Sunday, January 24, 2016

Don't Over Do It...

Amp = Amount

The electrical wires in your home are rated for a specific amount of amps. Amp's refer to the AMOUNT of electricity that the wire can handle. For reference, power lines carry about 10,000 amps. Transformers (those big white cans on power poles or green boxes in your yard) step-down the amps to to around 200 amps when supplying your home with power. Each circuit breaker is rated for a specific amp to protect the wires on that circuit. Your heat pump, dryer, and electric range require more power (higher amps) and will have larger wires which are rated to receive more power. Lights, and receptacles have smaller wires and thus use breakers rated for less amps. 

Circuit Breakers

Similar to the transformer at the street, your breakers step down the power from your service line to each circuit in your home. If the service is 200 amps, but the breaker only allows 20 amps, then the wires and receptacles on that circuit can hold a maximum of 20 amps at any given time.

For reference, a 100 watt light bulb uses about 1 amp. Some vacuum cleaners use 15 amps and a clothes iron uses around 8 amps. So, if you were to try and iron your clothes and vacuum at the same time in your bedroom - the circuit breaker in the panel will trip for protection.

The picture shows a 60 amp breaker serving a 10 awg conductor - which is rated for only 30 amps. This may be the work of an unlicensed person.


There are many different sized wires and breakers. The two should always complement one another. If a wire is rated for 30 amps, and a has a 50 amp breaker - then the breaker will allow that AMOUNT of electricity (amps) to the wire and the wire will burn, melt, or cause a fire.

Most importantly -  if you are considering ironing and vacuuming at the same time - you should consider hiring an assistant or taking a vacation.


Thomas Ailstock, CPI - FL# HI9155
Blue Bear Home Inspection, LLC

Providing the Best Service Possible