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Electric Circuit for a Treadmill

home-improvement-electrical-projects Electrical Question Summary : I bought a commercial treadmill that requires a 20a outlet because of the right angle prongs. I only have a 15a breaker.

Electrical Question: What is the electric circuit requirement for a treadmill

I bought a commercial treadmill that requires a 20a outlet because of the right angle prongs. I only have a 15a breaker. I can't tell what gauge the wire is. So I don't know if I should replace the breaker with a 20a one and replace the outlet. or there is an adapter that converts it for sale. The owners manual says not to use an adapter because it needs to be properly grounded to prevent electrical shock. I don't understand because I thought the only grounding prong was the big fat round one. Any comments? Thanks

Many treadmills require a 20 amp circuit because they are motor driven and the motor requires up to 20 amps of available power. The required 20 amp power is NOT because of the needed ground, the ground is a necessary requirement regardless of the amperage. So - You state that you are thinking of installing a 20 amp circuit breaker and outlet, and I will be quick to point out the dangers of doing so: First of all you risk overloading the existing 15 amp wiring to the point of overheating the wire which could lead to a house fire. Secondly, if your house is still standing - you risk burning out the motor on the treadmill due to a lack of the required power. This situation of course will void you warrantee as well. Lets understand something about your existing 15 amp circuit. In a basic house wiring configuration your 15 amp circuit is a Shared Circuit, which means that it feeds more than on outlet. The 15 amp circuit breaker protects the circuit in the event of too many electrical devices being plugged into these outlets. This is why we have electrical wiring codes - they help keep our homes from burning down, and keep us safe - trust me, its' a good thing!
On the realistic side - there are some who do not bother to ask questions and just change out the breaker and take their chances.


Well - this is not a good idea, because one rainy day while they are on their treadmill they just might have to run for their lives to escape the flames! Now, in a case like this, after the fire department arrives and puts out the flames their will be an investigation as to what caused the fire. Fire investigators are very smart people, and part of their job is to communicate with the homeowners insurance company who may in fact have every legal right to pass the blame of the fire right back to the homeowner, and to make matters worse, several insurance companies have a database of high risk homeowners who will in most cases have their insurance terminated and find it very hard to get insurance from another carrier. On the safe side of things - you may find that the Owners Manual that came with your Treadmill may just require a Separate, Dedicated or Isolated 20 Amp Circuit for your treadmill. I know this to be true for most high end treadmills because I have installed several dedicated circuits for such situations, some even require a 240 Volt 30 Amp circuit for the commercial units. Well - you may have not wanted to get this news, but after all, it's the safe and right thing to do!
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Dave Rongey

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