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Old 12-14-2008, 11:59 PM   #1
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Our main circuit breaker keeps tripping, It seems to be hot and we cannot get it to go back on for a minute or so. It's happening more often. Should we call an electrician or try and replace it first?

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Last edited by dabado3; 12-15-2008 at 12:39 AM.
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Old 12-15-2008, 12:13 AM   #2
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You need to call an electrician right away.

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Old 12-15-2008, 12:19 AM   #3
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Thank you for your quick response! What makes you think its bad? Never happened before and why would it not be just a bad breaker? My husband was goingto go buy a new one tomorrow. What causes this and why did it just start happening? Electricians are expensive
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Old 12-15-2008, 01:15 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by dabado3 View Post
Electricians are expensive
Fires are expensive.

How much is your life and your family's safety worth?

A main breaker is not a cheap replacement in most panels. You can't change the main without having the power disconnected at or before the meter in most setups. It is ILLEGAL to pull the meter head yourself, and dangerous. Messing with your main breaker includes the serious potential for injury or DEATH if you don't understand what you dealing with.

If this was something that you could deal with on your own, we would be glad to help you.

You need a professional to help with this situation.

Jamie
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:42 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jamiedolan View Post
Fires are expensive.

How much is your life and your family's safety worth?

A main breaker is not a cheap replacement in most panels. You can't change the main without having the power disconnected at or before the meter in most setups. It is ILLEGAL to pull the meter head yourself, and dangerous. Messing with your main breaker includes the serious potential for injury or DEATH if you don't understand what you dealing with.

If this was something that you could deal with on your own, we would be glad to help you.

You need a professional to help with this situation.

Jamie
Well put Jamie! There are some things that a DIY just should not do themselves. Un-Fused service entrance conductors can create one helluva spark and will kill long before any upstream device opens the circuit. Something about "Arc Flash"? (If you are curious, look up videos regarding Arc Flash)

Likely whats going on is the terminals were not fully tight when the panel was installed, so the main hot conductors are arcing inside the breaker contacts heating up the breaker. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TIGHTEN THESE LUGS!!! You will likely snap them off not to mention the severe shock hazard you could recieve from trying to tighten down a (electrically) hot lug.

I have seen one case I was called to take a look at and power to half the panel was going out on occasion, what happened is one leg in the main breaker had become loose (or was loose upon first install) and had been arcing enough that the last 4-5 inches of the insulation was melted inside the panel, the lug on the main breaker it was 'resting in' was destroyed.
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Old 12-15-2008, 02:39 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dabado3 View Post
hot
cannot get it to go back on
It's probably tripping for valid reasons.
happening more often.
There is an overload somewhere downstream of the breaker that is trending toward a total short.
What makes you think its bad?
Your description of [text-book, classical] symptoms and my experience and education.
Arc flash is very dangerous and shocks are no fun, either. I think this job could fairly be classified as a Widow-Maker.

I've done risky things but I wouldn't replace this breaker myself unless PoCo cut the power first and maybe not even then.

What number is on the breaker handle?

Last edited by Yoyizit; 12-15-2008 at 02:46 PM.
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Old 12-15-2008, 08:45 PM   #7
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Electricians are expensive

So are funerals.



It's not rocket science but the main power must be disconnected before attempting to replace a main breaker. This may have to be done by the power company, removing the meter.

There may also be issues on the bus where the breaker plugs in. This is the back of a main breaker that had gotten burned badly opver the years. It's a progressive thing. The more burning, the more resistance, the more heat, the more amperage.

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Last edited by 220/221; 12-15-2008 at 08:51 PM.
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