When to replace a breaker

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Old 01-31-07, 07:43 PM
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When to replace a breaker

Hi All,

I was going to replace three old insulated 14/2 wire runs with new romex cable that have a grounding wire, while i have the ceiling ripped down. My question is, if I go to the trouble of pulling out the breaker, and installing shiny new wire, should I just go ahead and buy three new breakers instead of reinstalling the old ones? I usually don't like to reinstall something old when I can just buy new, but in this case it is going to be like 100$ or so, so I wanted to see what you guys thought? One of the breakers doesn't look like the rest, definetly older looking and slightly larger. I would guess they are probably 20 years young, but I can't be sure. I don't know if they have lifespans or if they just go on forever, or what.

BTW, out of curiosity I was wondering what happens if you actually did manage to brush a wire up against the hot exposed bits of the two incoming lines from the service box (mine look like twisted aluminum), I imagine a pretty nice arc or pop?

Thanks!!
 
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Old 01-31-07, 07:53 PM
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If your breakers are going to cost $100, it's probably because your panel is obsolete and potentially unsafe. Most breakers for modern panels are closer to $5. You might want to consider replacing the whole panel. Tell us the make and model of the panel.

Directly shorting your power feed can cause the panel to explode hot molten metal all over your face. Don't do it.
 
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Old 01-31-07, 08:00 PM
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Hi John,

Sorry I should have posted that info. It is a Square D Load Center, Cat # QOC-20M, series E6 panel. A buddy that was over told me the breakers are like $35 each. Would these be @ a big box store?

I'll try to avoid the molten metal to the eyes. I find the thing that works best is to just go very slowly.

THANKS!!
 
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Old 01-31-07, 08:36 PM
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I'll try to avoid the molten metal to the eyes*

This is a good rule of thumb.
It's not like "molten metal" (volcano), It like comes out totaly vaporized and fast!!!!

Then all you have is a shocked (not electrical) witnes acount.

You should be able to find these breakers with out much trouble.
 
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Old 01-31-07, 08:48 PM
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the QO series brekaer is very common item you should find it in just about any big box store or electrical suppy centre if they carry this brand .


if you are changing the branch breaker it willbe alot wiser for you to turn off the main breaker for short while during installing new breaker for safety reason.

if the wires do touch the buss bar [ you will see or maybe not it is silver buss bar or copper colour with plastic holder that area have live power and if the wires do " touch " it will flash over pretty fast and can give a very loud bang i am not kidding on this part so please do it safety


Merci , Marc

p.s. i did see some breaker box get compelty destoryed by hevey short circuit or a item drop to the live bussbar and do a wonderfull mess there and any metal there where the arc mark the metal willbe vapourized up fast
 
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Old 02-01-07, 04:58 AM
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Yeah, there are plenty of QO's out there....$7.89 @ the local "box store"'s website <single-pole, 20 amp>. The 2-pole, 120 volt tandem breakers <"piggy-back"> are about $25 apiece....wanted to make sure that's not what you're looking at. Do the breakers have one screw terminal on it or two? Do they occupy one breaker slot, or 2? What amp rating are your existing breakers? And finally <most importantly>, what size wire is landed on the breakers?
 
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Old 02-01-07, 09:41 AM
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Originally Posted by joshmack View Post
Yeah, there are plenty of QO's out there....$7.89 @ the local "box store"'s website <single-pole, 20 amp>. The 2-pole, 120 volt tandem breakers <"piggy-back"> are about $25 apiece....wanted to make sure that's not what you're looking at. Do the breakers have one screw terminal on it or two? Do they occupy one breaker slot, or 2? What amp rating are your existing breakers? And finally <most importantly>, what size wire is landed on the breakers?
The three breakers I intend to replace are all 15 amp, and real old insulated wire hopefully 14g (50 years old) that was not replaced w/ the newer (~25 yr?) panel. The breakers have one screw terminal, one slot only. I will be running new wire 14/2 so I can have grounding wire on my computer room outlet. I read other posts and I realize that code dictates a dedicated 20 amp line to bathroom outlet that i will have near sink with GFCI in recipticle, so I can do that with the upgrade and 12/2 wire, and the 20 amp breaker. No worries, I think I have it under control as long as the home depot people sell me the right breakers.
 
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Old 02-01-07, 07:28 PM
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Circuit Breakers

I just bought breakers at Lowes today - Siemens 15 & 20 A, QP Series, were $3.66 each; Square-D QO115 & 120 were $6.96.

JimC
 
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