Breaker breaks :)

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  #1  
Old 05-19-02, 04:17 PM
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Bender
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Question Breaker breaks :)

Hello all, we just bought a house and out home inspection found the following problem: one of the 15 amps circuit breakers shorts continuously. Then they found that power outlet in the garage is not working. How big of a job this is to fix it and what is it ? Newbie needs help. Any advice is appreciated.
 
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  #2  
Old 05-19-02, 04:58 PM
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FREDDYG_001
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Bender, What does that circuit breaker control that keeps tripping? Check to see if a gfci that may supply the feed to the garage has tripped. If so, reset it and see if things start to work out there. If a gfci does not supply the feed, post back.





Fred
 
  #3  
Old 05-19-02, 05:25 PM
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Dead-short trips are usally trivial and inexpensive to fix. Overload trips are harder to cure. A lot might also depend on whether any poorly-prepared individuals might have been doing any wiring in the house.
 
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Old 05-19-02, 06:52 PM
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Bender
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How do you find and check GFCI's?
 
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Old 05-19-02, 06:59 PM
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You find by looking. Look along every inch of every wall, both inside your house and out, inside closets, in the basement, behind the TV and the couch and the storage chest and those two sheets of plywood in your garage, in the kitchen, in the bathrooms, ... In other words, everywhere!!! Look for receptacles with "T" and "R" (or "TEST" and "RESET") buttons on them. Don't stop when you find the first one.

You check in two ways. First, plug a lamp or night-light in it to see if it works. If not, press the "R" (or "RESET") button and see if it works then.

But if your inspector is to be taken literally, i.e., that the breaker shorts (whatever he means by "shorts" -- I have assumed he means "trips"), then the problem is not likely a GFCI receptacle. If you can provide an exact quote from the inspector, it would help. Little wording differences make a lot of difference.
 
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Old 05-19-02, 07:23 PM
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Bender
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Thanks John, now I know what is meant by GCFI's. Here is the exact wording of the inspector: "Replace the 15 amp breaker 1 up from the bottom on the right. It shorts continously". I am not sure what kind of load is on that circuit. Is there a tester I could get and the circuit ?
 
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Old 05-19-02, 07:30 PM
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Okay. We don't know what the inspector knows or what he tested. But let's just assume he knows what he's talking about. It won't hurt to do what he says. Replacing the breaker will cost you $4 and five minutes of time. Not much reason not to try that first.

This job is not really a good one for a novice at home wiring. Do you have a friend or relative with some electrical experience that could help you? There is a not insignificant danger of death in this simple job.
 
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Old 05-19-02, 07:39 PM
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Bender
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I think my wife's uncle is a professional electrician. I can try asking him to take a look at it. John, another somewhat unrelated question for you. How crazy of a project is installing recessive lighting and how would I go about adding another circuit to my existing wiring and doing all this my myself?
 
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Old 05-19-02, 07:47 PM
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Installing recessed lighting is very simple. I assume you are talking about can lights, but of course there are other kinds of recessed fixtures too (e.g., recessed fluorescent fixtures). However, though the fixture installation is trivial, installing the wiring (if not already there) may not be.

Adding a new circuit is again trivial, assuming you have an extra space in your panel. However, again, the tricky part is getting the wiring from your panel to where you want to use the power. A lot depends on how far apart they are and what's in between and how your home is constructed. Attic and/or crawl space and/or basement access can make the job much easier. Adding lighting to the ceiling of the first floor in a two-story house is not quite so easy.

There are many good books on home wiring, both at your local public library and your local home improvement center, that tell you (almost) everything you need to know for projects of this type.

Have your wife's uncle take a look and make some recommendations when he comes over. But read the books first so you'll be able to understand what he tells you.
 
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Old 05-20-02, 06:42 AM
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Bender
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Thanks John for your advice. Can you recommend a basic home do it yourself book I can get either at the library or buy?
 
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Old 05-20-02, 07:34 AM
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One of the best books I have used in the past is the Reader's Digest Home Improvement and Repair. You should find it a t a library, Home Depot or the like, or Borders or Barnes and Noble
 
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Old 05-20-02, 07:35 AM
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Libor
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This Black & Decker series has the clearest illustrations and descriptions. There's "Basic Wiring" and "Advanced Wiring," about 12 bucks a book or you can buy them combined, which I'd recommend. Supplement it with a 2002 code guidebook. I think there's one called something like "Illustrated Guide to the 2002 NEC Code." It's about $50.
 
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Old 05-20-02, 08:09 AM
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I very strongly recommend against any wiring book by Black and Decker. Their illustrations and descriptions may be clear, but it's my experience that they are filled with misinformation, often very dangerous misinformation.

First, get any book with lots of color pictures. This is where you should start to learn the basics. Home Depot's "Wiring 1,2,3" ($14.97) is good, but there are others.

Then you can progress to "Wiring Simplified" (a $5.95 green paperback sold at Home Depot). This will give you lots of good code information.

If you still want more, you can get one of the more comprehensive (and more expensive) books, such as "Electrical Wiring Residential" by Ray C. Mullin, or "Wiring a House" (Home Depot $22.94) by Rex Cauldwell.

After you are a half-way expert, you can buy the 700-page NEC itself (about $60). However, until you already know quite a bit, this book can be pretty dangerous to use (it's easy to misinterpret, and people often quote passages that do not apply to the situation they quote it for).
 
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Old 05-20-02, 09:31 AM
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hotarc
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John, just curious as to what one might look out for in the B&D books. I own both of them, and while they are not the greatest books and sometimes defy the code in small ways, I haven't found anything particularly dangerous yet. Is there anything dangerous in particular that you can point out. I'm not trying to question your judgement, I just would like to know what to look out for. It seems to me I remember reading a few things that seemed a bit shaky. I have to agree that Mullin's Residential Wiring books are excellent and seem to be about the best I've found so far.
 
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Old 05-20-02, 10:06 AM
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Not sure exactly, since I don't own them and haven't looked at them for a while. But I have had to help people who have wired GFCI multiwire circuits using these books (look and see if they show a shared neutral connected to the load side of a GFCI). Also, there are apparently some illegal grounding instructions (check out how they say to provide grounding in various circumstances). There have been other code infractions endorsed by these books that I do not currently recall.
 
  #16  
Old 05-20-02, 03:45 PM
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Wgoodrich
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I have refected some inspections of those using the author you mentioned, John.

They tend to tell you how to make it work but are not experts in making it work within the minimum safety standards. Sometimes they are generic enough that people misread what is meant inviting the work to be done without meeting the minimum safety standards of the NEC.

Just my experiences

Wg
 
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