Bus bar melting.. do I need to upgrade my panel?

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Old 09-18-19, 10:44 AM
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Bus bar melting.. do I need to upgrade my panel?

Mother of 5 here and completely clueless about electricity. About a month ago, I noticed lights flickering in my kitchen. Next morning woke up to the electricity being off in half my kitchen. Of course it's the half with my fridge, oven and microwave. I call an electrician and he shows me that my breaker is burned up and the busbar is melted. Also that the busbar is melting behind my main switch too. He says my 100amp panel is not enough to run my house. It's going to cost $3,000 to upgrade to 200amp. I can't afford that. He replaces the burned breaker. Fast forward to this morning and it happened again. And the breaker is sizzling. Is there anything I can do besides update the whole panel. I should mention I got a new fridge and new AC over a year ago. Would this have resulted in overloading my circuits? I'm in Southern California
 
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Old 09-18-19, 12:37 PM
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There is nothing you can do once the main starts to burn.
 
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Old 09-18-19, 01:44 PM
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I'm surprised the electrician was willing to put it back in the original condition. If it was the utility I'm betting they would put a lock on it.

You can't afford $3000. Can you afford to loose your life and children in a fire? I don't mean to sound so coarse but the facts are plain. You have a very dangerous situation. Get a loan, beg borrow or steal, but don't continue the way you are.
 
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Old 09-18-19, 03:48 PM
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Also get a couple more estimates form other electricians.
 
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Old 09-18-19, 07:10 PM
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What is the brand of the panel and how old would you guess it is? It would also be helpful to know the loads on the circuits with issues.
 
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Old 09-19-19, 04:13 AM
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Definitely get in another electrician.
I do not know why he felt you needed to upgrade to 200 amp.
This involves not only a new panel and breakers but a new drop line from the power pole to the house and usually a new meter and service entrance.
I do find this "Of course it's the half with my fridge, oven and microwave." troubling.
The fridge should be on it's own breaker, same goes for the microwave and if the stove is electric it should have it;s own double breaker but perhaps you just lost half the line so even if they have their own breakes they would not work.

If your house was pulling too much current then you mains 100 amp breaker would tripping.


Overheating/melting is due to poor connections not current draw.
For there to be heat there has to be resistance.

It does sound like at the very least you will need a new panel as the old one is damaged.
This may also require all new breakers.
Perhaps you panel is a crappy one also there are some old panels out there that use breakers that would not be acceptable today. Even some that replacement breakers are very expensive.

Get this done ASAP as you are in danger!!!!!!
 
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Old 09-19-19, 04:41 AM
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Another vote here for "have this taken care of immediately"!!

Upgrading to 200 amps really does not sound like the correct approach with what you describe so far.

Replacing existing equipment (panel and breakers) does. I would for sure call in at least 3 more licensed electricians and have them give you an "apple to apple" estimate explaining what the problem is that is causing it and their remedy etc.

And do this very soon!!
 
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Old 09-19-19, 05:24 PM
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He says my 100amp panel is not enough to run my house.
I highly doubt this is true. Hundreds of thousands of homes have 100 amp services are they are just fine. Unless you have recently added a bunch of loads like an electric dryer, 2nd range, or hot tub 100 amps should be just fine.

Just doing a panel swap will likely come in about half your original quote. The local inspector may try to require them to make some other upgrades like the meter socket, but I suspect if you explain to them your panel is failing, and show them the condition of the old panel, they might let it slide.

Just curious, what brand of panel is it?
 
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Old 09-20-19, 08:39 AM
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I highly doubt this is true. Hundreds of thousands of homes have 100 amp services are they are just fine.
Agree 100%. Yes, you need a panel change, but it doesn't really sound like upgrading to 200 amps is necessary.

He replaces the burned breaker. Fast forward to this morning and it happened again. And the breaker is sizzling.
That was a temporary fix till you could get the panel changed, like within the following week. Sounds like your time is up. You obviously have an aluminum bus panel and this can happen, have seen it many times.
 
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