Another circuit breaker tripping with no load question


Old 09-24-18, 07:56 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 6
Another circuit breaker tripping with no load question

Apologies for length of this post...figure more detail is better than less...

This just happened a couple hours ago. Heard a *pop* in the kitchen, went to turn on the lights (three recessed cans with CFL bulbs) lights. Checked two GFCI outlets on one side of counter (by plugging in and turning on an electric blanket) power. Did not smell anything or notice any scorch marks. Checked two outlets on different counter and they were OK.

I checked the electrical panel and sure enough breaker (20 amp) was tripped. Only thing on this circuit (according to breaker note) is the counter receptacles and the lights (garbage disposal is on two gang receptacle but separate circuit). There is also a landline RJ-16 jack next to one of the GFCI outlets on that side of the kitchen, I assume that has nothing to do with this but figured I'd mention it.

I reset the breaker, lights and receptacles all worked. However, wife (who was checking things in kitchen while I was at the panel) said at first only two of the three lights lit up, one of them took a couple seconds to brighten. As mentioned they are CFL bulbs so they do start out dim and it takes a few seconds to reach max brightness. In an abundance of caution, I flipped the breaker off (getting late in evening in Chicago anyway).

When we heard the pop, the kitchen lights were off and there was nothing plugged into either outlet.

About two months ago, we had a full height backsplash installed (new counters as well) and I added plastic extender boxes (Carlon blue plastic extenders: to these outlets (and two other non GFI outlets and the garbage disposal switch as well). When wrestling with those (very tight fit getting the GFCI outlet into the Carlon), might I have bunched up the wires in some way to create a short circuit or something like that? I had to pull the outlets out a bit to fit the extender and then pushed them back in.

In doing a bit of research on this subject before posting, seems most sites say if you reset the breaker and it holds, don't worry a whole lot...but if it trips again or multiple times, get it addressed. I have a healthy respect for electricity, kind of feel this needs to be looked at by someone with more knowledge than myself.

For what it is worth, the can lights and all outlets are original to my condo which was built in 1998. I don't recall anything like this happening before. Thanks in advance.
Sponsored Links
Old 09-24-18, 08:02 PM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 14,804
Likes Received: 6
The lights should not be on the same circuit as the receptacles. Was any wiring changed when the backsplash was added?
Old 09-25-18, 08:56 AM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 6
No wiring changes have ever been done, though sounds like 20 years ago perhaps some corners were cut.

The only things done recently related to kitchen changes regarding wiring were simply adding the extenders. New garbage disposal and new dishwasher installed, but those 2 appliances are on separate, shared circuit (also probably not the best idea to have these 2 appliances on same circuit).

That's unfortunate that lights should have their own circuit - we only use the shared outlet for a toaster (unplugged unless in use) or sometimes charging cell phones. There are separate circuits for fridge and microwave, and another circuit for two other outlets and the gas range (also probably not the best approach).

Anyway I contacted an electrician this morning, who will be coming out to take a look. He believes the lights are the issue. In the meantime, I have turned off the breaker and plan to keep that off unless we are in need of kitchen lights. I may bring in a floor lamp and use one of the other receptacles not on turned off circuit (did that this morning).
Old 09-25-18, 09:59 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 50,693
Likes Received: 115
Dishwasher and disposal are fine on their own 20A circuit.

It's not that the lights should have their own circuit..... the countertop receptacle circuits are supposed to be dedicated to countertop receptacles only.

A quick story.... I worked in a customers home installing a security system. I'm an electrician/alarm installer. The customer had a lot of electrical wiring work done there recently. I was in a bedroom installing a keypad and when I was cutting a hole for a box I heard a snap. The electrician had installed a dimmer and mashed the wires into the box. The hot wire got nicked from the clamp and arced. If I hadn't heard that snap I would have had to check the entire circuit for a fault.

You will probably need to pull out each device on that circuit and look very closely for an arc mark in the box. Usually in the back where the wire is clamped. I severely doubt lights that were turned off caused the problem.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes