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edscott 02-04-2013 07:40 PM

Circuit Breaker cover
I replaced a circuit breaker with a grand new one today and after turning it on, everything worked properly. However, when I put the breaker wall plate back on, the breaker tripped. Took the wall plate off, and it worked again. This has happened many times with this same breaker, no matter which slot I use in the breaker box.
I left the box open. It is behind a shelf and not easily accessed so I don't see any problem with anyone tampering with it, but wonder if it is safe to keep it open.

Anyone have any idea why the breaker would trip when the face plate is on, yet work fine when the plate is off? Especially when considering that I have moved the breaker to another location in the box. Very confused.

TarheelTerp 02-04-2013 08:57 PM


Originally Posted by edscott (Post 1109683)
I replaced a circuit breaker with a grand new one today...

did you have the problem BEFORE you installed the new breaker?

Trucon01 02-04-2013 09:34 PM

Is the box and wall plate metal or plastic?

philS 02-04-2013 09:45 PM

Typically, this is because the cover plate for some reason hits the breaker handle and trips it. Check to make sure you've mounted the plate so it doesn't touch the breaker handle. There's often enough slop in the cover plate holes so that you can move the plate around quite a bit and still get the screws in.

Missouri Bound 02-04-2013 10:01 PM

What's a "breaker wall plate"? Are you talking about the outlet box? Is this a GFCI breaker?

philS 02-05-2013 07:11 AM


Originally Posted by Missouri Bound (Post 1109785)
What's a "breaker wall plate"? Are you talking about the outlet box? Is this a GFCI breaker?

I think it's pretty obvious he's talking about about a load panel and the metal cover. I also think it's likely he isn't with us anymore. Cheers.

rrolleston 02-05-2013 07:27 AM

I would say that one of the screws is hitting a hot wire and tripping the breaker and the breaker panel can't be hidden behind a shelf.

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edscott 02-05-2013 09:32 AM

Circuit Breaker Cover
Yes, I am talking about the metal cover. This problem has happened before, over the last 2 years or so the breaker has tripped numerous times. Eventually the breaker would not work at all. I have checked the wires that are connected to the breaker and they don't seem to be touching any part of the cover. But I will recheck and try again,. Thanks. I will post later.

edscott 02-05-2013 09:51 AM

Checked the cover screws
Okay, I just checked the cover screws and it seems like one of the screws might be touching a ground wire going across the bottom of the box. I will adjust the ground wires to place them further back in the box. Won't get to this until later in the day. Thanks again for all the help.

rrolleston 02-05-2013 09:52 AM

Also breakers that trip repeatedly wear out easily. Could be a short somewhere that you are not seeing.

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edscott 02-06-2013 10:22 AM

I have one followup question which I will access later in the day. One of the suggestions was that it was possible that one of the cover plate screws was hitting a wire. I checked inside the box and none of the wires connecting to the breaker are near the screws, but the ground wires in the bottom of the box may have been touched by one of the screws. Would the screw touching the ground wire cause the breaker to trip?

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