15 amp to 20 amp

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by ryan87500, Sep 8, 2008.

  1. ryan87500

    ryan87500 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    New York
    I am about to purchase a house with a 15 amp breaker in the bathroom and would like to change it to a 20 amp breaker. I know I have to rerun the 14 gauge wire to 12 gauge wire, but is there any requirements for neutral wires?

    I do not know the size of the neutral wire that is currently being used.

    Ryan
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  2. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,540
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Is this a cable instllation?

    The white is the same size as the black in a cable.
  3. Cass

    Cass Plumber

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    Location:
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    Just my opinion...if you don't know the answer to your question you may want to have an electrician do the work...
  4. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    Location:
    San Diego
    This is more complicated than you think. Assuming that breaker serves several receptacals and/or switchs, you would have to track down ALL the runs and branches on that circuit to ensure that NO 14 gauge wire remained.


    You did not tell us what you want to accomplish, but it sounds like it might be simpler to just install an all new 20 amp circuit into the area where you need it.
  5. ryan87500

    ryan87500 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    New York
    I realize that I would have to track it down to all switches / receptacles and pull new wire to each one.

    What I want to accomplish is not getting yelled at by my wife when she trys to run her 1875 watt hair dryer and her hair straightener and keeps on tripping the breaker.

    The wire is run through conduit in the house and from what I can tell is they have a separate breaker that controls the 3 batrooms in the house.
  6. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    with a 1875 watt dryer and the other item plus the lights a 20A circuit may not work
  7. ryan87500

    ryan87500 New Member

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    20
    Location:
    New York

    The current run only connects the outlets in the bathroom so with a 20a I believe I should be fine.
  8. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Messages:
    5,980
    Location:
    Ohio
    how many watts is the hair straightener?
  9. ryan87500

    ryan87500 New Member

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    20
    Location:
    New York
    It is 170w
  10. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,540
    Location:
    North Carolina
    It may be easier to just buy a smaller hair dryer
  11. ryan87500

    ryan87500 New Member

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    20
    Location:
    New York
    Is 15AMP standard for a house that is about 25 years old?
  12. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
    2,540
    Location:
    North Carolina

    Yes
    Many homes only have a 15 amp circuit supplying the bath receptacle.
    Sometimes it is better to fit our lifestyles around what we have instead of fitting everything around us to our lifestyles.

    Edited to add:

    Portable electric heaters are sometimes too big for the circuit that supplies them.
    The question becomes, do I install a larger circuit for the heater, find a different circuit to plug into or just put on a few more cloths?

    This can also be said about the big blow dryers. Do I rewire the house to satisfy the hair dryer or do I find somewhere else to plug it in?
    The simple solution is to get a smaller dryer.
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2008
  13. ryan87500

    ryan87500 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    New York
    I agree that is the best option.

    Just for curiosity sake does the neutral wire gauge have to match the hot wire gauge.

    Thanks
  14. jwelectric

    jwelectric Electrical Contractor/Instructor

    Messages:
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    Location:
    North Carolina
    YES unless it is a deversified load such as a range service dryer ect,,,

    All 120 volt circuits will need a neutral neutral the same size as the hot conductor.
  15. Alectrician

    Alectrician DIY Senior Member

    Messages:
    689
    Conduit in your house? Sweet:D

    Pull in a couple of #12's and install a GFCI outlet. Leave the other wiring intact/fed thru/capped off.
  16. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    This would be my exact advice as well.
  17. jbfan74

    jbfan74 Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    131
    Location:
    Newnan, GA
    You both agreed!!
    WOW!:D
  18. Speedy Petey

    Speedy Petey Licensed Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    996
    Location:
    NY State, USA
    I know. I was trembling as I was typing that. :eek:
  19. ryan87500

    ryan87500 New Member

    Messages:
    20
    Location:
    New York
    Wouldn't that method depend on if I have enough room in the conduit to run 2 more wires?

    Here is a picture of the open junction box, the blue wire is the 14 gauge wire to the bathroom.

    [​IMG]

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