs. If your breaker box is far from the tools, heavier wire can help, but then, why not increase the breaker to match the wire.
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snipped-for-privacy@iupui.edu wrote:

Increasing the wire size to 12 gauge (20 amps) or 10 gauge (30 amps) and replacing the breakers accordingly will work. My guess is that adding two circuits, rather than replacing the existing ones will be easier and less costly. However, most higher current woodworking tools have motors that can be reconfigured to operate on 240 volts. I'd suggest talking with your electrician about adding at least one 240 volt circuit. Tool performance will be a bit better. I now run my table saw, dust collector, jointer, shaper and planer on 240 volts and find it preferable to 120 volts.
Boden
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Its a cliche that there's no such thing as a dumb question; but you strain that.
My mother once couldn't get the vacuum to turn on, so she untied a knot in the cord to make sure the electricity could get through. And then admitted to doing it.
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Back in the early days of electrification people were afraid the leave bulb sockets empty because they thought the electricity would leak out like gas.
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No. Only if the wiring is of suitable size. 15 amps for #14AWG 20 amps for #12AWG 30 amps for #10AWG The circuit breaker is there to protect the wiring as well as against something faulty plugged in. Also your insurance company might not honour your insurance policy if something happened! Putting in breakers that are too big might SEEM TO WORK but is unsafe and not in accordance with electrical code; and is the equivalent of people putting a penny in place of a blown fuse. Lots of fires that way! Also as some have mentioned if it is long run from the circuit breaker box to the tool location, like 50 to 100 feet say. There might be enough voltage drop on low gauge wiring (like #14AWG) to slow the start-up of the tools and cause them to take too many amps for a moment! But trying to use a 20 amp tool on a 15 amp circuit doesn't make any more sense than trying to put 7 people in a four seater car! Also not using more than one tool at a time???? We have #10AWG 115/230 (3 wire plus ground) for a wiring distance of less than 25 feet, to a sub panel in our workshop. It is fed from a 30 amp double pole breaker. The sub panel has 20 amp fuses to #12AWG wiring to 115 and 230 volt outlets; because we have a few tools and a couple of soldering irons that operate on 230 volts. Only time we have occasionally 'blown' anything is when we have stalled a 230 volt bench saw; and not always then. The sub panel is also a means of switching off 'everything' in the workshop (except a row of lights on another circuit) before leaving that room. Please be careful.
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Thanks to all for the kindly advice. I've turned the project over to an electrician and will soon be circuit-overload free (I hope). I'm sure my ignorance of this subject was clear to all. I'm at least able to discuss the topic with the electrician now.
I was surprised by Jack's remark about my question on this subject "straining" the old adage about "no such thing as a dumb question," and am wondering if maybe he's the "dumb-question designator" for the forum? If so, he's doing a heckuva job. Of course, isn't this exactly the place for ignoramuses like me to ask questions about home repair, even dumb ones? If I knew the topic sufficiently, what's the point in asking the questions?
Thanks again for the assistance.
Lynn Indianapolis
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Oh jeeze, Lynn...now you'll probably get Jack all riled up.
Good job sticking up for yourself.
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With a name like Jack you know he had to be a Jack Ass.
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