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Old 01-20-2009, 12:55 AM   #1
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Default Bathroom Ciruit, Curling Iron, Hair Dryer, Lights = Trip breaker....

I dont know why I cant seem to figure this out.
Normal bathroom, 15A GFCI plug, 4 x 40 watt light bar, fan.

4 x 40watt = 160 watts
1800watt hair dryer
1200watt curling iron/flat iron
Total
3160 watts, 26 amps....

15 amp breaker.... why doesn't this trip every time in pretty much every womans bathroom every day?

Never really thought about it, but today a buddy said his wife trips theirs every day. Her 2 items in my bathroom work fine though, and I have 8 x 50 watt bulbs for the lighting.

What am I missing? why does the math not work?

PS, I do almost 100% commercial, never actually wired a bathroom.

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Old 01-20-2009, 01:29 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff000 View Post
I dont know why I cant seem to figure this out.
Normal bathroom, 15A GFCI plug, 4 x 40 watt light bar, fan.

4 x 40watt = 160 watts
1800watt hair dryer
1200watt curling iron/flat iron
Total
3160 watts, 26 amps....

15 amp breaker.... why doesn't this trip every time in pretty much every womans bathroom every day?

Never really thought about it, but today a buddy said his wife trips theirs every day. Her 2 items in my bathroom work fine though, and I have 8 x 50 watt bulbs for the lighting.

What am I missing? why does the math not work?

PS, I do almost 100% commercial, never actually wired a bathroom.
Probably because the lights are on a lighting circuit separate from the receptacle circuit. And a 15 A breaker can sustain quite a bit over it's rating for awhile, especially if it is in a cool environment. And it's likely that the ladies blow dry first, then switch on the curling iron.

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Old 01-20-2009, 07:39 AM   #3
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A 15amp breaker will not magically trip at 15.00000001 amps. Nor will it trip at 15.001 amps, or 15.1 amps. At least not right away. The more amps over 15 that the circuit draws, the quicker it will trip. But a 15a breaker could easily have 20 amps run through it for 5 or 10 minutes without shutting off.

Chances are, both the iron and dryer are not on at the same time, so the amp draw is less. If they are on at the same time, they're not on long enough to reach the point in the trip curve of the breaker.
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Old 01-20-2009, 08:10 AM   #4
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So why is his wife tripping the breaker all the time?
I can plug them both in (and on) for how ever long and not trip. But hers trips almost instantly when the blow dryer is turned on. She turns the curling iron on as she drys her hair so its hot when she is done.
Lights go off at both places when bathroom breaker is switched off.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:02 AM   #5
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maybe you have fpe?
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:14 AM   #6
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Had that call before. The intake/venting on the hairdryer was packed with dust/lint, enough to work the dryer so hard, it'd cut the breaker loose. Took out the mesh screen, and took a brush to it, and was never called back for the breaker tripping again. Kind of sucked, 'cause she was CUTE!!
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:23 AM   #7
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the nameplate ratings are maximum, CYA ratings which are also used as selling points. I doubt very much these appliances ever operate in the real world to hit those maximums. Both of them "cycle" and that cycling gives the breaker time to cool down.

That said, the bathroom receptacle is supposed to be on its own 20 amp circuit. I always use the customer's call as a reason to sell a new circuit for the bathroom(s). Women do not like the circuit kicking off on them when they are trying to use all that stuff. They figure it is money well spent for a circuit that stays on and a couple of additional receptacles for all the stuff they want to plug in.
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Old 01-20-2009, 09:56 AM   #8
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That said, the bathroom receptacle is supposed to be on its own 20 amp circuit.
Not for our French fried cousins up north
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Old 01-20-2009, 10:49 AM   #9
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So why is his wife tripping the breaker all the time?
I can plug them both in (and on) for how ever long and not trip. But hers trips almost instantly when the blow dryer is turned on. She turns the curling iron on as she drys her hair so its hot when she is done.
Lights go off at both places when bathroom breaker is switched off.
Does your house have a 15 amp breaker also? I would be more concerned why use is not tripping with that load. As said before it could take 10 minutes or more before the breaker will trip with an overload as such. If you are running both units in your bath for long periods of time and your breaker is not tripping then I would check the breaker in your panel. I would also look for a possible loose connection in the other house that may be causing the breaker to heat up.
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Old 01-20-2009, 11:56 AM   #10
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It looks good on paper but why don't you put a meter on it.......maybe the curling iron and hair dryer are not being used on their highest setting...
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Old 01-20-2009, 01:03 PM   #11
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A curling iron and hair dryer cycle much like a car ole pane and car battery blanket or car heater ( I love Canadian life! ) they all draw a good load of current but we are lucky that they all cycle at the right time to not trip the breaker so a newer kind of curling iron and blow dryer act the same way the girls just get lucky if they cycle at the right times and if the blow dryer trips the breaker right away I would take it apart clean it good replace all parts I can try it and maybe replace the breaker too as more a breaker trips the weaker they get.

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