Electrical – do “spread” load on breaker for single bedroom

circuit breakerelectrical

Thanks for the help ahead of time. I'm not a certified electrician, but have VERY extensive experience working construction and repair. I do know quite a bit about electrical, but I'm not sure if I'm pushing my house breaker and fuses by doing what I'm going to do.

I work from home and need quite a bit of equipment installed in my office. I have an 850w computer and 5 servers in a cabinet that I want to install. I also have a window A/C unit. This is all running on 110v wall sockets. I have the A/C unit on its own socket. I have the high powered computer running on its own socket, and I have one free wall socket left. There are two 8-port surge protectors in the server cabinet. I plan on using those both on the 3rd available wall socket.

Is this safe? Right now the computer and A/C aren't making the breaker hot. The do cause a minor light flicker when they turn on. Nothing too serious, but I don't want to set my house on fire. I also don't want to pay $1000.00 to run a dedicated breaker box to my office. Is there anything I can do at the panel to make this safer? Perhaps change the breaker and fuses to something that can handle more juice?

Best Answer

First of all, if you are only getting 110V at your electrical outlets (i.e. "wall sockets"), then there is likely something wrong with your electric system. Most AC in the US is 120V or higher (+/- 5V).

Secondly, your outlets may ALL be connect to the same electrical circuit. You should switch off your breaker/s & test each outlet for power to determine which circuit each outlet is connected to. Then you must determine the breaker Amp rating for each circuit that is used by your equipment. Then you must compute the wattage that is available for each circuit (e.g. 120V*15A=1800W). Next you must ensure your peak wattage from ALL of the devices that you plan to connect to each circuit will not exceed the available watts for each circuit.

Re: "Is it safe"? If everything is functioning properly (no breakers are tripping) during the hottest period of the year, then everything will probably be ok.

re: "Is there anything I can do at the panel to make this safer? Perhaps change the breaker and fuses to something that can handle more juice?"

I recommend you DO NOT change the breaker or fuses because your wiring may not be able to handle the increase in current (which causes heat & insulation breakdown--which leads to short-circuit conditions & fire).

The best thing that you can do is balance your loads on multiple circuits (if you have them) & do NOT exceed your power limits for each circuit or your breaker/s will trip increasingly often, fail, & then need to be replaced.

If you don't have enough power, you will either need to replace some of your devices with lower power devices or get new power brought into the area where you need it.

hth, best regards!