Breaker trips for no apparent reason.


  #1  
Old 03-07-04, 10:10 AM
SAS
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Breaker trips for no apparent reason.

I have four outlets on two levels in my house that do not work. These outlets are on a circuit (or pair of circuits) governed by two 30A breakers tied together. When I reset the breaker I hear a quick buzzing noise and observe the work light in my utility room flicker as this intermittant buzzing noise occurs. Finally the breaker trips. Nothing is plugged into any outlet on this circuit, and no major appliances have failed. Does anyone know what the cause(s) of and solution(s) to this problem might be? Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 03-07-04, 10:26 AM
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Breakers do not trip for no reason. The reason may not be readily apparent, but it is there. Number 1: Why are outlets tied to a 30A double pole breaker!!!! This is not a good situation. General purpose outlets should be on 20A max single pole breakers. Who installed these outlets and breakers? Were they original to the house or added after the fact? The answer to your question is that there is either a short in the wiring or fixture or a faulty breaker. What size wire are the outlets wired with? It sounds like there is more than 4 outlets (utility light) on the circuits. Since the investigation of this problem requires opening the main panel, I would recomend that an electrician be called unless you have a good deal of experience with electicity.

Scott E.
 
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Old 03-07-04, 10:36 AM
SAS
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Scott,
There have been no changes to the service panel since I bought the house in 1995, and the only inspection stickers on the panel are the originals from when the house was built in 1987. By my count there are 3 outlets in an upstairs bedroom and 3 outlets in the living room below that are all affected by this situation. How this passed any sort of electrical inspection is beyond me. You have confirmed my fears that this is a problem that requires professional attention, and I thank you for your input.

SAS
 
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Old 03-07-04, 11:42 AM
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There may be other factors which are not apparent with original post, but it sounds fishy enough to call in a professional. If it turns out that it was an acceptable installation, please post back and explain why...inquiring minds want to know!!

Scott E.
 
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Old 03-07-04, 07:55 PM
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My guess is that the history looks something like this:[list=1][*]In the beginning, there was a 15-amp multiwire circuit.[*]The homeowners keep buying higher and higher power appliances.[*]Circuit starts tripping and annoying them.[*]Homeowners get the bright idea to increase the breaker size.[*]Homeowners are very pleased that the breaker doesn't trip any more.[*]Constantly overloaded wiring gradually destroys the insulation on the wires, and darn near burns the house down.[*]Now the wiring is shorted out and trips even the 30-amp breaker.[/list=1]That story is scary as hell.
 
  #6  
Old 03-07-04, 10:50 PM
noxx
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And entirely too common.
 
  #7  
Old 03-08-04, 08:37 AM
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The buzzing and tripping almost sounds as if the two hots are tied together somewhere. (This would short one leg of power to the other).
 
 

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