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Too high of a breaker?

I have this issue with one of my outlets in a room that might not be grounded (no crawl space and concrete underneath so believe it was a garage that was converted into an extra room and the guy flipping the house was rather shady-bought the house back when it was a seller's market). Anyway, the issue is that when I plugged the Christmas tree lights into the outlet, they were very bright and then after a day or two they were burnt out. My question is, is this just a matter of the contractor taking a three-prong appliance outlet probably used for a window a/c unit and just putting a normal outlet on it? Can I just switch the breaker and fix the problem?

I'm a beginner to home improvement, but have done minor things like switch a breaker. I don't really know what things I need to tell someone to get an answer, so please ask and I'll give all the information I can!


Re: Too high of a breaker?

No, the size of a breaker does not change the amount of current an appliance draws. A 100 watt lamp draws less than 1 amp on a 15 amp circuit or a 50 amp circuit. You might want to check the voltage, it may have been a 240 volt circuit that has a standard receptacle installed. Higher than rated voltage will burn out lower voltage appliances.


Re: Too high of a breaker?

Yep -- I agree with Jack.
It could also be part of a Multi Wire Branch Circuit ( MWBC ) which shares the neutral with another circuit. If that shared neutral becomes open somewhere this creates problems like this.

Re: Too high of a breaker?

J if you have a 240V dedicated outlet you would like to remove and install a 120V receptacle in it's place it's a simple matter of landing the white wire on the neutral screw (on the breaker)and replacing the the two pole breaker with a single pole combination AFCI breaker, correctly sized for the wire, either 15A for #14 or 20A for #12. The coiled white wire on the AFCI breaker goes to the neutral bus. The ground (bare or green) stays on the ground bus.

As mentioned above, todays electrical code requires that most 15A and 20A single pole breakers be an Arc Fault Current Interupters (AFCI).

Also, the receptacle should be the tamper resistant type (TR) which has tiny shutters to prevent children from putting metal objects in them and receiving a shock or burn.

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