Bad Breaker Suddenly Working

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Old 06-05-20, 06:18 PM
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Bad Breaker Suddenly Working

I have a breaker that went bad a year ago. It tripped, I reset it and part of my living area had no power, including the ceiling fans. During the year I fiddled with and today I decided to replace it and then noticed the ceiling fans and outlets were working. Why would it suddenly work?
 
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Old 06-05-20, 07:10 PM
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Breakers rarely go bad. It does happen, but it's more likely that there's a loose connection somewhere that is causing the intermittent issues.

What kind of panel is it and approximately how old?
 
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Old 06-05-20, 08:23 PM
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I didnít think breakers usually went bad. But I played with it a few times and could never get it to work. I left it on a few months ago and marked for future replacement. The circuit box is located outside and the meter says Elster. The breaker is 15 amp. The house is 12 years old. Thatís all I know about it. Another strange occurrence happened a few months ago. I turned on the backyard light and the ceiling fan light attached to the bad breaker came on. I turned it off and could never get it to turn on again. Shouldnít this be impossible? Is it possible some wires are crossed and a short circuit occurred? Also, for a number of years, all my GFCI outlets pop off occasionally and, living in Arizona, it seems to happen when it starts getting hot.
 
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Old 06-05-20, 09:16 PM
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Is it possible some wires are crossed and a short circuit occurred?
Typically a short will cause a breaker to trip.

If you suspect a bad breaker..... replace it.
However.... your problem sounds more like an intermittent neutral.
It could be loose in the panel or at any location inside the house that the circuit supplies.

GFI's rarely trip for no reason. They trip when a leak or imbalance to ground occurs. When it trips you need to check and see if that is the only receptacle that is dead or are there others. You could have several standard receptacles attached to the GFI and a problem at any one will trip the GFI.
 
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Old 06-05-20, 10:05 PM
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Thanks, Pjmax. It sounds like a job for an electrician if it's more than the breaker being bad. It's sometimes one that GFI that trips in the kitchen and sometimes both of them in the kitchen trip at different times. This has been happening every summer for years before the breaker problem.
 
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Old 06-05-20, 10:23 PM
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The GFI's are for your kitchen counter appliances.
Do they trip by themselves or only with appliances connected ?
If they only trip with appliances plugged in..... do those appliances have a three pin plug ?
 
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Old 06-06-20, 05:40 AM
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It sounds like there are a couple circuits that need troubleshooting. In a correctly-working electrical system, you shouldn't be having these problems.

Since the house is reasonably new, I'm wondering if the original electrician wired all the receptacles using the 'back-stabs', where the wires are pushed into a small hole in the back of the receptacles and switches. The wire is held in by a spring, and over time, that spring can loosen up, making the connections less secure.

It's definitely something we can help you troubleshoot if you want, or an electrician can take a look.
 
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Old 06-06-20, 05:32 PM
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The GFI's trip with nothing plugged in except the coffee maker which is usually off when it happens.
 
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Old 06-07-20, 05:28 AM
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Unlike breakers, GFI receptacles can and do go bad. Surges can shorten their life, and sometimes they just go kaput.

If the GFI receptacle trips with nothing plugged into it, I would replace it.
Note that many GFI installations have additional receptacles connected to the LOAD side, so if your new GFI trips too, there may be a problem further down the line.
 
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