My Sauna draws 17 amps and blows the breaker after about 10 minutes,would I be ok to install a 20 amp breaker on this circuit.I realize that it is only 14 gauge wire but the sauna is only on for 45 minutes at a time and only 2 amps over.The sauna was plugged into a basement plug(closer to panel)and had no issuses.Should also note the bedroom plug that the sauna is now plugged into is an arc fault breaker

  • ...who put the wrong plug on the sauna? Where are you on this planet even? Also, what does the nameplate on the sauna say? – ThreePhaseEel Nov 26 '17 at 17:54
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    An appliance (in the USA) with a "regular plug" would be for use on a 115VAC receptacle, which may be protected by either 15- or 20-A breakers, according to the gauge of wire used in the branch circuit being protected. A device that NORMALLY uses more than 12 amps should have a "regular" plug that requires a 20-A receptacle (i.e., NEMA 1-20). So, it's not clear how "regular" (or legal) your sauna's plug is, if it is NEMA 1-15. The appliance's own instructions or nameplate may specifically prohibit use on anything other than a branch with 20-A protection. – Upnorth Nov 26 '17 at 20:13
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    Consult the factory, or the documentation for the sauna, and see if there's a way to configure it to draw less than 12A continuous or 15A total. There must be! Up-breakering is out of the question. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Nov 26 '17 at 20:57

Do not upsize the breaker without increasing the wire size, 20 minutes at this overloaded value is about right for most inverse time breakers. I would put the sauna on a dedicated GFCI circuit since water is usually dumped on the rocks / heating element. Is the name plate value is 17a or is this the measured circuit draw? Since the circuit may have lighting included that could be what is pushing you over the limit, with a 16a draw the sauna could be safely powered with a dedicated 20 a breaker and 12 awg wire.


No you can’t change the breaker.

The circuit breaker is protecting the wiring between the breaker and the plug from becoming hot due to over-current draw. It does not directly protecting the appliance (sauna).

The wiring protection is needed 24/7 regardless of whether the sauna is on or off. Perhaps the sauna, while off, becomes shorted, perhaps there is a short elsewhere on the circuit--without the breaker being properly sized for the wire it is protecting-- the wiring will overheat, catch fire, and burn your house down.

Again, the circuit breaker is NOT there to protect the sauna, it protects the house wiring, energized 24 hours a day, from catching fire.


A 17-Amp load should not be installed on a circuit protected by a 15-Amp breaker. And it surely should not be installed on a circuit of 14-gauge wire.
A 17-Amp load should not be installed on a circuit protected by a 20-Amp breaker. And it should not be installed on a circuit of 12-gauge wire. The minimum size should be #10 and should be protected by a 30-Amp breaker. The Arc Fault business in this situation is irrelevant. A significant margin of safety should be built into all electrical circuitry. This type of circuit should have at least its 125%. Overloaded circuits get hot and hot starts fires.

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