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Old 11-22-2017, 05:38 AM   #1
Nomadicchefs
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Breaker replacement problem

I had a dead outlet and had it repaired. They also wanted to replace the breaker. It was a 15/20. The 15 amp controlled my gfci outlets, the 20 amp was solely for the built in microwave. The guy put in a 20/20 breaker instead because there weren't any 15/20 available. Knowing the wiring wasn't changed to be gauged correctly for a 20 amp breaker, my question is, until I get it fixed back to a 15/20, if I am careful not to overload the outlets more than 15 amps, am I still at risk of those wires heating up and catching fire? I apologize ahead of time if my questions seem dumb, I am paranoid about fire.
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:54 AM   #2
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.

I am assuming "they" is a RV Dealership and "the guy" was the service manager, right ?

.
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Old 11-22-2017, 05:54 AM   #3
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No, it was mobile rv repair. We are hours from the nearest service center.
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Old 11-22-2017, 06:46 AM   #4
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15 amp breaker is wired with 14 guage wire and 20 amp breaker is wired with 12 guage wire. You need a 15/20 breaker to be correct. The only reason he put a 20/20 is that is all he had! Just don't overload until you get it replaced.
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Old 11-22-2017, 07:02 AM   #5
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^^^^ What he said. The 14 ga wire on the 15 amp side is currently (pun intended) not protected. A 20 amp breaker on that circuit will allow 20 amps through a wire that is only rated for 15 amps. That could lead to overheating and a fire or it could lead to damaged wire from the overheating which may cause it to not be able to carry the total of 15 amps in the future.

I'd limit use of that circuit until you can locate the proper 15/20 amp breaker.

Are you in danger? Only if you overload that circuit, otherwise, the wire doesn't know that an over-rated circuit breaker is installed. But, if you overload the circuit, you can do some "critical damage" including burning down your trailer.

Change it out at your first opportunity. This is not a 'little thing" if you overload the circuit, even accidentally......
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Old 11-22-2017, 07:04 AM   #6
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Without further information I am not sure who is correct, ie, if that tech verified that the circuit previously protected by that 15 Amp breaker was actually wired with #12 gauge wire the the devices on that circuit are rated for 20 Amps then he was correct about increasing that breaker to 20 Amps. On the other hand if that circuit was wired with #14 wire and/or contains devices rated at 15 Amps, it is not correct to protect that circuit with a 20 AMP breaker.

I am not aware of any difference in breakers for and RV versus those used in a stick house. If you are hours away and you conclude that 20/20 breaker is incorrect, I would unplug that breaker and take it to the store for a correct replacement .

Keep in mind that breaker is sized to protect circuit wiring and devices on that circuit. you watching not over load it is only one part, you also have to consider a device failure.

Update: I guess we have a few of us typing at the same time
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Old 11-22-2017, 07:05 AM   #7
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Thanks, I don't have anything new that I'm using in those outlets. I just needed to be sure it was ok to use, with limited amps, until I get it replaced. The only electrical knowledge I have is from these forums and Google. Thanks for the input.
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Old 11-22-2017, 08:18 AM   #8
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As PARAPTOR said, if you have an "equipment failure" you aren't protected. While it doesn't happen often, if your hand mixer or coffee pot (as an example) shorts out, the wiring could overheat before you can turn it off and unplug it. During that event, the "oversized circuit breaker" wouldn't protect the "undersized wiring"....
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Old 11-22-2017, 08:28 AM   #9
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Ok, I will only use them when I am in there to watch it. Like the coffee pot for instance. I appreciate the feedback. Plus, when I leave for the holiday, I will most likely just flip those breakers off altogether. Better safe, than have a fire for sure.
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Old 11-22-2017, 09:50 AM   #10
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If you have pretty easy access to the breaker panel...AND you feel comfortable doing it, you could always look (not touch) at the two wires that are coming off of the breakers. The 12ga wire will be slightly larger than the 14ga wire, if in fact the 15 amp breaker is feeding 14ga wire. If it is the same size as the 12ga wire (you need to be 100% sure of this), then you are golden and both circuits can continue to use the 20/20 combo. Only do this ^^^ if you are comfortable looking at them AND make sure all power has been removed/turned off coming into the trailer.
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