2 HVAC breakers down at same time

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  #1  
Old 01-02-13, 06:10 PM
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2 HVAC breakers down at same time

I just had both my HVAC breakers go "bad" within days of each other. The HVAC tech came out and replaced both 60 amp breakers.(side by side on the panel no less). They didn't trip, just went bad. He took them out and the switches were loose, i.e. they didn't click or have any tension in them. Is this something I need to have an electrician look at? The house was built in 2009 and never had any trouble.
 
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  #2  
Old 01-02-13, 06:12 PM
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Welcome to the forums!

Breakers rarely go bad, it is even more odd that you would have two fail. These didn't happen to be Square D breakers were they? Did you try to reset them? (turn them off and then back to on)
 
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Old 01-02-13, 07:21 PM
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The HVAC tech came out and replaced both 60 amp breakers.
You must live in a mansion! A 60 amp breaker would power a modern a-c condensing unit in the neighborhood fo 6 to 7 1/2 tons.

The house was built in 2009 and never had any trouble.
How competent is the tech? I have a hard time believing you would have two breakers just go bad in 3 or 4 years.
 
  #4  
Old 01-03-13, 05:40 AM
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I would like to add to the growing list of skeptics that two breakers failed at the same time.
 
  #5  
Old 01-03-13, 10:34 AM
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A 60 Ampere two pole circuit breaker would not be unusual for an air handler with electric heaters. The original poster may be confused about it being two side by side breakers.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 12:13 PM
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I'm agreeing with Luana for now. Jmcc3497, are you asking about two 2-pole 240V 60A breakers which occupy four standard breaker spaces, or one 2-pole 240V 60A breakers which occupies two standard breaker spaces?
 
  #7  
Old 01-03-13, 01:17 PM
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O.K. it was (2) double pole 60 amp breakers. One each for (2) AHU's. Both failed w/in 4 days of each other.
 
  #8  
Old 01-03-13, 03:49 PM
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Still wondering about the brand. Perhaps they were counterfeit? See stickies,
 
  #9  
Old 01-03-13, 05:55 PM
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A 60 Ampere two pole circuit breaker would not be unusual for an air handler with electric heaters. The original poster may be confused about it being two side by side breakers.
Hmmm....after re-reading the OP, he didn't say this was a condensing unit (my assumption ) and just said HVAC breakers. I'll have to back up and say, yes, you are right. A 60 amp breaker would not be unusual for an air handler with electric strip heat. That being said, I still think it's unusual to have two breakers to just go bad unless maybe they were overloaded. Could it be the two circuits really should have been protected at 70 or 80 amps?
 
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Old 01-03-13, 06:58 PM
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Well, the HVAC tech said he checked the amp draw with the strip heat on and only got to 30 amps.
It's a heat pump, if that helps.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 06:59 PM
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Without looking it up IIRC any strip heat is limited to 48 amps and can be served by a 50 amp OCPD. Anything larger needs to be broken down into smaller loads.

OK, I looked.

424.22 Overcurrent Protection.
(A) Branch-Circuit Devices. Electric space-heating equipment,
other than such motor-operated equipment as required
by Articles 430 and 440 to have additional overcurrent protection,
shall be permitted to be protected against overcurrent
where supplied by one of the branch circuits in Article 210.
(B) Resistance Elements. Resistance-type heating elements
in electric space-heating equipment shall be protected at not
more than 60 amperes. Equipment rated more than 48 amperes
and employing such elements shall have the heating
elements subdivided, and each subdivided load shall not exceed
48 amperes. Where a subdivided load is less than
48 amperes, the rating of the supplementary overcurrent protective
device shall comply with 424.3(B). A boiler employing
resistance-type immersion heating elements contained in an
ASME-rated and stamped vessel shall be permitted to comply
with 424.72(A).
 

Last edited by pcboss; 01-03-13 at 07:01 PM. Reason: added code cite
  #12  
Old 01-04-13, 08:52 AM
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One last question. Would the breakers have been initially provided/installed by the HVAC contractor or the electrical contractor? It was a new home construction. I'm not faulting anyone, mind you, just curious.
 
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Old 01-04-13, 10:10 AM
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Would the breakers have been initially provided/installed by the HVAC contractor or the electrical contractor? It was a new home construction.
In post #2, Tolyn asked
Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand
These didn't happen to be Square D breakers were they?
In post #8, he underscored that question and added one reason for asking it:
Originally Posted by Tolyn Ironhand
Still wondering about the brand. Perhaps they were counterfeit?
Other reasons include a possible mis-match between panel and breaker specifications. It's still an open question. To help all of us, including you, get a better handle on what happened, and on what might be done to prevent its recurring:
  • What is the make and model of the panel the breakers were mounted in?
  • What are the breaker types listed on the panel label for use in that panel?
  • What is the breaker type of the two breakers that failed?
  • Is the panel your main distribution panel or the disconnect for the heat pumps?
  • Is it located inside the house or on the outside?
  • What is the breaker type of the two replacement breakers? ...and
  • What size wire are the breakers protecting?
 
  #14  
Old 01-05-13, 06:17 AM
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O.K. it is a GE panel with GE breakers located on the outside of the house.(1 of 2 out there) This panel has 200 amp bREAKer(?) at top.(it has four switches connected together to work as one) On the side that the breakers failed are (2) 30 dbl pole and (3) 60 dbl pole. the (3) 60's are for HVAC units.not sure what the others are for. On the other side are (3) 50's for compressors and (1) 50 for cooktop. He replaced the bad ones with a Square D and another GE. Finally, I'm not sure what size wires are being used.
 

Last edited by Jmcc3497; 01-05-13 at 07:13 AM.
  #15  
Old 01-05-13, 06:31 AM
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SquareD Homeline will fit but they are not rated for use in GE panels. If your AC tech put it in he needs to come back and replace it on his dime.
 
  #16  
Old 01-05-13, 07:17 AM
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How competent is the tech?
He replaced the bad ones with a Square D and another GE
I would suggest that perhaps the tech is competent at HVAC work, but not at electrical work.
 
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