When should a 15-amp breaker trip?
We have a laser printer, a ceramic heater, and a few other things plugged into a 15 amp circuit in our home office. We noticed the overhead lights dimmed when our printer surged, so we did some testing.
Specifically, the printer runs at 14 amps, but will peak at 24-26 when it surges. The floor heater pulls 14 amps when on "high". Both of these together do not trip a 15-amp breaker. We even added the television and paper shredder and all of them failed to trip the breaker.
This is a brand new house, and we had asked for an extra 20-amp circuit for this room because we knew we'd have a lot plugged in. The builder failed to do that, so the electrician was out last week and ran another wire plus the 20-amp breaker. We asked him why the printer + heater + television didn't trip the breaker, and he said there's a cushion built in to handle surges, but we'd have to exceed 15 amps consistently and continually for the breaker to trip. This doesn't make sense to me. Can somebody explain why a 15 amp breaker doesn't trip when ya pull 16 amps?