Does circuit breaker need to be replaced?


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Old 06-01-08, 11:46 AM
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Does circuit breaker need to be replaced?

I have a power outage on everything that is on one of my circuit breakers. How can I tell if it is the breaker or what else could it be?
 
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Old 06-01-08, 12:02 PM
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First you should check to see if the breaker has tripped. If it has try to reset it by turning it off and then on.

What does this breaker control?
 
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Old 06-03-08, 10:31 AM
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Does circuit breaker need replaced

This breaker has several outlets in 3 different rooms and a hall light that has two on-off swtiches, one at each end of the hall on it. We've turned the breaker off and on again, but that didn't work.
 
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Old 06-03-08, 10:34 AM
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We checked the outlets to see if they were ok and even changed some of them. Now what do we do?
 
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Old 06-03-08, 11:13 AM
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Is it the whole circuit, or can you tell? I had a mysterious problem like this too. We had a GFCI receptacle on the circuit that had tripped, and everything downstream from it wouldn't work. Once that was reset everything was fine. Look at your GFCI receptacles and make sure they haven't tripped. They will most likely all be in the bathroom(s) and kitchen.
 
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Old 06-03-08, 12:31 PM
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This breaker has several outlets in 3 different rooms and a hall light
Exactly which outlets in which rooms?
 
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Old 06-03-08, 03:38 PM
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If the breaker isn't tripped, but everything on that circuit has no power, I'd check to see if you have any ground fault interrupter outlets on that circuit and see if any of those have tripped.

Also, did this happen all of a sudden? Was there a storm, or some other unusual occurrence?

How does the panel box itself look? Any weird sounds (such as sizzling sounds) or sparking? Burned wires? Obviously, that would suggest that it's time to call an electrician.

Assuming you have no obvious problems with the panel, you could check one more thing: WITH THE POWER TO THE PANEL OFF, you could check to see if the hot wire (the black wire) to that breaker is firmly attached, or maybe loose and needs tightened. Similarly, you could check to see if the neutral (white) wire is firmly attached to neutral bus bar. AGAIN, BEFORE EVER CONSIDERING THIS OPTION, TURN OFF THE POWER TO THE WHOLE HOUSE...FLIP THE MAIN BREAKER AT THE TOP OF YOUR PANEL.

WITH RESPECT TO PLAYING IN THE PANEL, BE CAREFUL. IF YOU'RE NOT COMFORTABLE IN THERE, I'D ASK AN ELECTRICIAN OR, AT LEAST, A FRIEND FAMILIAR WITH BASIC RESIDENTIAL WIRING. THIS DIAGNOSTIC WORK IS FAIRLY SIMPLE, BUT IT IS DANGEROUS (AND POTENTIALLY DEADLY) IF YOU'RE NOT FAMILIAR WITH THINGS. A KNOWLEDGEABLE FRIEND COULD SUFFICE FOR THE SIMPLE DIAGNOSTIC WORK, AND COULD RECOMMEND WHETHER YOU NEED AN ELECTRICIAN.
 
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Old 06-03-08, 07:39 PM
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There are no ground fault interupter outlets on this breaker. The outlets are all in 3 different bedrooms. As I said before, there is also an overhead light to a hallway on this same circuit that doesn't work. I forgot to mention that there are also 2 bedroom overhead lights, same rooms as the outlets, that aren't working.
 
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Old 06-03-08, 08:39 PM
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Question

How do you know it's all on the same circuit?Did it all go out at once?When you checked the breakers was one tripped?If one was tripped ,when you reset it did it actually reset or just pop back off?
 
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Old 06-11-08, 08:09 AM
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Does circuit breaker need replaced

My son said that when he plugged a fan into one of the outlets in his room, there was a sizzling sound and a bunch of sparks. He immediately unplugged it. After that, everthing on that circuit quit working. None of the breakers were flipped. We even turned the breaker off and then back on again just in case. We also replaced the outlet, but nothing is still working. Is there any way to test the circuit breaker to see if that is the problem?
 
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Old 06-11-08, 09:33 AM
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There's probably a loose connection somewhere on the line. It's usually an easy fix, but it often takes a while to locate where the problem is.

To test the breaker itself, you'll have to open the main panel and use a neon tester to test for power. One lead of the tester will go on the brass screw of the breaker, the other lead should touch one of the silver bars in the panel (where all the white or bare wires terminate). If the breaker is 'on', the tester should glow. If it doesn't try resetting it and test again.

I will also say that it's very rare for a breaker to go bad. It does happen, but I'd say 99.8% of the time it is a connection somewhere between the breaker and the receptacle.

Be very careful when working in the panel - if you don't feel comfortable, hire an electrician.
 
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Old 06-12-08, 11:30 AM
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Does circuit breaker need replaced

How do I go about finding if or where the loose connection is on the line?
 
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Old 06-12-08, 12:10 PM
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You will have to open each location that doesn't work and look and pull to see if the connections are good. If you can, start at the panel and trace the wire/cable/conduit that the breaker is feeding. You will have to remove the cover. Again, if your not comfortable working in the panel, Hire an electrician. See where it goes and you can start there. Or start at the box that had the arcing. Double check they are good too.
 
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Old 07-16-08, 02:08 PM
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Hi! It's me again. We don't have a neon tester. We only have a multimeter. My husband said he thinks he got a "hot" read off one of the ground wires. Why would that be? Can we test the breaker with a multimeter or not? If we can, then how do we do it?
 
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Old 07-16-08, 02:57 PM
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You can test the breaker with a multimeter. If it is a newer digital though the reading may be false if less then 110V between neutral and the breaker. Post the results here. Just my opinion I'd pull the receptacle where the arcing occurred. It needs to be checked any way. If the breaker is good I'd also suspect a connection in one of the ceiling lights. In older homes they often have connections for the receptacles.
 
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Old 07-16-08, 04:33 PM
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Listen, I teach ac theory to our apprentices and am foreman in the electrical union...pay attention here...Everone's advice so far is good...however..here is what to do in totality...This may not be easy and it will or could require alot of searching...This is all that needs to happen for sircuits to work...period...A source (your panel), a cable assembly or conductors that feed electrcity to a device, a neutral for a return path back to the source, ground (by text definition to facilitate the operation of overcurrent device ((breaker)). *** PLEASE know that if you slip in the panel you die****if that scares you or you dont feel comfortable...dont do it...Obviously there are other injuries that could occur beside death but the point is is DANGEROUS . You really need to feel comfortable doing this. So if you are, lets begin... Now within that loop check these things..
..is there voltage at breaker screw with breaker in the on position, use any meter for voltage within that range...dont use low voltage dc meter on a 120 volt ac source...if so you have a supply point...next...while your there its a fantastic time to follow the wire from that breaker to where it travel out of the connector...it should be nestled in with a white and bare wire if romex wire was used....if not its the other - other probably black wire thats connected to the neutral bar in the panel...my point is YOU need to find the point of connection to the return path...With no return path back to the source you have no closed circuit for current to flow so it wont> Find it and make sure it is tight under the terminal screw.

If you have these conditions met it is in the field wiring where it goes in and out of a device ( form what it sounds like you typed i would think a device had your supply come in then go back out to feed other devices, lights or other receptacles and after that arc/short your son experienced it burned itself free from the circuit so now there is no closed loop. It also could be from magnetic fault current in that when a short occurs there is a surge of current. Current is heat and also allows for a high magnetic field. Although you have nothing in your walls that are ferrous since it prolly wood construction...my point here is that current spikes like that could cause wires to tear away from terminal screw or even break themselves apart from the force alone, Obviously the heat will melt the wires off at the point of the fault.

You need to take that outlet apart from where the fault occured and with the wires carefully seperated after being assured brkr is off, again seprate all the wires..someone fixed this right ? I think he might have wired it wrong too...with wires seperated turn on brkr....check to see if you have 120 volts nominal to ground fom any of them...before i go further with this...it is very long and could take time...Please email me back or answer this.

Are the first conditions met...is your house wired with romex ( black white, bare copper/grnd?

I want to walk you through this but i would like to know this stuff first...hate to go through so much to find a mouse chewed through your wiring also LOL...it happens all the time
Thanks Mike...
 

Last edited by Hobbes; 07-16-08 at 04:53 PM.
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Old 08-01-08, 06:54 PM
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Our house is wired with Romex. My husband is going to check the outlet to see if we have voltage. Thank you so much for your help!
 
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Old 08-01-08, 08:19 PM
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Wow it looks like this thread goes back over two months?

In reading over all of this while it could be the breaker it also has a high probability of being a receptacle in the beginning of the circuit that has a bad connection.

Often to save time electricians "back stabbed" the wires into the outlets. There is spring material that hold the wire in. Over time through heating and movement these connections often fail. You can tell if you have a receptacle or switch wired this way as the wire just disappears into the back as opposed to being screwed onto the side terminals. You should (with the main breaker OFF) go through each outlet in the dead circuit and if they are "back stabbed" replace them and screw the wires on. Always wire the black wire to the brass colored screw and the white to the silver screw.

I am sure all of the previous respondents had good intentions but it seems like some of the advice may have been hard to follow and not very clear.

As for the neon or digital tester. There are issues with them BUT if you check the breaker - black wire in screw on the breaker with one lead and other lead to the case of the power panel you should see an indication with the breaker on and none with it off. If you have lights plugged into the affected circuit and turned on (but not working) and you see an indication of voltage present at the breaker, then it is likely you may have an a bad outlet problem as described above.
 
 

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