Here’s a question we recently received from a customer at our Ask an Expert page.
Question: Every time my wife uses the hair dryer, it trips the fuse and shuts down the power. How do I fix this without completely overhauling my electrical system in the house?
This is a frequent question we receive from our customers and a very common problem. As a matter off fact, it is so common that the National Electric Code now requires new homes to be built with dedicated bathroom circuits and GFCI receptacles to help prevent this problem from occurring.
Although a circuit breaker can trip or a fuse can blow for a number of reasons, based on your description, it sounds as though the circuit to the bathroom is being overloaded when the hairdryer is used. There are a couple of ways to resolve the problem. You may be able to identify other items that are on the same circuit and turn them all off when using the hair dryer. If this is not realistic, the other solution is to run a dedicated circuit from the main panel to the bathroom and give the hairdryer it’s own receptacle, GFCI protected of course!
The good news is, with either of these solutions, it will probably not be necessary to upgrade or overhaul your entire electrical system.