A breaker in the panel keeps tripping. It appears that an older home is wired off one circuit with the other outlets being daisy chained on it. If rewiring the house is not an option at this time, what else can be done to separate the circuits and what is the estimated cost? The house also has a finished basement.
Hi Sue, very simple answer. Nothing can be done to separate circuits. As you stated there is only one. The only thing you can do is stop using things simultaneously. A word of warning - you can't keep tripping the breaker and expect it to last. They are not designed to be switches, they are safety devices to protect you and your family.
Good luck with it!
Generally, this happens when DIY people start adding extra items to circuits without taking the time to see what else is loading the circuit. By code and practice, we always load 8-12 (max) receptacles or lights per circuit. But with that in mind, if the receptacle is being used for heavy items (fridge, micro, garage door opener, furnace, etc), we cannot simply share it without troubles. Lighting is also calculated at about 200 watts per light as many fixtures are under 200 watts so we are safe assuming a load. If DIY or lazy electricians simply add on a few more items, then a few years later another reno and a few more added on, this will easily overload the line and the breaker is working past its safe area and trips preventing a fire. Do not EVER install a larger breaker as we used to do with screw in fuses, which is why those panels are no longer used. A trained and trusted electrician could separate the circuit and re-feed the new items, but it depends on how large a concern it is as it could take half a day and some repairs to get it fixed up. A bit long winded, but electrical is not simply black to black, white to white, there is a reason we must do a 10000 hour apprenticeship with 5 years hands on experience... residential, commercial and industrial buildings.
Rob has put out a lot of useful information there; and he is right (as usual). It is possible as he suggests that the circuit can be split up or a new circuit can be added without the need to rewire the entire house.
If the basement is finished, there may be options to get at the area through the attic or even from the exterior. While either of those options may be possible, they not necessarily be popular or inexpensive.
I would recommend that you contact three certified electrical contractors in your area and compare what they have to offer as to a solution; that will give you an idea what you are into for comparison options.
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