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Old 01-07-2008, 07:27 AM   #1
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Main Breaker won't stay on Please Help


I recently bought a house at a city auction. It's been empty for about 6 years. I had the power company come out and turn on the meter but I can't get the Main switch in the box to turn on. I have made sure all of the other circuit breakers are in the off position and pushed up on it really hard. When I push up on the main it feels like it's on a strong spring and comes all the way back down to the bottom immediatly when I let it go. There is no clicking feeling when I push up on it. Just a smooth resistance all the way up.
Has the main gone bad? If so, do I have to have the power company come back out to turn off the power to the house to replace the Main breaker. I've changed some other small breakers in the past and it was pretty easy. Is the main just as easy?
Any info would help. Thanks Guys.

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Old 01-07-2008, 07:38 AM   #2
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Main Breaker won't stay on Please Help


can you post a photo?

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Old 01-07-2008, 09:39 AM   #3
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Main Breaker won't stay on Please Help


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do I have to have the power company come back out to turn off the power to the house to replace the Main breaker.

Probably.

An electrician would probably cut the meter seal, pull the meter and replace the breaker without getting the power company involved.

Try working the breaker some more. Let it snap back a few times to try and kick the internal mechanism loose. Also, make sure you push it all the way to the off position.

Wear at LEAST safety glasses/ gloves/long sleeves and turn your head to the side while messing with it. You never know what can happen.
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:34 AM   #4
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Main Breaker won't stay on Please Help


Do not try to force it up. If it will not stay in the on position it needs to be replaced. I say this only because you said you have all the other branch circuit breakers turned off. The breaker is hot on one side since the meter was installed. You do not want to remove the meter either. If you have a disconnect ahead of the main breaker you could replace it yourself. If you do not have a way to cut power to the main breaker, get someone who is qualified. Bottom line. If you cannot turn off the power without pulling the meter you need help.
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Old 01-07-2008, 11:41 AM   #5
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Main Breaker won't stay on Please Help


This may sound silly, but have you tried to turn it completly off and then back on.
I know it has been empty, but it may have tripped before.
All breaker have to be turned off before they can be turned on.
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:39 AM   #6
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Main Breaker won't stay on Please Help


I ended up calling an electrician. He had to replace the main breaker/panel. It cost $550! Ouch. Just curious, the electrician came out to the house for about 30 mins. to look at the box. He told me it needed a new breaker/panel. Said it would be about $250. He charges $95/hr. He said he would come back tomorrow and put it in and the total charge would be about $550. We left. He called me at work about 1 & 1/2 hrs later and said he went ahead and did the job that same day and it came out to $550. Is it normal to charge the customer to look at the issue and also for drive time to pick up parts?
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Old 01-10-2008, 08:48 AM   #7
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Is it normal to charge the customer to look at the issue and also for drive time to pick up parts?
Yes.

The $550 charge sounds about right, even a little low.
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:17 AM   #8
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Main Breaker won't stay on Please Help


Hell, the $550 doesn't sound a little low sounds like a steal! I paid $1350 to have mine done. He had to come and check out my situation to see what parts would be needed. Then came back and replaced it all.

He replaced everything from the wires on my roof, meter, panel, and all breakers plus had to put in 2 grounding rods. I would not complain about $550... wow.
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:22 AM   #9
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Main Breaker won't stay on Please Help


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Originally Posted by Piedmont View Post
Hell, the $550 doesn't sound a little low sounds like a steal! I paid $1350 to have mine done. He had to come and check out my situation to see what parts would be needed. Then came back and replaced it all.

He replaced everything from the wires on my roof, meter, panel, and all breakers plus had to put in 2 grounding rods. I would not complain about $550... wow.
That's a decent price for a full service change, but the OP said this was JUST a main panel change out, not a full service redo.

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