Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-18-2010, 09:53 PM   #1
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Newburgh, NY - 12550
Posts: 36
Share |
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


Circuit Breaker Broken?
Is there a chance that a circuit breaker can be broken & remain on even when turned off?

I'm replacing a dishwasher & disconnected the waterline, pulled the unit out from under the counter, & saw that it's hardwired directly to a junction box behind it. I went to the circuit panel to shut off the breaker for it so I can remove the wire, but it does nothing.

The power is still on so I assumed that the panel is labeled wrong. I started turning off other breakers & checking the dishwasher for power & still couldn't shut it off. I also discovered that there are a couple of other breakers that are labeled for certain things, but they don't shut off what they are supposed to, nor anything else.

I went around matching lights & outlets to breakers verifying which circuit is which, & pretty much eliminated all possibilities. There are a few that are 220 so I know it isn't those. Any ideas would really be appreciated.

Thanks.

Bob Deb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2010, 10:00 PM   #2
nap
You talking to me?
 
nap's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: sw mi
Posts: 5,407
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


Quote:
=Bob Deb;536686]Circuit Breaker Broken?
Is there a chance that a circuit breaker can be broken & remain on even when turned off?
absolutely

Quote:
I'm replacing a dishwasher & disconnected the waterline, pulled the unit out from under the counter, & saw that it's hardwired directly to a junction box behind it. I went to the circuit panel to shut off the breaker for it so I can remove the wire, but it does nothing
. are you sure you are turning off the correct breaker? Is it possible somebody mislabeled the breakers?

Quote:
I went around matching lights & outlets to breakers verifying which circuit is which, & pretty much eliminated all possibilities. There are a few that are 220 so I know it isn't those. Any ideas would really be appreciated.
do you have a voltage tester of some sort? I would start with checking voltage at the breakers that appear to be problems. Check them while on then turn them off and recheck.

A breaker can break and stay "on" even when turned off. It doesn't happen a lot so if you have several, I would question that what is happening is what you are believing it to be.

nap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-18-2010, 10:01 PM   #3
" Euro " electrician
 
frenchelectrican's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: WI & France { in France for now }
Posts: 5,369
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


Go ahead and try to flip the two pole 20 amp breaker that some case you will find that run to dishwasher/ Garbage dispoal

There are some circuits are MWBC { multi wire branch circuit } will use two pole breakers as well so look for that as well.

Not too often the breaker will malfunction like that but I have see it once a while.

Merci.
Marc
frenchelectrican is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-19-2010, 06:11 AM   #4
Electrical Contractor
 
kbsparky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Delmarva
Posts: 3,368
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


Turn them ALL off, then back on one at a time. Turn each one back off before testing the next one. Do this for all breakers, even after you think you have found the one breaker for your dishwasher circuit.

You may discover there is more than one breaker that makes your dishwasher circuit hot.
__________________
-KB

Life is uncertain -- eat dessert first!!
kbsparky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2010, 09:36 AM   #5
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Newburgh, NY - 12550
Posts: 36
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


Thanks for the quick replies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nap View Post

do you have a voltage tester of some sort? I would start with checking voltage at the breakers that appear to be problems. Check them while on then turn them off and recheck.

A breaker can break and stay "on" even when turned off. It doesn't happen a lot so if you have several, I would question that what is happening is what you are believing it to be.

I did this last night & found that there are 2 breakers that test positive for power when they are in the off position. And to be 100% sure, I tested every single breaker in the panel to be safe. The 2 that didn't turn off, one is labeled "Dishwasher" & the other isn't labeled.

Since the new dishwasher is being delivered & the old one being taken today, I simply turned off the main to disconnect it & put the wire nuts on until I can get a new pair of breakers later.

Thanks again for the help.
Bob Deb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2010, 09:40 AM   #6
Member
 
joed's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Welland, Ontario
Posts: 7,441
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


Did you test the breakers with all of them turned off? If there is a cross connect between two circuits the power will test on at the breaker because it is being fed from another breaker.
__________________
Do not PM with questions that can be asked in a forum. I will not respond.
joed is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2010, 09:42 AM   #7
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Western Maine
Posts: 201
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


Are your breakers made by "Federal Pacific" or "FPE"? If so you've got a brand of breakers famous for this sort of problem. (Their most well-known problem is simply refusing to trip automatically, but a large number of them also don't open when operated manually).

Zinsco is another brand famous for not tripping - I don't know if they had the manual-open failure also.

In either case, it needs to be rectified. If they're FPE or Zinsco it's best to replace all of them... Other brands - at the very least, the defective ones need to be replaced.
emolatur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2010, 08:27 PM   #8
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Newburgh, NY - 12550
Posts: 36
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by joed View Post
Did you test the breakers with all of them turned off? If there is a cross connect between two circuits the power will test on at the breaker because it is being fed from another breaker.
No, I tested them all individually, once in the on position, & once in the off position. I will try it the way you mentioned tomorrow by turning them all off & retesting each one.


Quote:
Originally Posted by emolatur View Post
Are your breakers made by "Federal Pacific" or "FPE"? If so you've got a brand of breakers famous for this sort of problem. (Their most well-known problem is simply refusing to trip automatically, but a large number of them also don't open when operated manually).

Zinsco is another brand famous for not tripping - I don't know if they had the manual-open failure also.

In either case, it needs to be rectified. If they're FPE or Zinsco it's best to replace all of them... Other brands - at the very least, the defective ones need to be replaced.
I believe "Square D" is on all of them.


Thanks again.
Bob Deb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-20-2010, 10:12 PM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Western Maine
Posts: 201
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


Square-D is (at least currently) a pretty good manufacturer, and what you describe is not a common problem with them.
emolatur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-28-2010, 11:25 PM   #10
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Newburgh, NY - 12550
Posts: 36
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


Just to follow up since I have a moment....

I turned all the breakers off & the power to the dishwasher was indeed off when it was in the off position. I turned all the breakers back on one by one until the dishwasher breaker showed power. So, there are two breakers that work in unison with one another & as long as one of them is on, the other will have power, even in the off position.

I removed the old dishwasher, installed the new one, turn the power back on, & everything is fine. I'm wondering though, this is the first time I have never seen two breakers work together like this. Is there any reason it's done this way, or should I be looking to change it so each breaker works alone?

Thanks again, Bob
Bob Deb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2010, 12:01 AM   #11
nap
You talking to me?
 
nap's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: sw mi
Posts: 5,407
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


It sounds like you have two circuits connected in the field. You need to find that connection and remove it.
nap is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2010, 08:30 AM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Western Maine
Posts: 201
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


Does the dishwasher plug into a duplex receptacle (two outlets, one box - basically a normal outlet since I'll bet you've never seen a non-duplex one)?

Is there something else nearby that uses the other receptacle? Or could there be? Garbage disposal maybe?

I'm guessing the outlet was supposed to be split-wired and on two different circuits, and somebody neglected to remove the tab on the side of the receptacle.



"ring circuits" are common overseas, but illegal here. It would serve you well to figure out where it's joined and un-join it.
emolatur is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2010, 12:09 PM   #13
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Newburgh, NY - 12550
Posts: 36
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


The old dishwasher was hardwired to a junction box directly behind it, so I used the same set up & wired the new one that way too. The other breaker that is tied to it somewhere, controls the garbage disposal & the ceiling lights in the kitchen. The disposal is plugged into a receptacle under the sink & not hardwired.

The wire from the panel appears to go straight up through the basement ceiling under the wall behind the dishwasher. The disposal is on a different wall, an exterior wall that is adjacent, & the switch for the ceiling light on yet another wall. I suppose there could be a hidden connection or junction box somewhere that I will have to find.

Thanks again, Bob
Bob Deb is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2010, 12:47 PM   #14
Electrical Contractor
 
kbsparky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Delmarva
Posts: 3,368
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


The easy fix here is to remove one of the wires from the breaker, and cap it off.

At least, do that part first.

THEN, you can hunt down the point where the circuits were double-fed/tied together. Once you disconnect that center point, then and only then should you reconnect the capped off wire back to the other breaker.
__________________
-KB

Life is uncertain -- eat dessert first!!
kbsparky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11-29-2010, 01:42 PM   #15
Electrical Contractor
 
jbfan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Newnan GA
Posts: 5,730
Default

Circuit Breaker Question


Are you sure that it is not a 2 pole breaker?

__________________
Yes I am a Pirate, 200 years too late. "Jimmy Buffett"
jbfan is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Need to ID old circuit breaker box oldfeller Electrical 11 07-26-2010 04:00 PM
Heat pump circuit breaker pbms pinkertonpv HVAC 11 02-18-2009 09:47 AM
Circuit BReaker Question - breaker didn't trip and no power thru the circuit Ronin_67 Electrical 2 08-08-2008 06:06 AM
Heat Pump compressor trips circuit breaker joejean HVAC 3 08-28-2006 12:15 PM
Circuit breaker keep retripping Gregg Electrical 4 02-18-2006 05:11 AM




Top of Page | View New Posts

Copyright © 2003-2014 Escalate Media. All Rights Reserved.