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Old 11-04-2009, 06:55 PM   #1
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Dead Breaker? and Nusiance Tripping...


Hi Everyone. First Time Poster here.

Thank you all for having a forum like this!

My current issue might fall under "Dead Breaker and Nuisance Tripping".
as I appear to have a dead breaker, and 3 or 4 15A breakers that trip even under even just a medium sized load.

The back story:

Three weeks ago my home warranty company replaced my indoor Air Handler Unit and outdoor compressor. They messed with my breakers (turned them off and on at various times) when doing it, and ran some new electrical wiring for the new units (but did not replace any breakers).

One night last week my downstairs basement flooded. Investigation revealed a tripped septic pump breaker that had been tripped for who knows how long. When I reset the breaker, the pump didn't come on. Further investigation revealed no power to the receptacle that the pump plugs into, even with the breaker closed. I currently am powering the outdoor septic pump with an extension cord.

A few days later, I start getting all these nuisance trips from various 15A wall and lighting receptical breakers even under a midlevel strain from a 900W space heater and a few cfi lights. These are breakers that worked fine a month ago under similar strain. I have ruled out a faulty 900W space heater, as I have three different ones, and they all do it.

Below is a couple really awful pics of the breakers that are tripping.

Markings say " Square D 120v/240v 15Kv 15A".

How do I troubleshoot/repair the dead breaker (or is it a dead breaker)? How do I figure out what is causing the nuisance tripping? Are these problems related? Did the HVAC guys insert some ground in my system and give birth to all these gremlins? Is this just a simple matter of replacing the breakers that are dead and/or tripping?

Thank you all in advance for your help!





Last edited by jasonblu; 11-04-2009 at 07:00 PM.
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Old 11-04-2009, 07:15 PM   #2
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Dead Breaker? and Nusiance Tripping...


Yep, bad pics. What breakers are tripping?
Are they all 2 pole breakers?
I would call the warrenty company and explain they need to send an electrician and not an hvac guy out to find and fix the problem.

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Old 11-04-2009, 07:24 PM   #3
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Dead Breaker? and Nusiance Tripping...


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Originally Posted by jbfan View Post
Yep, bad pics. What breakers are tripping?
Are they all 2 pole breakers?
I would call the warrenty company and explain they need to send an electrician and not an hvac guy out to find and fix the problem.
Yeah, lets hear it for low light iphone pics! yeah!

So, you are thinking that the HVAC techs inserted some sort of fault in my whole electrical system thus causing the dead and tripping breakers?

Two pole? I might be wrong here, but I think the breakers that have been tripping are all single pole, 120v. (they are the thinner ones, right?) Two pole are for circuits that feed appliances, and such, correct?
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Old 11-04-2009, 07:31 PM   #4
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Dead Breaker? and Nusiance Tripping...


It is hard to say what they did.
Does the AC work right?
From top to bottom on the left will be odd numbered breakers and even on the right side.
Which breakers are tripping/not working?
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Old 11-04-2009, 08:44 PM   #5
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Dead Breaker? and Nusiance Tripping...


Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonblu View Post
They messed with my breakers (turned them off and on at various times) when doing it, and ran some new electrical wiring for the new units (but did not replace any breakers).
Possibly they loosened the connections to the breakers, causing local heating, causing premature tripping.

Tighten down all screws on the breakers that are tripping.
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Old 11-04-2009, 11:24 PM   #6
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Dead Breaker? and Nusiance Tripping...


Quote:
Three weeks ago my home warranty company replaced my indoor Air Handler Unit and outdoor compressor. They messed with my breakers (turned them off and on at various times) when doing it, and ran some new electrical wiring for the new units (but did not replace any breakers).
That kinda raise a question is this done by HVAC company or subcontractor? { they should have electrician liscence to deal with it unless that state have specal clause the HVAC only do their equiment that it nothing more out of the scope if get out of the scope they must have correct qaulifed person to work on the rest of system }

And the other thing if your breaker box is not listed on dictory listing like blank paper that can raise serious issue when someone looking for correct breaker in hurry.

Speaking of SqD QO breakers they are pretty well rugged and not much quriks and been around for over 40 something years so it been very well designed unit but as time go by some parts can get aged so it may have to replace the breaker if very weak.

I will suggest that you talk to that company and see if they can send their qualifed electrician to deal with it

Merci,Marc
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:58 AM   #7
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Dead Breaker? and Nusiance Tripping...


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Originally Posted by frenchelectrican View Post
That kinda raise a question is this done by HVAC company or subcontractor? { they should have electrician liscence to deal with it unless that state have specal clause the HVAC only do their equiment that it nothing more out of the scope if get out of the scope they must have correct qaulifed person to work on the rest of system }

And the other thing if your breaker box is not listed on dictory listing like blank paper that can raise serious issue when someone looking for correct breaker in hurry.

Speaking of SqD QO breakers they are pretty well rugged and not much quriks and been around for over 40 something years so it been very well designed unit but as time go by some parts can get aged so it may have to replace the breaker if very weak.

I will suggest that you talk to that company and see if they can send their qualifed electrician to deal with it

Merci,Marc
I think I need to clarify something, as alot of folks are homing in on the HVAC work. When I say they ran new electrical wiring, what I meant was they connected the new system using the existing wiring - maybe used some pigtail extensions, I dont know, but they did NOT run wires from the HVAC to the circuit breaker. When I say they messed with the breaker box, I meant they just turned them off an on. Sorry to mislead like that.

My suspicion is that I have 1 breaker that has completely failed (the one that feeds the septic) and about 3 others that are getting "weak". I have read elsewhere that since these breakers operate on an electomagnetic principle, over time if they trip, then retain a magnetic field, thus reducing the threshold to another trip - and the only remedy is to simply replace the breakers.

However, if the HVAC guys rubbed some new wire bare and have created a ground in my system, could that also cause other random breakers to trip under medium strain.

Is there some test I can do to see if there is a short in my system?

Should I just go to a big box store, buy 4 breakers and replace them and the try my 900W heater again on each new circuit?

Thanks!
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Old 11-05-2009, 08:13 PM   #8
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Dead Breaker? and Nusiance Tripping...


The cost of new breaker on QO is not bad at all it depending on where you get it from and yeah big box store will carry them no quesiton asked

But becarefull when you open up the cover and look for any loose connection there is a taletale sign is burnt or discolor mark on the conductor espcally on netural bussbar that you need to look little more closer.

Otherwise with your SqD load centre it pretty easy to swap breaker but before you do that make sure you turn off the main breaker for that box and go ahead and flip it out it will come out little hard { some case easy } and install the new one in and test it and it should be working good as long you have good circuit you will have no issue at all.

Merci,
Marc
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Old 11-06-2009, 09:51 AM   #9
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Dead Breaker? and Nusiance Tripping...


You could have the counterfeit breakers.

http://www.consumeraffairs.com/recal...8/squared.html

Check and see.
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Old 11-06-2009, 07:13 PM   #10
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Dead Breaker? and Nusiance Tripping...


My gues is that it's not a nuisance trip. I think the breakers are doing their jobs. A 900 watt space heater is close to half of your allowable 15 amps. The only way to know for sure is but using a meter to test the load on the circuit.

The dead breaker is probably not dead. Only 1 in 100 service call are as easy as a bad breaker. Again you need to test and locate the fault which can turn into a fiasco.

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