Main breaker keeps tripping.

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  #1  
Old 03-29-07, 06:16 AM
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Unhappy Main breaker keeps tripping.

My main breaker in the house keeps tripping. I have lived here for 7 yrs never had any problems havent installed anything new havent changed anything. Could it be I just need a new breaker box?
 
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  #2  
Old 03-29-07, 06:25 AM
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I would call the power company NOW.
 
  #3  
Old 03-29-07, 06:30 AM
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Do you notice any other symptoms? Any receptacles, lights, or appliances not working?

Do you have any new electricity demands?

Breakers do wear out. It's possible your main breaker is wearing out.

Changing the main breaker is not a job for a do-it-yourselfer. I recommend you call an electrician.

I would not call the power company in the absence of other signs.
 
  #4  
Old 03-29-07, 06:47 AM
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I agree that this is likely a job for an electrician, not the power company. You probably need a new main breaker. As Bob says, this one is not a DIY job.
 
  #5  
Old 03-29-07, 07:56 PM
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YOU have lived here seven years. How old is the house and breaker box?
 
  #6  
Old 03-30-07, 07:40 AM
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The breaker box is about 12 years old. When it does trip the breaker is hot to touch. As far as I know I dont have any new electric demands I really havent cahnge anything the only thing different is I bought a new tv but I really dont see how that could be the problem. I went and bought a new breaker box yesterday. It is supposed to be installed Saturday. Hope that fixes it. Will let you know as soon as i find out.
 
  #7  
Old 03-30-07, 07:45 AM
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Hot to the touch is not good. The box may or may not be the problem. The problem is likely just the breaker.

Hopefully the electrician who comes out to do this will investigate the problem and not just blindly replace the entire box.
 
  #8  
Old 03-30-07, 07:50 AM
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Hot to the touch indicates that the breaker is either overloaded, or has a loose connection. Both are bad.

Is the breaker 100 amps? 125? 150? 200?

When you say that you haven't installed anything new, does that include portable appliances such as space heaters?

If you've ever considered adding more power, replacing the breaker box is a good opportunity to do so.
 
  #9  
Old 03-30-07, 08:51 AM
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It is 200 amps and I havent added anymore power if it is the breaker is overloaded wouldn't it have done it sooner seeing i havent change any power demands
 
  #10  
Old 03-30-07, 09:06 AM
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200A is a LOT of power for a house- if you actually used enough power to overload trip that, your electric bills would be about $2000/month. Aside from that, the only way you could possibly use that much power is to simultanously run space heaters, 2 coffee pots, with the oven and all 4 burners of your electric stove on full, be drying a load of laundry and have your heat pump with emergency heat locked on. And even then, it probably wouldn't trip.

I suspect a fault, too, either in the breaker panel somewhere or in a major appliance. If the fault was coming from one of the other breakers (likely large-current double breakers like your heat pump or water heater) then they would be warm as well. Are any of the other breakers warm?

Do you have a clamp-on ammeter you can use to find out what your current levels are? Is there any debris in the panel that might be causing an intermittant short circuit?
 
  #11  
Old 03-30-07, 09:15 AM
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ok i for sure don't use that much power just a regular house with 2 kids who for get to cut the lights off from time to time and i am not really sure if any of the breakers are hot although i will check that next time the main trips About how much is it gonna cost me to have the new box put in? The only big applicances i have is a a/c which i havent even run this year hasnt got that hot dryer and hot water heater stove is gas.
 
  #12  
Old 03-30-07, 09:37 AM
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What brand is your current breaker panel ?
 
  #13  
Old 03-30-07, 09:40 AM
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culter-hammer
 
  #14  
Old 03-30-07, 09:50 AM
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I hope you saved the receipt for the new breaker panel. The instructions you should give your electrician should be to fix the problem, not to replace the panel. At this point, we have no idea if the panel is the problem. And replacing it is going to be way too expensive if that's not really the problem. The electrician should be able to determine the problem once he gets there.
 
  #15  
Old 03-30-07, 10:04 AM
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I agree with Mr.Nelson. Unless your panel has had some type of meltdown, internal damage, or the main breaker wires have came loose I would not think a new panel replacement would be necessary.

I'm glad you didn't say it was a Federal Pacific panel.
 
  #16  
Old 03-30-07, 11:01 AM
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I'm not disagreeing with either John or Racraft; I just want to add a bit of explanation.

When a breaker trips on overload, it doesn't do so because of current; it does so because of _heat_. In normal operation, the current flowing through the breaker heats up a metallic strip, and if that strip gets hot enough, the breaker trips open.

However if anything else causes such heating, it will cause the breaker to trip. There might be no current flow at all; if that strip gets hot enough for any reason, the breaker will trip.

Something that will cause heating, and which will cause breakers to trip well below the current where they should trip, is a loose connection. This loose connection could be where the service cable connects to the main breaker, it could be where the breaker connects to the panel bus, or it could be at the contacts inside the breaker itself.

This should be investigated by a professional electrician; dealing with your main breaker is not a DIY job.

I would in any case replace the main breaker. While the actual problem may be the connection between the breaker and its incoming wire, investigating the bus connection will require removing the breaker anyway; once you've paid for the labor of pulling and replacing the main breaker, it might as well be a new breaker.

If the problem is between the main breaker and the panel bus, then this may force a replacement of the panel. A bad connection between breaker and bus can cause pitting of the bus, which means that you will never get a good connection, and that both the bus and breaker need replacement.

The electrician should also look for any causes of the problem, eg a bad water seal on incoming wires, letting water leak in to the main breaker, or poorly arranged insulation causing condensation.

-Jon
 
  #17  
Old 04-03-07, 05:05 AM
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Smile

Ok finally got it fixed it was my main breaker the terminal where the black wire goes was burnt. Thank all of you so much for your help!!!!
 
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