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Old 02-05-2009, 11:28 AM   #1
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Main Breaker is tripping


I have a question, the main breaker in our home is tripping off (cutting power to the whole house) everyday....and sometime more then once... First it was when we had everything on, which I understood, (couple of space heaters, baseboard heaters, furnace fan, dryer..etc), now it seems if we have anything going it it'll trip again...and again and again...

So, is this a major electrical problem, or does the breaker wear out? It's at the point now, when I try to re-engage the breaker, it take a few attempts before it catches and the power is restored. The breaker will even go to the "on" position but the power still won't be on...

Can anyone help me here?

Thanks,

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Old 02-05-2009, 11:31 AM   #2
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Main Breaker is tripping


I think your main breaker is failing. Cycle all breakers (turn them off and on) and see what happens.

What brand panel and breakers do you have?

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Old 02-05-2009, 11:37 AM   #3
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Main Breaker is tripping


I'm guessing changing out a main breaker isn't a dyi project...

Just out of curiousity, what will cycling the breakers do? I'll try it when I get home, I'll also get the brands for you.
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Old 02-05-2009, 12:16 PM   #4
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Main Breaker is tripping


Don't cycle them late at night
In some cases they do not go back on - if older
And make sure you have the name of an electrician available that can help if needed

Main breaker needs power shut off
In our area that means the POCO has to pull the meter to shut off power. Not a DIY job - main breaker
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Old 02-05-2009, 02:03 PM   #5
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Main Breaker is tripping


You're not trying to reset the main breaker with all your loads still turned on, are you?
Be sure to turn off enough so that you're not drawing close to the main breaker's rating.
Sometimes it may not seem like you're close to the trip point, but maybe you have too many loads on one leg (assuming 220).
Remember that the main will trip if your load on either leg is higher than the main rating.
If you have 220V loads, they draw equally from both legs.

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Old 02-05-2009, 02:25 PM   #6
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Main Breaker is tripping


Time for an electrician!
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Old 02-05-2009, 02:26 PM   #7
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Main Breaker is tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by rdmccaw View Post
I'm guessing changing out a main breaker isn't a dyi project...

Just out of curiousity, what will cycling the breakers do? I'll try it when I get home, I'll also get the brands for you.

It will just make sure breakers aren't stuck. Keep all breakers off when you reset the main. Never turn a breaker off under heavy load.
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Old 02-05-2009, 02:34 PM   #8
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Main Breaker is tripping


PoCo may tell you how to use your elec. meter as an ammeter by using the number stamped on it and counting the revs of the wheel in 10 seconds, so you can check your current draw.

But I think your breaker is failing, or the connections to it are loose (does it feel hot just after it trips?).
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Old 02-05-2009, 03:02 PM   #9
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Main Breaker is tripping


What is the main breaker rating?
60a, 100a, 200a other?

What major electric loads do you have?
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:44 PM   #10
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Main Breaker is tripping


100a.

The furnace fan is what is triggering the breaker....

we have 4 space heaters and one baseboard working.... my wife just called, two kids in the bathtub and the breaker snapped off... so needless to say I'm under a bit of pressure to get this fixed... nothing else was on when it snapped, no dryer, not many lights, and the odds of all 4 space heaters going at the same time is small.... it's become an all to frequent thing.... I belive the breaker must be on it's way out....
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:46 PM   #11
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Main Breaker is tripping


I just want to confirm, this is NOT a DIY job? can't just pull it out and put another in? I'm clearly not an electrician!!! but very handy with almost everything else!
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:58 PM   #12
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Main Breaker is tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by rdmccaw View Post
I just want to confirm, this is NOT a DIY job? can't just pull it out and put another in? I'm clearly not an electrician!!! but very handy with almost everything else!
Not as I understand it
The only way to shut power off at my house is to pull the meter
I've been doing electric work since I was a kid & I wouldn't try it
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Old 02-05-2009, 05:59 PM   #13
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Main Breaker is tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by rdmccaw View Post
I just want to confirm, this is NOT a DIY job? can't just pull it out and put another in? I'm clearly not an electrician!!! but very handy with almost everything else!
Absolutely NOT a DIY job!
The main breaker is not plug-in like the branch breakers. It must be bolted in, and connections are made via bolt-down terminals. You must have POCO cut power before doing any work.
This is most definitely a job that requires a licensed electrician, and the proper inspection.

One more thought; You said the breaker trips when the furnace fan runs.
Perhaps the motor is shorted? Have you tried just shutting off the furnace so it won't run?

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Old 02-05-2009, 06:23 PM   #14
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Main Breaker is tripping


Im thinking the furnace fan is damaged if it doesn't engage. If it is damaged, it is not related to the breaker.

Main breaker is the, "main" breaker. The wires before it are always live. The power company or "poco" would need to turn the power off to your house. Sometimes electricians can cut power (by pulling the meter) not much, though. The wires need to be tightened to a certain torque.
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Old 02-05-2009, 07:12 PM   #15
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Main Breaker is tripping


It doesn't always trip when the furnace turns on, but that seems to be the one thing that draws enough current to put it over it's limit...

Here are pictures, forget it, don't know how to add pictures...

Anyway, yea, not something I can do... had a look.... not plug and play!!!! looks to me that dabbling around in there is a good way to get yourself killed!

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