Electrical Issue, Small 1BR Condo

Feb 2, 2019
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Hello! New to the forum, happy to be here!

I am the owner of a 1BR basement level condo (built in the early '80s) with an electrical issue:

I can't run a space heater (or use a hair dryer) without it turning off after a few minutes and having to reset the unit's circuit breaker.

What kind of electrical work needs to be performed so that my system can handle accommodate these pretty basic tasks?

Likewise, do you have any ballpark guesstimates on cost?

Thanks for any input you might have.
Jul 4, 2018
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No way on costs, not enough info. You phrased it oddly. A circuit breaker is not on the unit, it is in the fusebox. Are you popping the Ground Fault Circuit Interruptor (GFCI) on the cord or wall plug? This is the reset button device that also has a test button?


Jun 3, 2018
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What you are describing is common when dealing in relatively high amperage (with respect to the amperage of the breaker)

Is it the same breaker that trips all the time? If it is than more than likely the circuit is overloaded and when you put the heater or the hair dryer on the circuit it draws to much amperage which causes the circuit breaker to trip.

If your circuit breaker is 15 amps, then on a multi outlet circuit you should not load the circuit with anymore than 12 amp total. Hair dryers, heaters and irons are notorious amperage hogs.

Three possible solutions:

1) reduce the existing load on the circuit by un-plugging unused devices or appliances.

2) Consider upgrading the failing branch circuit from 15 amps to 20 amps. This will probably require approval of the condo association and will require having a licensed electrician do the work. Because you are in a condo you cannot do this work yourself.

3) If you have the room in your panel box, you can run a dedicated20 amp circuit to a bathroom GFCI receptacle. There can be nothing else on this circuit (that's what dedicated circuit means). Again you will probably require condo association approval and as stated in #2 the services of a licensed electrician.

Also if you take #s 2 or 3 the electrician should pull a permit for him to do the work. When the work is completed, the issuer of the permit should send an inspector to review the work and sign off on the work. You will need that document to prove the work was completed to the standards of the electrical code.

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