little used circuit breaker keeps triping

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  #1  
Old 07-11-02, 02:53 PM
racenut
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Question little used circuit breaker keeps triping

Can anyone tell me what to do about a circuit breaker that keeps trippng? It got to about 116 degrees here in northern Cal. And that was in the shade. I own a 1976 fleetwide. It is a 20 by 60 3bed 2 bath. It seemed that no matter what you stopped using my breaker kept trippng until it finally cooled off. my brother in-law says to put a fan on it to help cool it. I say it probably needs to be replaced. The problem is that I have never replacedc a breaker before. How do you remove it and how do you install a new one? I know they just snap in but is there a easy way to get them out? I don't mean to sound stupid but I don't have a lot of money and any help would be appreciated.
Thanx,
racefan
 
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  #2  
Old 07-11-02, 03:27 PM
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Yes, maybe the breaker needs to be replaced. And yes maybe the fan would help (although it might be dangerous). But before doing either, you must determine if you have a real overload.

Tell us the amperage number on the breaker handle. Is the breaker a single-pole (i.e., just one handle)? Then shut off the breaker and determine by exhaustive search everything that runs off that breaker. Tell us what all those things are, and tell us what specifications you might know about those things (watts, horsepower, amps, tons, or whatever else you know).

If you have a real overload, you either need to move some of those loads to another circuit, or install a new circuit. Perhaps your air conditioner is just too big for the circuit it is plugged into.

Once we validate that all of this is okay, then we can consider what to do about the breaker.
 
  #3  
Old 07-11-02, 04:10 PM
racenut
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Well I thought that it was a overload problem too but I tried the process of eliminatio with it by un-plugging items to see if it would stop popping and nothing worked. Here is the scenereo(sp) :All day long the breaker supported the lights(2 banks of 2 40watt flouros)in the kitchen, the light in the laundry room(standard incadescent),the light and outlets in the master-bed. Plugged in to the outlets in the master-bed are:TV,Direct Tv receiver,VCR,small nightstand lamp,box fan. circulating fan,small room air conditioner at 125 volts rated at 15 amps. Now not all was on. Only the air conditioner and the tv and receiver and both fans and the small lamp. This had been on all day with more at times. It never tripped. After the heat of the day had been going all day it tripped. and no matter what we unplugged it continued to trip. Now that it has cooled off I have reset and it has been running again all day. We'll see if it trips again( today is supposed to be even hotter)tonight, just like last night. It waited until 9:00 pm to start last night. I hope it doesn't happen at all. I am going to put a fan on it in a little while. Why is that dangerous? The fan will come out of the bad area and go into a good area.
I hope I have answered your questions. I know that it is probably overloaded but money is hard to come by for a disabled person trying to buy his first home.I need a cheap fix.
Thank You for your help.
Thanx,
racefan
 
  #4  
Old 07-11-02, 04:13 PM
racenut
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oh by the way:it is a dual pole with one pole being 30 amps and the other pole being 15 amps. The 15 amp side keeps tripping. It is made by Bryant and is type BRD
 
  #5  
Old 07-11-02, 06:35 PM
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Yes, you have indeed confirmed that this is overloaded. Breakers trip under two circumstances: thermal and magnetic. Magnetic trips are for short circuits. Thermal (heat) trips are for overloads. You have a thermal overload.

A small overload will take a long time to build up the heat to trip the breaker. A larger overload will take less time for the breaker to trip. When it is hot outside, the A/C runs more, thus extending the length of the overload before allowing the breaker a few minutes to cool back down. This is why your breaker is now tripping.

It is possible that a new breaker would trip a bit slower than the old one. It'll only cost you a few bucks to try that experiment. Unfortunately, breaker replacement can be quite dangerous for the electrical novice.

It's also possible that the fan on the breaker will delay the trip. However, I don't recommend that you try to fool the breaker.

But both of these solutions, even if they worked, would continue to allow your circuit to run very near capacity. This means that the wires in your house are getting somewhere between warm and hot. I'm not saying that your house is going to burn down, but you are increasing the risk.

Here are some ideas:
  • Plug the TV into another circuit, even if you have to run an extension cord to do it.
  • Turn the air conditioner up some so it doesn't have to work so hard.
  • Read a good book instead of watching TV.
  • Wait until the weather cools down.
  • Wear less clothes.
  • Learn to like to sweat.
  • Go to the mall in the hottest part of the day.
  • Watch TV in your basement where it is naturally cooler.
 
  #6  
Old 07-18-02, 05:35 PM
racenut
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Still trips!

Weii I minimized all the oulets and I am still having a problem with it tripping. I mean an alarm clock amd a tv shouldn't be too much for a 15amp breaker should it? My question is:how do I get the old breaker out. It is in the middle of the other breakers.
Thanx,
racenut
 
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