ELECTRICAL CREW: v. Home wiring puzzle.

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by Fire Sauce, Sep 16, 2006.

  1. Fire Sauce

    Fire Sauce New Member

    Dec 21, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Hilton Head Island, SC
    I'm hoping this is the right subforum for this:

    I know enough about DC power to be dangerous, but very little about AC power. Besides this is my house, not some junk electronic I can trash when the board sizzles. I appreciate all helpful responses !

    I have a treadmill in a bedroom in my three-year-old house. This bedroom is served by a 15 Amp - Arc Fault breaker (not a ground fault or GFI breaker). Apparently, Arc-Fault breakers are required in bedrooms, but I still can't understand why they are not 20 Amp circuits like lots of other useful rooms in the house. The breaker has a pigtail wire(wht) to panel neutral and also a screw for the load neutral(wht). In this AFI circuit both hot and neutral go through the breaker instead of the neutral wire going directly to the panel neutral block in the box. Some other circuits are plain 15A. Kitchen and bath are 20A. Yes, the wiring sizes are different for the 20A vs. the 15A lines.

    When I start the treadmill, the breaker will trip at least 85 percent of the time - even with no other load on the circuit. However, if I "kick-start" the treadmill's belt so it is rolling at power-on, then the breaker will trip only one time in ten. This kick-start even works with TV and lights on in the room. In experiments with extension cords, the machine starts just fine from the bathroom AC outlet (20A).

    This tells me that this circuit is too small only for the brief second that it takes to get the treadmill belt moving. It only needs more than 15A for that one second.

    HD and Lowes do not have a 20A AFI that fits my box, but an electric supply place probably will. The breaker for my dining room is 20A (plain old non-AFI and non-GFI).

    Should I :
    1. Swap these two breakers, giving my treadmill the plain 20A breaker from the dining room.
    2. Retain the AFI protection by finding a 20A AFI breaker.
    3. Do neither because the house wire gauge for those 15A circuits is simply too small for a 20A.

    If the answer is 3, then I may have to drop a new wire in the wall and either patch to the neighboring bathroom or just run it to the panel with a breaker of it's own. That would suck. Alas, the neighboring bath has no outlet on the shared wall

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