Unintended circuit breaker test - failed?


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Old 01-24-14, 12:55 PM
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Unintended circuit breaker test - failed?

Hi,
I am doing some tiling in my bathroom and wanted to completely remove the GFCI outlet, just for better maneuvering around it.
Went to the panel, looked at the (still somewhat visible) legend writing, found the breaker that stated "downst bathr", turned it off.
The good thing I was still waring the gloves from tiling I am sure you know what happened next. Yes, it arched like crazy when accidentally brushed the line wire to the ground. So, after jumping a couple feet away from the box and mentally giving myself a dopeslap for NOT following the safety procedure of CHECKING if the wire is hot.... I though, why didn't it trip the breaker? Then, since I still had my gloves on and felt emboldened by the fact that I am still alive, I tried it again, this time "firmly" brushing the wires against each other. Another big arch and no trip.
This concerns me for two reasons;
a. I suspect that breaker could be defective or "too big" for the circuit
b. The wiring in this house is pretty messed up and if other breakers are of the same quality/problem, it IS a problem.
Thanks!
 
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Old 01-24-14, 01:22 PM
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The breaker may be faulty. It should have tripped on dead short, regardless. Before doing anything big, replace the breaker.
 
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Old 01-24-14, 01:35 PM
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I will,
Thank you channdler!
 
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Old 01-24-14, 03:32 PM
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Hey chandler,

When I do replace the breaker, soon - I promise

Do i just faithfully trust the quality of the new breaker or do I need to "test" it?
Should i test other breakers?
Thanks,
 
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Old 01-24-14, 06:20 PM
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Do i just faithfully trust the quality of the new breaker or do I need to "test" it?
Who is the manufacturer of the panel and breaker? Can you post pictures of the panel with the cover removed?
 
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Old 01-24-14, 10:01 PM
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Will take a picture tomorrow and post.
My main panel was upgraded to a 200A about 10 years ago, but this sub was not as long as I recall, that could be the problem.
 
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Old 01-25-14, 08:38 AM
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I suspect there is nothing wrong with the breaker. When you get a short in a circuit, the breaker will only trip depending how long the short is maintained. I have accidentally touched a hot to ground and got an arc but it was only for a split second. It was not enough to allow the breaker to trip. Some breakers do not trip as easily as others.

Changing the breaker will eliminate a bad breaker and give you piece of mind. However if your panel is an FPE or Zinsco all bets are off.
 
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Old 01-25-14, 09:01 AM
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Safest action would be to turn off the suspected circuit and VERIFY that it is actually off. Plug in a good known working item, or tic tracer, if wiring is as cobbled as you suspect many things may be incorrect. You will then be able to safely proceed once you actually determine the correct circuit if this is not it. Locate the correct circuit in the panel since there is multiple panels as you described
 
 

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