What Size Electrical Circuit Do I Need?

What Size Circuit Breaker Do You Need?

Welcome! Hi and welcome to today’s edition of your Edmonton electrician! As your quality electrical contractor we like to stay on top of all electrical topics, and to keep you informed with any electrical concerns you may have! If you ever want to know more about a certain topic feel free to reach out to us at info@hauerpower.ca or by calling 780-935-0622. Today’s topic is going to cover what size of breaker or fuse is right for you and your electrical situation. Whether you have a commercial office space or a laboratory, a testing facility or even just residential electrical it is important to pick the right current rating for your electrical circuit. If this is something that you are curious about then stay tuned to your Edmonton electrician as we dive in!

Commercial and residential electrical circuits. The size of your electrical circuit is highly dependent on the application that you are facing. Typical residential electrical circuits have a 14awg copper and 15A minimum size for standard electrical circuits. Here as your Edmonton electrician Hauer Power always prefers to install 12AWG wiring in kitchens under 20A circuits. Depending if you are dealing with a custom home builder they may increase their standard of wire sizing. This is due to the standard loads found in a home usually being less than 15A. Certain appliances and electrical loads are known to draw more like your electric clothes dryer, electric stove, and lots of common kitchen electrical appliances. Since some of these loads are known to be higher drawing electrical loads they are in the canadian electrical code (CEC) to be requiring a larger circuit. A larger circuit essentially means that the wire or cable will be of a larger gauge as well as the circuit breaker size will be able to hold a larger load before tripping. In many of our commercial clients locations we maintain a minimum 12awg and 20A electrical circuit. As an Edmonton electrician facing large heating loads in the winter we can acknowledge the changes as the winter months wear on. This increase in electrical wiring and circuit breaker sizing allows for larger electrical loads like space heaters, tools, equipment, and more lighting loads to be allowed on one circuit. If you have a designated appliance or electrical load that is known to have a larger electrical current draw then it is best to consult or hire a licensed electrical contractor. By hiring a professional electrician you can be confident that your electrical wires and devices are not going to cause an electrical fire.It is important to remember and prepare for an increase in electrical loads when running new circuits, or modifying existing circuitry. Chances are pretty good that if you need to add more electrical circuits now, that in the future you will likely need to add more electrical circuits again. For this reason when a customer asks for additional electrical outlets in their commercial office space we like to recommend to add a 20A electrical breaker along with 12AWG Wiring. This way when winter months come and someone plugs in an electrical space heater the electrical circuit is less likely to trip due to an overloaded circuit. When someone needs a residential edmonton electrician to add a circuit to their home they are often facing a scenario where they are expanding their electrical circuitry to allow for more electrical appliances, such as kitchen appliances, or perhaps heaters or office equipment. In this electrical project as well we always suggest a new upgraded electrical circuit with a larger gauge wire, and a larger electrical circuit breaker to protect the electrical wiring of this larger gauge wire. Never Upgrade an electrical circuit breaker to a larger breaker with a higher ampacity without have the wire upgraded as well as the end devices. This is again Canadian Electrical Code, and is more likely to result in an electrical fire. Always hire a proffessional licenced electrician when starting an electrical project, regardless if it is commercial electrical, or residential electrical. No matter where your electrical project is, without hiring a proffessional electrician you are increasing the risk of electrical fire, or worse.

Canadian Electrical Codes. Here in Alberta every Edmonton electrician must abide by the national codes set in place by the safety codes council, and the canadian standards association, in part with the underwriters laboratories. These rules are known by every Edmonton electrician as the CEC, or the Canadian Electric Code. Regardless of what purpose your electric circuit is serving, there are electrical codes in place to dictate how the wiring and devices should be installed. By hiring a licensed journeyman electrician you are helping to ensure that these electrical codes and practices are met and followed. Electrical contractors must follow all electrical codes in order to comply with an electrical business’ liability insurance. Often a circuit must need a certain value of ampacity, or current to function properly without nuisance tripping. At this point it is up to the licensed electrician to know what size wire, and what size overcurrent device / electrical breaker, and what type of end device to install. If any of the components on a circuit are not sized correctly to match up appropriately then electrical issues will present themselves, either with nuisance tripping, or with an electrical fire. In order to maintain safe work practices and keep your electrical installation up to current electrical codes it is always advisable to hire a licensed electrical contractor.

Nuisance Tripping. You may be asking yourself, what is nuisance tripping? How do I stop my circuit from nuisance tripping? These problems are often solved by hiring a quality and licensed electrical contractor. As your Edmonton electrician nuisance tripping is something we are very familiar with facing, and have solutions for every case of nuisance tripping. Nuisance tripping occurs when a circuit will repeatedly trip due to one or more reasons that something is wrong with that electrical circuit. Often nuisance tripping will occur when there is a faulty electrical circuit breaker. Like everything else in life electrical breakers will fail with time even in good cool dry conditions. When exposed to weather, condensation, moisture and sunlight breakers will degrade and fail even faster then where they are in a cool dry location indoors. Another reason your electrical circuit may be facing nuisance tripping is due to the temperature of the wires, or temperature of the breaker. To further elaborate on how temperature will affect a circuit we will examine a circuit on an anatomical level. If you ever have a question about how your electrical works consult your local Edmonton electrician and find out more. When temperature increases in an electrical circuit the resistance will rise as well. Temperature and Resistance in an electrical circuit are directly proportional and thus as the temperature rises in a circuits wires, breaker or device, so will its resistance. When a circuit has it’s resistance rising, the increased moving of the molecules make it more difficult for electrons to flow. The flow of electrons is referred to as current, which is synonymous with ampacity. When you look at Ohm’s Law which is E=IR, you can see that Voltage (E)  is directly proportional to both current (I) as well as Resistance – R. Therefore as Temperature of an electrical circuit will rise, so will that circuits resistance to the flow of current, or electrons. Since wire is rated for current draw with factors based on temperature as that wire heats up it reaches it’s ampacity limit much faster. The breaker will see the increase in current and is designed to trip at a predetermined ampacity amount. When a circuit is known to face temperatures at ratings higher than room temperature the licensed electrical contractor is required to “derate” or adjust the cable size. Electrical cables must be rated to reflect the ampacity sizing requirement, as well as the ambient temperature that these electrical wires will face under normal working conditions. This covers the 2 most common reasons for nuisance tripping when performing electrical troubleshooting. The third most common reason for nuisance tripping falls on the load itself. Often times someone will have high draw loads plugged into a circuit that is simply not rated for it. This is known as an overloaded circuit. Your Edmonton electrician will tell you that the most common examples of an overloaded electrical circuit are in the lunchroom or kitchen. Whether a residential electrician or a commercial electrician is tasked with troubleshooting a food area with an overloaded circuit, 9 times out of 10 there is a coffee maker on the same circuit as a microwave. Or an electric toaster sharing a circuit with a blender, or a rice cooker with a slow cooker. Any combination of high current drawing electric loads in a kitchen on one 15A circuit will cause that circuit to trip if everything is working correctly. All of these high current drawing loads are known to draw 8-12 Amps depending on their size. Regardless most of these kitchen circuits are built with 15A circuits with 14AWG wire. This means that having one or the other on at once is fine, but having both electrical appliances on at the same time will trip the breaker as long as that breaker is working correctly. To solve the issue of an overloaded circuit that is nuisance tripping there is only one real solution. Add another electrical circuit. You cannot just increase the size of the breaker as this now is electrically hazardous to the wires leading up to the device, as well as the device itself. To properly avoid nuisance tripping and remove the hazard of an overloaded circuit you must add another circuit, or increase all aspects of the current circuit to be rated for such an increase. Some scenarios may allow for a smaller less expensive fix, however this decision is always best left up to a licensed electrical contractor.

Quality Electrical Contractor. As your Edmonton electrician these tasks can be big or small, depending on the distance from the panel source, as well as the accessibility of a pathway to the desired devices location. Electrical projects like these are what your Edmonton electricians are always happy to help you out with. Whether you are adding circuits to your office, home, warehouse or anywhere else you need power, consider Hauer Power Electrical for your next circuit addition. Let us give you the Power! Call us today at 780-935-0622, or email us at info@hauerpower.ca We look forward to giving you power!

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