Main breaker will not shut off (stuck in on position)

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Old 09-03-16, 01:27 PM
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Main breaker will not shut off (stuck in on position)

Hi, so the title says it all. I have a square D box with the main breaker inside the panel. I have had intermittent lights flickering on two different circuits. The flickering started at the beginning of summer for a few days and then went away. Now the flickering has started again. It is not constant and I am stumped as to what it could be and why it will just go away and then come back.

So I Went to the breaker box to shut off main so I could make sure all wires were tight and check bus bar for pitting ect. I tried to shut off the main breaker and it will NOT budge from the on position, its like it is completely stuck in place.

I know that shutting off main breakers usually require more force than a regular breaker but this thing will NOT move one bit, its like it is cemented in place. Is there something I am missing here? I feel like if the main was broken it would move to the off position then not on again?

Any help/info is greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!!!
 
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Old 09-03-16, 01:40 PM
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First make 100% sure you are trying to move the correct thing in the correct direction.

I would suggest taking a piece of wood and placing it on the handle, then wack the wood with a hammer or other tool in the off direction. Start with light taping and slowly get firmer. Hopefully that will break it loose.
 
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Old 09-03-16, 01:46 PM
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I feel like if the main was broken it would move to the off position then not on again?
That is exactly right !!

So... do not force the breaker to the off position unless it's an emergency or you have the capability to replace it on a holiday weekend.
 
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Old 09-03-16, 02:25 PM
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Thanks for the replies. Any thoughts on why two different circuits would be effected/flickering? One circuit is the refrigerator (on its own circuit) and the other is living room lights dim both wired lights and outlets.
 
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Old 09-03-16, 02:47 PM
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Can you tell if the breakers are on the same buss i.e. Circuits 1&2 Position or 3&4, breakers that are opposite each other.
If that main breaker won't open its time to replace it and that probably means changing out the entire panel,what is the model# of the panel?
 
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Old 09-03-16, 03:04 PM
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Square D breaker box QOC-20M series E7

Yes they both are on the same side of the panel.
 
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Old 09-03-16, 04:21 PM
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Whathe size is the main? A large breaker can take a lot of force to move.
 
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Old 09-03-16, 04:28 PM
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Yes they both are on the same side of the panel.
The may be flickering because they could be a multiwire circuit and you have a loose neutral.
 
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Old 09-03-16, 05:16 PM
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The breakers should be across from each other if they are on the same buss,if they are next to each other they are on different busses,if I remember correctly that is a 100 amp panel with the breaker across the top horizontally,(QO100)
Does this flickering happen on both circuits at the same time?
 
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Old 09-03-16, 10:40 PM
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Yes it is a 100 amp panel with the breaker across the top. The circuits effected are 1 and 2 and 5. I turned off all breakers(except Main) and checked for loose screws on each, none of them loose a couple I could turn a little and no change.

Should I start checking boxes on those circuits or does this seem to be in the panel? Lights on circuits 1 and 2 usually flicker when fridge (circuit 5) comes on but sometime by themselves. Fridge will dim/dip will motor running also.

No other circuits seem to be effected. The fact that this happened a few months ago for a few days and went away then came back has me stumped as well.
 
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Old 09-03-16, 10:49 PM
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1 - A ........ 2 - A
3 - B ........ 4 - B
5 - A ........ 6 - A
7 - B ........ 8 - B
9 - A ....... 10- A
................and so on.

The letter is the leg the breaker is on. Every row alternates from A leg to B leg.
So..... circuits 1, 2 and 5 are all on the A leg of the service.

That means everything on the A leg should be flickering.

Are you noticing any issues when any high current 240v items like the electric range is used ?
 
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Old 09-03-16, 11:12 PM
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Thanks, I haven't noticed any issues with the electric range and it is on leg A as is the dryer which I assume would be noticeable. I could be missing something but it seems to always be circuits 1,2 and 5.
 
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Old 09-03-16, 11:29 PM
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Since the dryer and the range are both 240v appliances.... they are on the A and B legs.
The breakers for those appliances will be directly over each other.... like 1 and 3 or 2 and 4.
 
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Old 09-04-16, 12:31 AM
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Ok, thank you. Does this seem to be a problem in the panel or in the receptacles? I will be checking those tomorrow.
 
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Old 09-04-16, 05:10 AM
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You can safely snap those breakers out and see if there is any arcing on the buss,maybe even get a new breaker and swap it out for one of the breakers for the flickering circuit.
 
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