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Old 05-06-2009, 01:33 AM   #1
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Main disconnect/breaker trips when freezer not plugged in


Hello all. I am new here and have done a search, but I canít find any information about a strange problem my friend is having.

She called and said her central A/C is tripping her main breaker/disconnect. She also said that with the A/C off it also trips when she uses certain higher load devices at the same time (dishwasher, clothes dryer). If she keeps the A/C and high load devices off then the rest of the house works fine. She said her house was struck by lightning about a year ago and they had to have some rewiring done upstairs (I donít know to what extent). I asked if all the other outlets and lights are working. She said there is one closet light that only works when something is plugged into the adjacent outlet, but that has been like that for a while (before the main breaker problem). I was in the car when she called about this problem, so I told her I would do some thinking and drop by her house later. She called about an hour later and said she fixed it. She remembered that she unplugged a freezer so she could clean it, and that is when the problems with the main breaker started. She plugged the freezer back in and know everything works fine. She can run the A/C the dishwasher and the clothes dryer all at the same time. I have never encountered a breaker that trips only when things are not plugged it. I am thinking that maybe the outlet by the closet and/or the outlet that the freezer plugs into are bad. If the outlets are bad why would it trip the main breaker and not the breaker on the circuit that is causing the problem? Maybe the main breaker/disconnect is bad? Anyone have any ideas?
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:21 AM   #2
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Main disconnect/breaker trips when freezer not plugged in


She needs to call an electrician.
Adding a freezer to the load would increase the amp draw on the main.
She has a very unsafe condition and needs someone to look at it ASAP!
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:07 AM   #3
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Main disconnect/breaker trips when freezer not plugged in


I can not think af any reason for the freezer to make the breaker NOT trip. there is something very strange happening and needs an onsite investigation.
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:00 PM   #4
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Main disconnect/breaker trips when freezer not plugged in


Just a guess, it may be be a neutral problem. Something is wired wrong. I bet someone added an outlet or something. Check wiring at freezer outlet first. Then I would check switch in closet.
Good luck.
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Old 05-06-2009, 01:44 PM   #5
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Main disconnect/breaker trips when freezer not plugged in


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Originally Posted by RenoDon View Post
Just a guess, it may be be a neutral problem. Something is wired wrong. I bet someone added an outlet or something. Check wiring at freezer outlet first. Then I would check switch in closet.
Good luck.
I have not had time to talk with her today. I loaned her one of those plug in testers that is supposed to tell you if you have an open ground or neutral and such.
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:15 PM   #6
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Main disconnect/breaker trips when freezer not plugged in


I can not think of any scenario where the main would trip before a branch breaker for a mis wired circuit. Especially if the branch works.
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:02 PM   #7
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Main disconnect/breaker trips when freezer not plugged in


Start by eliminating things. Have the Poco check the service connection and the line up to the meter. Tell them you suspect a faulty neutral or loose connection somewhere on their side of the meter. They'll check it for free, since it's theirs. If it ok, then you really need an electrician to find the problem. This is pretty weird, the way you describe it. Since I can't even begin to think why plugging in a device would make a circuit work that wasn't working before, I would say your best bet is hire a pro.
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Old 05-06-2009, 09:13 PM   #8
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Main disconnect/breaker trips when freezer not plugged in


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Originally Posted by isuzudave View Post
her central A/C is tripping her main breaker/disconnect.
with the A/C off it also trips when she uses certain higher load devices at the same time (dishwasher, clothes dryer).

Maybe the breaker is tripping prematurely.

there is one closet light that only works when something is plugged into the adjacent outlet,

The outlet is in series with the closet light, instead of in parallel?

She remembered that she unplugged a freezer so she could clean it, and that is when the problems with the main breaker started.

Coincidence.

a breaker that trips only when things are not plugged it.

Local heating at the breaker terminals caused by a loose connection.

If the outlets are bad why would it trip the main breaker and not the breaker on the circuit that is causing the problem?
Maybe the breaker is tripping prematurely.

Last edited by Yoyizit; 05-06-2009 at 09:15 PM.
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