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Old 01-03-2012, 08:30 PM   #1
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Burnt wiring......


Hello everyone,
I had a complaint that a resident had no heat......An electric system,heat and cool, "First Company" air handler with 2 speed motor,dual fan with heating element in the ceiling and Weather King condenser on the roof...

I checked the panel and breaker(s) not tripped...Then checked voltage at t-stat and no power...
Opened up the ceiling panel to the handler and found burnt wiring....
Direct from the breaker panel wiring before fan relay,transformer, etc...
The breaker(dbl 30 heat and dbl cool) did not trip when this occurred...
It got HOT and melted the hot lead on the 240V side of the transformer.....Why didn't the breaker trip??????
Anyway, the system is only 7-years old and kind of got me on edge...
I cleaned up the damaged wiring and hooked it back together and ran heat through several cycles.....Voltages look good at transformer,relays and heating element.
Used laser at vents and getting consistent 110 F' temps....
What could have caused this melt-down??????????

Right now my guess is arcing or shorting from loose wire-nut. As far as I can tell, no one has been messing around in there- resident confirmed this since he has been the only one living there since building was built....

Anyway, I would appreciate any input...
Thanks!!!

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Old 01-03-2012, 08:35 PM   #2
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Burnt wiring......


Lose wires lead to significant heat build up......breakers are designed to trip on a over load or a short.....not from heat. Replace the breaker as it is now comprimized to a point that it may not trip on a over load.

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Old 01-03-2012, 10:22 PM   #3
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Burnt wiring......


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Lose wires lead to significant heat build up......breakers are designed to trip on a over load or a short.....not from heat. Replace the breaker as it is now comprimized to a point that it may not trip on a over load.

How is the breaker "compromised"?
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:19 PM   #4
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Burnt wiring......


from my experiance, breakers go bad with excess heat. I have seen some that will not ever break (welded closed inside) and some that will break at 12 amps on a 15 amp breaker. They just wear out if abused. its cheap insurance to replace them if you know about an overheating situation, or if the breaker has had to trip a lot. its just cheap peice of mind.

as to the burnt wires. Copper to copper is fine,but can get hot if the connection is at all loose. aluminum to copper needs yearly maint and visual inspection. I also suggest an anti oxidant paste on all wire nut connections no matter what the wire type is. but thats just me...
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Old 01-03-2012, 11:33 PM   #5
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Burnt wiring......


Excessive heat? There was no excessive heat at the breaker (at least not that the OP stated). The heat was at the transformer connection. And do you actually think anyone checks their wire connections regularly? Are you suggesting that everyone opens their junction boxes and does an inspection? And as far as the anti oxidant paste....it's for connections which have copper and aluminum joined.....hmm.
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:25 AM   #6
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Burnt wiring......


loose wire connection will cause that. Did you pull a amp draw on each load? the breaker cares about the wire not the load. Replace both breakers to be sure that the breaker is not at fault.
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Old 01-04-2012, 05:43 AM   #7
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Burnt wiring......


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And as far as the anti oxidant paste....it's for connections which have copper and aluminum joined.....hmm.
I was told by the elec. insp. that I had to use the paste on all aluminum connections. At the main panel outside, and in the house.

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Old 01-04-2012, 08:04 AM   #8
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Burnt wiring......



Guys, I am just a diy'er with some limited experience. I worked for a master electrician for 1 year and my grandfather, who was what I consider a master "AC Man" for 5 years. The use of Noalox on copper to copper connections, again my opinion, will keep oxidation away from the conductors. Oxidation can increase resistance in the conductor, which translates to heat. There of course is no substitute for good workmanship in making electrical connections.

I have also seen breakers glowing dark orange hot and not fail, so what do I know!!!! LOL
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:13 AM   #9
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Burnt wiring......


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Excessive heat? There was no excessive heat at the breaker (at least not that the OP stated). The heat was at the transformer connection. And do you actually think anyone checks their wire connections regularly? Are you suggesting that everyone opens their junction boxes and does an inspection? And as far as the anti oxidant paste....it's for connections which have copper and aluminum joined.....hmm.
Yes Sir, I suggest that the main panel be inspected yearly, I do. But then again, I torque the connections about once every 5 or so years, with a torque wrench, as per the manf specs on the breakers. As to junction boxes. No I dont suggest it, but then again I put noalox on everything and I do tape wirenuts, outlets and switches to eliminate the chance of shorts or shocks. Junction box fill ratios are also important to understand. So my take is that workmanship and knowing local code regulations is important for all DIY'ers and home owners.

And yes, no one would like to do work on my house, cause I am one of those guys who is right over their shoulder.... watching!!! LOL The good part is that I warn them before the job that I do this. LOL

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