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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so I have this small game room setup for my PC and NAS:


Problem is...I found out the hard way that the room is only supplied with just enough power to power all of my equipment...and not much else. I found this out after plugging in a small ceramic heater for about an hour. The circuit breaker blew and took out the room and half of my bedroom. The circuit breaker is rated for 15 amps.


The problem with this is...I want to be able to put in a small cube fridge next to my PC...and I will also be setting up another flat panel LCD in my Bedroom that would be off of the same circuit. Not planning on using the heater again in this room.


I'm no electrician (though I did take a stab at some electrical engineering courses in college, before I decided on a major, went software instead) so I'm hoping there are some people here who could offer some advice. Would it be possible for me to increase the load capacity of the circuit by simply having my apartment complex's maintenance guys install a higher rated circuit breaker on that circuit? Or is there a risk that doing so would compromise the safety of the electrical system. The apartment complex is about 25 years old but is maintained quite well. I would say they maintain it better than average for apartments for rent.
 

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Most likely they will not do it for you,
when you increase the size of the circuit (from 15 to 20 in your case) you need to increase the size of the wires. In your case you probably have 14 awg through your system now which is only good for 15A, if you wanted to increase the breaker you will need a minimum of 12awg wire in your walls already. IF they had wired the house with 12awg from the beginning and just installed a 15 A breaker then you have no problem. That scenario is just a dream though, do not expect to find 12awg in the walls.


You do have some hope, although not ideal. Ceramic heaters (or just about any kind of plug and play heaters) are just plain nightmares for electrical systems. Look on the back of your heater or on the box for a wattage rating (probably around 1200-1500Watts) a 120V 15A circuit maximum wattage is 1,800. Rule of thumb is not to go over 80% of that 1,440. Which is why you will probably never see a portable heater with a standard plug on the end that is rated over 1500Watts. Check out what the wattage is on your fridge you are getting and the TV, see what they add up to. possible the 2 of them added up is still less then the heater, which might mean no problem with overloading the circuit and tripping the breaker. Best case scenario instead of asking if they can change the breaker out find out if they would install a new circuit for you, if you were able to split the loads up to 2 different circuits then you wont have a issue. If they are really nice they may do that for you, again I wouldnt count on this, at least not for free.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yeah I already knew that heaters are a hell of a load...figured mine wasn't much (for a heater) though as it's not much bigger than a 2 liter bottle. I will check it's ratings today at lunch though...along with the ratings on my mini-fridge. Hopefully they both have them...heater probably does...but the fridge is old...like 7 or 8 years old...and there's no way I have documentation on it if it's not on the fridge itself.


Here's a rundown of what I can remember I have in the room:

-The biggest draw in the room right now has to be my gaming rig...and it draws about 230W (I have a fan controller that also display total power used by the PSU).

-My NAS is a small dual core Atom based ITX system. The powersupply is rated for 180W but I highly doubt it pulls more than 100W.

-Logitech 5.1 Speaker System - Total RMS power: 70 watts RMS, Satellites: 45 watts RMS (2 x 7.4W front, 15.4W centre, 2 x 7.4W rear), Subwoofer: 25 watts RMS, Total peak power: 140 watts

-a 100W incandescent bulb (would use CFL but they don't fit in the base) in a lamp

-an HP all-in-one printer (in power saving mode the vast majority of the time) - no listing for power usage.

-Linksys Gigabit Switch 18W

-D-Link Wireless N Bridge - No listing for power usage.

-2 D-Link 7 port USB hubs - No listing for power usage.

In Bedroom:

-2 Dual-Alarm Alarm Clocks (no idea on power)


If the math doesn't work out I can at least check with them about whether or not they can upgrade the circuit breaker (depending on the wiring). My sense is that if possible, they would do it. No idea if they would be willing to install another circuit to separate the rooms.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
yeah I think I'll be ok with the fridge and LCD...


Heater is a 1500W unit.


Fridge is 50-80W


LCD HDTV is 75W (Samsung)


Also forgot my 3 LCD's in my gaming room:

23" is 44W (Samsung)

22" is 51W (Viewsonic)

20" is 48W (Viewsonic)


(was already going with Samsung for all future monitors, this just backs that up)


So totaled up with those I would come out to somewhere above 966W...


So I should be just fine with those two items so long as I never use that heater in here again. Guess I wasn't as lean as I thought...definitely good news.


Thanks for the info...had I actually done my homework I would have figured it out on my own...but well...it was quite late when I posted this...didn't think of it at the time. Thanks again!
 
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