circuit breaker hums when reset

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  #1  
Old 11-01-05, 05:20 PM
megwestlake
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circuit breaker hums when reset

The guy that last owned our house did lots of stuff badly and I'm nervous about a circuit breaker I have that keeps tripping. I don't have the money to hire an electrician, but if this is a fire hazard, I'll have to figure out how. I have a circuit breaker that trips all the time whenever I use the toaster or microwave along with anything else. When I reset it, sometimes it hums for a bit and I'm afraid to touch it. Let me know your thoughts on whether I should just be very careful not to overload it until I can afford an electrician, whether its nothing, or whether I better call someone right away. Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 11-01-05, 05:35 PM
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What's the amperage of the breaker ?
You maybe pulling more then the rating of the breaker.
 
  #3  
Old 11-01-05, 05:48 PM
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My guess is that you are either overloading the circuit, or the breaker is bad.
 
  #4  
Old 11-01-05, 06:01 PM
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It would be intresting to know how old the house is. It was not uncommon 20 - 30 years ago and beyond that the kitchen only had one maybe two circuits. We were not cooking with microwaves and making coffee and toast all at the same time. My kitchen is a good example. If I'm making coffe in the morning and one of my kids decide to make a breakfast sandwich in the microwave, somebodies going in the basement to re-set the breaker.

In this situation you've got 2 options.
1. Pay an electrician to seperate the circuits onto 2 breakers.
2. Be sure and only use 1 item at a time.
 
  #5  
Old 11-01-05, 06:42 PM
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My guess is a simple case of an overloaded circuit. Both a toaster and a microwave use lots of power. Shut off the breaker and figure out what doesn't have power any more. That will tell you everything on the circuit. Tell us what all that is. And then tell us whether the breaker handle says "15" or "20". Then tell us in what year the house was built.
 
  #6  
Old 11-01-05, 07:05 PM
megwestlake
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can't tell if its 15 or 20

The problem is that I can't get my head in to that side of the panel as its too close to the wall, not to mention that I can barely read the ones on this side which are some 15 and some 20. I don't have a small mirror I can use either and some shiny objects I used were too blurry. Ah well, I'll be careful with how much I use on it for now and hire someone soon. I can do it myself for some things, but electricity is a scary thing for me. Thanks.
 
  #7  
Old 11-01-05, 09:02 PM
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If you can't see that breaker clearly, then most likely your panel is installed without the code-mandated clearances. You should be able to stand directly in front of the panel. Can you?
 
  #8  
Old 11-01-05, 09:56 PM
megwestlake
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clearances for circuit panel

I can stand cirectly in front of the panel, but it is installed in the very corner and so I can't see the left hand side of the breakers in the left row which is where the numbers are.
 
  #9  
Old 11-02-05, 08:01 AM
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If you flip the breaker handle to the center, can you read the number then?
 
  #10  
Old 11-02-05, 08:34 AM
megwestlake
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breaker doesn't flip

Well, I can only push the breaker in and out, not flip to the side at all.
 
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