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When I plug-in a conventional heating pad or a hair dryer into any bedroom duplex, the lights dim; and/or trips the circuit breaker. The home is of new construction-- placed in service 31 Dec 2013. My question is: Can I safely replace the existing 15 AMP Breaker with that of a 20 AMP? . . . the service cable is of 14 Gauge Copper Conductor.

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I'm surprised that in new construction they put the lights and receptacles on the same circuit. I thought it was best practice (but not required) to put them on separate circuits? – Johnny Dec 11 '13 at 0:20
Check around, plug into other receptacles see if you can find an outlet that does not dim the lights, that should be a different circuit than the lights. DO NOT, DO NOT change the breaker!! the items you are running are already taxing the system and tripping breakers. The tripping is part of the design of breakers, they trip before the wire gets too hot. Changing the breaker, in essence, will keep the wiring from telling the breaker there is too much plugged into it. It really does not work that way, but the effect is the same. Wallyk is telling you right. – Jack Dec 11 '13 at 0:28
Lights dimming is a good sign that your wiring will not support a 20A circuit breaker as the wiring isn't sized to handle the current. And with 14GA wire, that's a NO! – Fiasco Labs Dec 11 '13 at 2:24
I'm guessing you mean 31 Dec 2012, or you have a time machine. If you have the time machine, might as well go back and hire a competent electrician (or possibly whoever told the electrician to put in absurd circuits to save a few bucks.) It will be expensive and messy to fix well, since that would involve running new wire and new circuits. if you have a house warranty you might want to see about having it independently inspected in time to file a complaint if this cheapskate attitude actually resulted in code violations (none actually obvious from what you've written, but it leads that way.) – Ecnerwal Dec 11 '13 at 2:34
It was placed into Service December 31 2013? That's in 3 weeks... – user18554 Dec 11 '13 at 3:14


The only safe way to increase the circuit's capacity is by replacing the wire with one of adequate gauge. For 20 amps, 12 AWG copper is adequate for up to about 100 feet.

If you simply replace the breaker, the wire can overheat and ignite the building from inside the walls.

To resolve the dimming issue, check that the outlet is in good condition and that the wires are securely fastened and not showing any signs of overheating: blackening or loss of the copper shininess. Also, check the end of the wire inside the service panel, both neutral and "hot" (black) wire. If those are okay, set the appliances to a lower wattage setting or replace them with lower wattage models.

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My apologies, the actual date was 31 Dec 2013-- long day. – user18550 Dec 11 '13 at 4:12

It's like this... Wireing is sort of like tubes you use to run water. Breakers are like an on off valve that also controls how much water(electricity) can to into the tube(wire). If you force too much water in a tube, it breaks and water gets everywhere. If you force to much electricity in a wire it breaks(melts) and gets fire everywhere. Fire is a lot more of a pain to clean.

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"Wireing is sort of like tubes" ...Ooh, like the internet. – A. I. Breveleri Feb 12 at 18:46

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