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07-02-2013, 03:00 AM   #1
brettwasbtd
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 Extension Cord

So my wife and I just recently bought a house and moved in. It fit all our needs except I seemed to miss the electricity part in my planned brew area. It's unfinished basement area and there is some power about 20 feet away. So I am looking for some electric people to help me out and tell me if this will work or not for a little while

Currently the gas dryer pulls 9A/1080 watts. It (at least according to the circuit breaker) is on its own 15 amp circuit. My Keg fridge pulls 4.5 amps at 115 volts, so thats 518 watts. If I were to plug the fridge in, when both are on I would be at 89% capacity or so, which to my limit knowledge is not ideal, right? The second part to this equation is that I would be running it over an extension cord (12 gauge 25 ft). So is this ok, or am I gonna need to wait until I can have an electrician come and run some new outlets? Thanks in advance for the help, and yes I know its probably not legal/up-to-code to do this (although its not going through walls or haning from the ceiling), but i am more worried about whether it is safe or not.

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07-02-2013, 03:03 AM   #2
ivegot2legs
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As an electrical engineer- circuit breakers should not be loaded above 80%, by code. So at 89%, you would probably trip it, or it would trip after a period of time (a few minutes).

The extension cord is fine for the kind of load that the fridge has. Maybe there's another circuit within 25 feet?

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07-02-2013, 03:04 AM   #3
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That probably is more than the surge current of the dryer motor. It should be fine. It will only pull surge current for a second or so and not long enough to pull the breaker.

If that circuit is wired with 12 AWG you can safely upgrade the breaker and receptical to 20 amp.

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07-02-2013, 11:15 AM   #4
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Yes, it should be safe. Just get the business ends of the cords off the floor in case you get any moisture. The way I understand it, the 80% rule applies to continuous loads (3 hours or more). Neither your dryer nor your refrigerator qualify for that. Worst case, you will flip your breaker and know you cannot do it, but I would put my money on it working fine.

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07-02-2013, 11:37 AM   #5
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by ivegot2legs As an electrical engineer- circuit breakers should not be loaded above 80%, by code. So at 89%, you would probably trip it, or it would trip after a period of time (a few minutes). The extension cord is fine for the kind of load that the fridge has. Maybe there's another circuit within 25 feet?
Quote:
 Originally Posted by jeffmeh Yes, it should be safe. Just get the business ends of the cords off the floor in case you get any moisture. The way I understand it, the 80% rule applies to continuous loads (3 hours or more). Neither your dryer nor your refrigerator qualify for that. Worst case, you will flip your breaker and know you cannot do it, but I would put my money on it working fine.
Can we get any confirmation on this - I know what Jeff has said is true in NZ but what get spouted on this site as the law in the USA seems to be the 80% limit. This just seems ridiculous to me since if it was always 80%, then why not drop the ratings to the 80% mark and call them 100% (if that made any sense) then people wouldn't go wrong because any "normal" person would stay below 100% of the rating

07-02-2013, 11:41 AM   #6
ivegot2legs
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Running a load like that, on a 15A circuit and probably 14 awg could generate voltage drop issues, destroying the motors in the fridge and the dryer.

Then you are out two appliances instead of \$50 for wire, a breaker, and a receptacle. It's happened to me.

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07-02-2013, 01:00 PM   #7
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I still think it's much ado about nothing. I suspect that the amperage draws he lists are the surge currents for the motors, so if they both surged at the same time they would draw 13.5 amps for a few seconds before dropping down. A properly wired 15a circuit should handle that fine.

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07-02-2013, 01:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by mattd2 Can we get any confirmation on this - I know what Jeff has said is true in NZ but what get spouted on this site as the law in the USA seems to be the 80% limit. This just seems ridiculous to me since if it was always 80%, then why not drop the ratings to the 80% mark and call them 100% (if that made any sense) then people wouldn't go wrong because any "normal" person would stay below 100% of the rating
Because there are variables that need to be considered for each situation. There is not one peanut butter rule that can be spread across all.

Quote:
 From Schneider Electric - Square D: The continuous current rating of a circuit breaker is the maximum current in amperes (dc or rms ac at rated frequency) which a device will carry continuously without exceeding the specified allowable temperature rise. Sometimes referred to as the ampere rating or handle rating of the circuit breaker, the continuous current rating relates to the system current flow under normal conditions. UL and CSA require that circuit breakers must be able to carry their continuous current rating indefinitely at 40°C in free air in order to achieve a UL Listing/CSA Certification. The National Electrical Code (NEC) and the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) recognize that devices applied in end-use equipment can be affected by heat build up during normal operating conditions. For this reason, the codes require that circuit breakers be selected based on the characteristics of the load (particularly, the portion of the load which will be on continuously for three hours or more at a time).
As you see, breakers are rated 100% in a specified condition but potentially have de-rating applied depending on use.
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07-02-2013, 01:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by ivegot2legs Running a load like that, on a 15A circuit and probably 14 awg could generate voltage drop issues, destroying the motors in the fridge and the dryer. Then you are out two appliances instead of \$50 for wire, a breaker, and a receptacle. It's happened to me.

Voltage drop is contingent on the load current, length, gauge, and conductor material of wires (more simply load current and wire resistance). Then, while there are guidelines for max allowable voltage drop, the tolerance of the given devices factors in too regarding potential damage that may result from it.

While it is a factor to contemplate, there isn't enough information provided to know if there would be unacceptable voltage drop in this situation.
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07-02-2013, 01:36 PM   #10
brettwasbtd
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Quote:
 Originally Posted by ivegot2legs As an electrical engineer- circuit breakers should not be loaded above 80%, by code. So at 89%, you would probably trip it, or it would trip after a period of time (a few minutes). The extension cord is fine for the kind of load that the fridge has. Maybe there's another circuit within 25 feet?
Maybe, but nothing dedicated to one outlet. There is a Media Room/Bathroom circuit. not sure what all is connected to that - and I would be breaking code violations going through doorways and whatnot. There is a separate 15A circuit for the washer, however, I can't find out how much that is drawing. Only thing in the manual is that it requires a 15A receptacle and it is best that it is the only thing on it. It is a brand new high efficiency so I would think the energy draw would be lower right?

Quote:
 Originally Posted by Malticulous That probably is more than the surge current of the dryer motor. It should be fine. It will only pull surge current for a second or so and not long enough to pull the breaker. If that circuit is wired with 12 AWG you can safely upgrade the breaker and receptical to 20 amp.
Not sure, I tried to look at the wire running to that and it is just unmarked white wire, so i can't tell. Here is a picture of that in the breaker box:

Quote:
 Originally Posted by ivegot2legs Running a load like that, on a 15A circuit and probably 14 awg could generate voltage drop issues, destroying the motors in the fridge and the dryer. Then you are out two appliances instead of \$50 for wire, a breaker, and a receptacle. It's happened to me.
Is it most likely the wire to the outlet is 14AWG?

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