I have recently changed my attic to be my bedroom, the attic wasn't designed to be lived in so there are only 2 outlets. I have a 500 watt PC, portable AC, aquarium heater and heating bulb and much more distributed across the 2 outlets and I think that is what causes the breaker to trip. Will adding extra outlets to distribute the load fix this issue and if not is there anything I can do to fix this?

  • Is the breaker that is serving the attic receptacles a 15 A or a 20 A breaker? Are there receptacles in other rooms (besides the attic) that this breaker serves? If so and if there are significant loads at those other receptacles, then try to plug those into receptacles on other circuits. This might stop the tripping of the breaker and loss of power in the attic. Clearly loss of power in the attic could kill the inhabitants of the aquarium and is not acceptable. Jul 14, 2018 at 4:09
  • I would add a AWG 12 via furnace ducts and upgrade breaker. Load is excessive with AC. Jul 15, 2018 at 3:16

2 Answers 2


More outlets won't help with breaker tripping if they are still on the same circuit. You need to split some loads out onto their own circuits. These would have their own breakers. I would start with the portable AC.

  • I agree a new branch circuit is the only way to reduce tripping, adding more outlets would have no affect, adding a new circuit and putting the AC on that would also reduce possible damage to the computer from the AC.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 14, 2018 at 10:31
  • The portable AC may have the label: "For use on a single outlet circuit only" which if it does means that it must have a circuit for it alone with only one single receptacle, not a duplex receptacle.
    – Dan D.
    Jul 14, 2018 at 20:24
  • The O.P. would have stated that I would agree but there are lots of AC units that only pull 1/2 and less so "may" have a single outlet requirement is a total guess with all the other loads the aquarium heat lamp especially it is not that that large of a unit. I did up vote your answer but reread my comment it also states that putting on a separate circuit from the PC may reduce problems for the PC.
    – Ed Beal
    Jul 15, 2018 at 17:18

The simplest solution would be to find out if the circuit that is tripping has other receptacles in another part of the house with loads that could be removed or transferred to another circuit. Modern room a/c units may draw as little as 4 A continuous (but more on starting) so the tripping may be resolvable by shifting loads in other rooms. There may be receptacles in 2 or 3 other rooms on the same circuit as the receptacles in the attic.

Next in complexity would be to rewire by tying into an existing circuit on a different breaker than the one now in the attic which is currently under utilized by the load on it. This would power an additional receptacle or two.

However, if there are open slots in your electric panel you could add an entirely new circuit and take it up to the attic. This has the advantage that you could bring a nice 20 A circuit up to the attic to take the load.

  • It looks like I have room for one more breaker in my breaker box, I think I will look into installing a new circuit dedicated to the attic, thanks for the help.
    – Pagaley 12
    Jul 14, 2018 at 19:40
  • Use #12 copper NM and a 20 A breaker. If you have a wide slot, you could put in a combined std over-current AFCI breaker. But depending on your make and model of panel this open slot might only accomodate a std breaker. If so, put in a standard breaker and use an AFCI receptacle as the first receptacle in the attic with the cable to the next receptacle connected to the load contacts. Jul 14, 2018 at 19:49
  • Find out what protection is appropriate for the aquarium pump or heater. GFCI and maybe AFCI receptacles or breakers are susceptible to tripping when there is not a real safety issue so those are not to be used on critical circuits, e.g., no GFCI on a refrigerator. Jul 14, 2018 at 19:55

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