What Is A Circuit? Why Is It Important?
We wanted to provide you some basics on terminology used in the electrical world so that you could better understand what you are having worked on, why, and the necessity of it. A circuit is one continuous wire that runs from your electrical panel to one designated location and is on it’s own breaker in the electrical panel. From that location, there may be other outlets or other lights on with it. The circuit would be the entirity of the continuous looping of wire from panel to location, location, location and so on. This would not be considered “dedicated” in this usage. Some circuits however, just have one dedicated location to go to and do not tie into any other wiring in the home. They come directly from the electrical panel, on their own breaker, and stop in one place. Here are some examples of dedicated circuits: washer, dryer, AC unit, hot water heater, and microwave. Those circuits are what is called “dedicated” because of the specific requirements of said appliances requiring the circuit to be all on its own. Also in cases to meet some of the National Electrical Code requirements.
Multiple Devices on One Circuit, Is It A Problem?
The majority of your home or business have multitudes of circuits that run outlets and lighting. There has to be tedious math done on just how many outlets you can put on one circuit, and what kind of lighting load you can put on one circuit. It depends on what size of circuit you will be using, size of wire running the circuitry, and amperage of things you plan to plug into those locations. For example, in a garage in a track style home, there may only be one plug on the wall. Typically off of this same circuit, you will find the one garage plug is not all on its own, but connected to the garage door opener outlet, and possibly multiple outside outlets as well. It does become confusing for a homeowner, rightfully so, when they think because there is only that one outlet they can surely run their table saw off of it because there should be “enough” power there. What many find is that is definitely not the case due to multiple other things joining in on that circuit with it. This proves a point that a homeowner may need to call the experts here at Service Circuits to install a dedicated circuit just for that one piece of equipment. The electrician can then come out and perform an analysis on room in the panel to expand, what the amperage draw is for the needed equipment, and what size of wire will be required to suit your needs.
What About My Constantly Tripping Living Room Circuit/Breaker?
Many homes have living room circuits that may contain eight or nine outlets on them, plus take the load of the majority of the lighting for the room as well. This poses issues for the homeowner because this is one of the most readily used rooms in the home when it comes to plugging in multiple devices into outlets. Examples such as tv’s, cable boxes, telephone chargers, laptop cords, lamps, dvd players, and more. Take all of that on a typical 15 amp circuit, and it does not hold up well to all of those challenges. Then you get a nuisance tripping breaker and don’t understand why this is happening, especially if your home is brand new. It also presents grand opportunity to start plugging in multiple surge strips around the room presenting further hazard due to not having enough places to plug into. It can all become a headache real quick if you don’t understand what a circuit entails to explain the circumstance to your electrician if necessary. It also gives you the appropriate knowledge to understand what he means when he says “we need to separate the circuit or add a dedicated circuit to solve your issue.”
It is never OK to go out to your electrical panel if you are experiencing the above living room scenario and decide you will just put a higher amperage breaker in your electrical panel to solve the tripping issue. Or avoid the cost of getting an electrician to your home. The cost is minimal compared to the essential damage that can be caused otherwise. Replacing a smaller amperage breaker with a larger one is dangerous and highly not recommended for your safety and that of the home. What can happen by doing this? You may get less tripping on your overloaded breaker, but the wiring that is ran within the walls will start to heat up and can cause melting and severe heat damage. Including ruining whatever you have plugged into the outlets at the time. The proper size of wiring must match the proper size of breaker, period. This is all up to a professional electrician to come out to your home and determine the proper way to fix it. Running a new circuit or separating the circuit may be the most cost efficient and safe method. Each situation is different and needs expert opinions in all cases.
I Think I Need A New Circuit, Now What?
Call Service Circuits today for all of your additional circuit needs. If you are planning to add an over the range microwave, adding an electric hot water heater, or adding an AC unit, we are the extensive professionals to handle your circuit requirements. Not sure what size, type, or what is involved with what you may need for your new circuit? Call us to come out and evaluate the nameplate on your equipment or device so that we can be sure to have a job well done the 1st time, We do stand behind all that we do 100%, 100% of the time. Including a 3 Year Warranty on all labor and materials we install for you.