Breaker Won't Reset; No work done; newer house

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  #1  
Old 08-02-14, 08:53 AM
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Breaker Won't Reset; No work done; newer house

Home built in Jan 2012. Square D panels and breakers. Breaker in question is a GFI breaker ... has the Test button integrated into the breaker itself. 120 VAC breakers in question.

STORY:
There are three circuits in question: Basement, Hallway, Living Room. The basement is a standard 15 A breaker, but has a GFI outlet in circuit. The Hallway is a 20 A breaker with the GFI integrated into the breaker itself. The LR is a 15 A breaker with the GFI integrated into the breaker.

Hallway and LR are located in the main panel tied to the electric meter (outside panels). Basement breaker is in a subpanel immediately adjacent to the main panel.

All of the circuits are physically located in the same side of the house.

I was using an external outlet on the side of my house. This outlet is connected to the basement circuit (I didn't know at the time). At some point, the extension cord got wet and my tool pulled too much current. This tripped the GFI outlet in my basement, rendering my external outlet non-functional.

At the same time, the breakers on the Hallway and Living Room were tripped in the electrical panel. Not knowing that the external outlet was on the Basement circuit, I assumed that it was connected to one of the circuits whose breaker had been tripped. Though finding two tripped breakers seemed very odd to me.

Neither breaker would reset. I turned the breakers to fully OFF position and then flipped back to the ON position. They would immediately trip back to the TRIPPED position.

No amount of time elapsed in either the TRIPPED or fully OFF position affected the behaviors.

After a 2 days, I realized that my external outlet was connected to the Basement circuit and found the tripped GFI outlet. Once reset, the external outlet worked as normal.

Also, after the GFI was reset, the Hallway breaker would reset in my panel. Strange.

I have checked all of the other GFI breakers in my house and all are functional, none have been tripped. I tested and reset them all.

The Living Room breaker will still not reset. I have nothing plugged into any outlets, so no load.

Any ideas? Why would two other circuits trip when a separate 3rd circuit tripped a GFI outlet?!

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 08-02-14, 09:23 AM
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Does the outside outlet work when the 2 breakers in question are off?are you capable of removing the panel cover and removing the wires from the breakers? one at a time ,and see if they will reset then.
Geo
 
  #3  
Old 08-02-14, 09:23 AM
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The LR is a 15 A breaker with the GFI integrated into the breaker.
A LR would more likely have an AFCI.
extension cord got wet and my tool pulled too much current. This tripped the GFI outlet in my basement
GFCIs do not trip from overload. Most likely the wet extension cord caused a ground fault.
The Living Room breaker will still not reset. I have nothing plugged into any outlets, so no load
Good first test. The second is to disconnect the wires from the breaker and see if it resets. If it doesn't replace the breaker.
 
  #4  
Old 08-02-14, 09:43 AM
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I know how to work on standard electrical stuff -- installing fixtures, replacing outlets, using a voltmeter, etc. However, this will be my first time accessing an actual panel. I'll give it a shot. I had already done searching on the forum and have read the various instructions (and watched Youtube). I posted my thread because every other thread I found had a breaker issue after the person had done some work on the circuit.

With that said, is it common to have a ground fault on one circuit trip the breakers on two separate circuits? It just seems so odd to me and I've never seen this type of dynamic effect across multiple circuits.

Thanks.
 
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Old 08-02-14, 09:54 AM
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is it common to have a ground fault on one circuit trip the breakers on two separate circuits?
No it is not. I'd say coincidence a and two independent problems but only one identified. If the hoof beats are a zebra not a horse I'd wonder about a cross connection between the two circuits but I'm skeptical even that would cause it.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 08-02-14 at 05:31 PM.
  #6  
Old 08-02-14, 05:19 PM
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is it common to have a ground fault on one circuit trip the breakers on two separate circuits?
No, but I have seen a short circuit do that. Not a frequent occurence, but I have seen it several times.

A LR would more likely have an AFCI.
This is a good point brought up by Ray that I was also wondering about as I read your first post. There would be no reason for the Living Room circuit to be on a GFCI breaker. The GFCI and AFCI functions will trip for different reasons, but they will both trip on overload or a direct short.

IF you find that you have some bad breakers, they are still under warranty. Square D QO series breakers are lifetime warranted and I believe the Homeline series carries a 10 year warranty.
 
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