Tripped circuit


Old 08-17-09, 05:20 PM
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Tripped circuit

I've recently encountered a slight issue. I have a 15A circuit that feeds 3 light fixtures in the basement, and a single outlet in the upstairs hallway. The problem lies with the outlet. Whenever I plug in our vacuum and turn it on, the breaker instantly trips. Vacuum works great connected to any other outlet in the house.

Figuring I'd try the obvious, so I replaced the outlet and verified all connections are tight and properly connected. Still no dice. Connections inside the panel also appear to be tight.

I can't believe the circuit is being overloaded based on what is connected to it, and the fact that the basement lights are typically turned off whenever I'm upstairs anyway. I'm at a loss however as to what would cause this outlet to continually trip. Easy solution is to just stop using it of course, but I'd still like to try and figure out what's the root cause. Any ideas?
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Old 08-17-09, 05:35 PM
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Could be as simple as a bad breaker, they do wear out (sorta). Could also be there are things you don't know on the same circuit. Last thing is that this may be a GFCI circuit, very possible in a basement? Some of the older ones don't like motors in some equipment.

No Pro..just what I've read and seen.
Old 08-17-09, 05:44 PM
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What's the amperage rating boasted on your vacuum cleaner? Probably 13 amps, right. Pretty close to trip time for a 15 amp breaker should something else be plugged in, turned on. Or like GG says, breakers aren't perfect, and they wear out. Let us know how it goes after the change out.
Old 08-17-09, 05:49 PM
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could be a bad breaker. check the power numbers on the vacuum. you`d be surprised as to what they draw. especially if it has alot of extras on it. lights,filters etc. 15 amps seems a little light in there. but before you swap it out to a higher amp see what kind of wire is going from it. #12 is like 20 amp max. if it`s an older house with the black old timey rubber coating that`s flaking off avoid up gradeing at all costs untill you can rewire. the old stuff over heats and burns fast. also make sure everything is grounded,the outlet ,the lights , and the vac. most problems can be as simple as a faulty ground some where. like the other guy said what else could be on there?
Old 08-17-09, 06:16 PM
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Thanks for the tips guys.

Luckily, I can trace the wire from the panel through the lights and up into the outlet box. Nothing else on the circuit and no GFI.

The panel was very recently upgraded from 100A to 200A, so breakers are brand new. I agree though, could be a faulty one out of the box. I'll swap it and see what happens.

The wiring for this circuit is typical 14-2, so 15A is the max.

I'll double check all the connections within the light fixtures just to be sure, and also take a look at the amp rating of the vacuum (I hadn't considered that angle).

Thanks again for some ideas on what to check.
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