Morning all! About a month ago I started having an issue with a breaker tripping. It all revolves around outlets in each bathroom. Because of a few cold mornings, the wife and daughter use small space heaters in each of the bathrooms while getting dressed. If they are used at the same time, the breaker will trip killing the power to both outlets. This used to not be a problem with them using the heaters for years at the same time and only started recently. I'm now wondering if it is a wall outlet issue or possibly something more major?
congratulations, your breaker is preventing fires! keep up the good work.
there is a chain of "it's not right" going on here. the only thing that is right is the breaker trips, and typically breakers that get cycled often trip earlier (or completely fail.)
1) obviously there is not enough heat in the bathroom. if you have forced air heating, get it surveyed... it could be as simple as adjusting damper positions on the trunks. if you have hot water heat, bleed the radiator and check the valve. if you have drafty windows, fix 'em. check the attic insulation. if the bathroom fan does not have a flapper in the ducting, fix it.
2) one or the other heater is starting to break down. load-test it if you have access to a current meter, or just jumk them both. double-check to see that both are set to low heat. it's still an overload, as the bathroom circuit is supposed to be GFI and on a 20-amp breaker by code, and two x low = 1200 to 1400 watts x 2 = more than permitted.
3) you may want to consider installing supplemental heat if this has been a steady thing and no other faults show up when you canvass the heating system. in-floor heat elements under the tile would be a lovely thing on a cold morning. and if you have to remodel, and have a few feet of wall where there is no proximity to water, consider adding a wallmount electric heater strip. it will require its own feedline and breaker.This message has been edited. Last edited by: swschrad,
sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
I know that you are thinking that since it used to work and doesn't work now that something has gone wrong. Not the case. Not sure why it didn't trip in the "good 'ol days" but two space heaters (typically 1,500 watts) are more than enough to trip a 20a circuit. Add in a hair dryer (another 1,500 watts) and it's almost certain to trip. Not sure if when they were working the heaters were set to a lower setting or if they were cycling on/off at different times but basically you got lucky for awhile that they did work and didn't cause an overload.
In short, two electric heaters on the same circuit is not going to work.
One fix would be to run in a new circuit to one of the bathrooms. A dedicated 20a line to each bath would give you some reasonable power to work with.
Thanks for the replies. Jaybee - you could be right. They both have new space heaters and I'm just now thinking they both could be much more powerful than the older ones they had. I'll have to look up the model #'s on the internet since I don't have the boxes they came in anymore.
The units should have a nameplate with the information you are seeking.
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