Why Do My Appliances Trip Circuit Breakers?

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In both of my bathrooms I have tripped the plug where I can't use my hairdryer anymore. I can't get it to reset either. This happened twice and the third time (in each bathroom plug) it wouldn't let me reset them anymore. What should I do?

Armil @ Long Beach Commercial Electric


You must contact your licensed electrician regarding this matter. Handling electricity without proper training might lead you to electrocution



A couple of thoughts...As with any electrical device, determining the current draw is imperative here. All appliances have a power ratings label attached to them. I have a toaster that is labeled as 800 watts (800w/120v=6.67amps), a microwave rated at 1.65kw (1,650w/120=13.75amps), and a refer that lists amperage as 5.6amps. Look at your labels to determine if a dedicated circuit is required for that device. As a general safety rule, NEVER use an extension cord for permanent or continuous duty appliances! They are intended for temporary use only. Continuous duty is 3 hours or more. Another thought, separate circuits ON THE SAME PHASE that share a nuetral wire can create an overloaded neutral situation. Have a licensed electrician check for this possibility. Also check the wire size when trying to determine capacity. 20amp circuits need to be wired in 12 gauge wire and 15amp circuits are wired in 14 gauge wire.



vaaughn - do NOT replace a breaker with a higher rated breaker unless you know all wires, boxes and outlets are rated for the higher amount. Given the shortcut the electrician took, I doubt he would have gone over standard. Have an electrician run a separate circuit; if you know where the tie-in is, it may not be too expensive to do.

vaaughn w guy


I built a room addition and had a electrican wire my room. he said that he was going to hook it into the box. this he did not do,he hooked it into the closest plug which is 15amps 10 sockets in all. when i turn on the heater and tv is trips the breaker,can i change that breaker to 20 amps????



2005 National Electrical Code
“(4) Separate Circuit Required. A separate circuit is required for each refrigerator, deep
freeze, dishwasher, disposal, trash compactor or any other load exceeding six (6)
4. Section 210.52 (C) Countertops shall be amended to include after the words ‘…with
210.52 (C) (1) through (5). the following sentence:
“However, a separate circuit is required for microwave ovens or any other counter top
appliance with a load exceeding six (6) amperes.”

M. Thompson


The cheapest and easiest solution for anyone to do would be to turn off the problem breaker. Then find a kitchen socket that still works and find a way to plug one of the two appliances in there. Either move the item closer or a less desirable choice would be a heavy duty 12 gauge 3 wire extension cord. Even if the problem breaker is weak, you just removed half it's load and it is not likely to trip again A microwave and toaster are usually too much to put on one circuit even with a new breaker. This solution has the advantage of being able to be done right now and does not prolong the unsafe overloaded circuit problem. An electrician could help later with a better solution if needed.

Fred Schlosser


I believe Mr. Chinevere is wrong about the National Electrical Code. It does NOT specifically require a 20A dedicated circuit for a microwave oven.

John Sprung


There's one other thing it could be, kinda rare, but worth checking for because it's so cheap to fix, and should be fixed. When breakers go bad, they're designed to fail on the safe side, and trip at less than their rated load. So, open the panel, put a clamp-around ammeter on the wire for the breaker in question, and add load to the circuit up to it's rated limit. If it trips early, just replace the breaker.

The cost of pulling in new circuits depends a lot on whether you have the common romex wiring or conduit. With conduit, it's a bunch easier and cheaper.

-- J.S.

Kestel Electric


Thanks M. Thompson for researching the code.

Hal Chinevere, owner of highly rated Irwin Electric in Lincoln, Calif. Most of the kitchens I work on are exterior wall, under eaves, on a slab. That being said, $300 would be low.



My landlord refuses to upgrade.how can I minimize tripping my breaker, I only have two grounded outlets.

AnnMaire Shields


need a reliable mechanic in 97202 area for a 1990 chevy lumina 1990



My refrigerator cut out when I was on vacation. Is that electricity or the refrigerator

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I second the original question (still unanswered). Speaking as someone who logged in today to try to find an attorney, I see this category as one that's exactly what I have my Angie's List membership for:

1. It's important that I find a good one
2. I'm not an expert enough to know myself who is a good one
3. The industry is full of advertisements and misinformation
4. I wish I knew what experiences other people have had

I don't care about lawns--I planted mine in clover and don't have to mow it. When I do need to mow I use a rotary Fiskars mower, which is great--or a scythe. That's right--a scythe (the European type, which is smaller, and it's very good exercise). Gas-powered mowers, chemical fertilizers and weed killers--all nasty stuff that gets into everyone's air, soil, and water. I'm sure my neighbor doesn't like my wildflowers, semi-wild pockets of fruit bushes, and unmown areas and yes, dandelions (I have 10 acres) but that's too bad. It's better habitat for wildlife, especially the pollinators on which our food supply depends. I think this obsession with the Great American Lawn is a waste of time and resources. Plant some food instead.

I'm not sure Angie et. al. want you to have a complete answer to this question. By re-subscribing at the Indiana State Fair in 2012, I think I paid $20.00 per year for a multi- year subscription. Maybe even less. At the other extreme--and I hope my memory isn't faulty about this--I think the price, for my area, for ONE year was an outrageous $70.00. And they debited me automatically without warning. I had to opt out of that automatic charge. I like Angie's List, but if some of the companies they monitor behaved the way they do in this respect, they'd be on some sort of Pages of Unhappiness. I'll be interested to see if this comment gets published or censored out of existence.

That's very difficult to answer without seeing the house. As one poster said, the prep is the most important part. On newer homes that don't have a lot of peeling paint, the prep can be very minimal even as low as a couple or a few hundred dollars for the prep labor.

On a 100 year old home with 12 coats of peeling paint on it, then the prep costs can be very high and can easily exceed 50% of the job's labor cost.

A 2100 sq ft two story home could easily cost $1000 just for the labor to prep for the paint job. That number could climb too. Throw in lots of caullking  or window glazing, and you could be talking a couple or a few hundred dollars more for labor.

Painting that home with one coat of paint and a different color on the trim could run roughly $1000 or more just for labor. Add a second coat  and that could cost close to another $1000 for labor.

For paint, you may need 20 gallons of paint. You can pay from $30-$70 for a gallon of good quality exterior paint. The manufacturer of the paint should be specified in any painting contract. Otherwise, the contractor could bid at a Sherwin-Williams $60 per gallon paint and then paint the house with $35 Valspar and pocket the difference. $25 dollars per gallon times 20 gallons? That's a pretty penny too.

That was the long answer to your question. The short answer is $2000 to $4000 and up, depending upon the amount of prep, the number of coats, the amount of trim, and the paint used.