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Old 11-25-2011, 11:29 AM   #1
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Main Power Breaker at Service Pole Trip Continually


I just added 2-4800W 240V heaters to my shop for the -40to-50 degree winters here. After installing the 2 30amp double pole breakers to the panel and 10/2 wiring, I turned the heaters on. The main power breaker trips at the service pole. Is it possible that this has exceeded the service breaker the power company has at the pole? Can one upgrade the service?

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Old 11-25-2011, 11:36 AM   #2
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Main Power Breaker at Service Pole Trip Continually


Yes it is possible you tripped the breakers on the pole due to overloading, if the heaters ran for at least several seconds first.

What is the rating (amperes) of those breakers?

Immediate tripping probably means a short circuit, probably due to a mistake in your wiring.

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Old 11-25-2011, 11:38 AM   #3
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Main Power Breaker at Service Pole Trip Continually


do you have these in series or parallel with the 240V feed to them and did you just try running one heater with the 240 then do the other...whats the valve of that breaker on the pole tagged for...
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Old 11-25-2011, 12:59 PM   #4
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Yes it is possible you tripped the breakers on the pole due to overloading, if the heaters ran for at least several seconds first.

What is the rating (amperes) of those breakers?

Immediate tripping probably means a short circuit, probably due to a mistake in your wiring.
The heaters ran for 1-3 minutes before the main service breaker tripped. The shop has a 100 amp service and not sure what the amperage of the main service breaker is, as it has a power company seal on the box. The 2 double pole 30amp breakers for the heater are wired separately to different sides of the main bus.
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:04 PM   #5
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Main Power Breaker at Service Pole Trip Continually


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The heaters ran for 1-3 minutes before the main service breaker tripped. The shop has a 100 amp service and not sure what the amperage of the main service breaker is, as it has a power company seal on the box. The 2 double pole 30amp breakers for the heater are wired separately to different sides of the main bus.
How did you access the main to reset it if it is sealed?
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:07 PM   #6
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Main Power Breaker at Service Pole Trip Continually


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How did you access the main to reset it if it is sealed?
The main service meter box is sealed by it has a main off/on switch/handle, which turns the main service breaker on and off inside the box.
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:10 PM   #7
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Main Power Breaker at Service Pole Trip Continually


is your shop fed from the same service as your house? you may not have a big enough service to add roughly 40A of electric heat
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:12 PM   #8
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is your shop fed from the same service as your house? you may not have a big enough service to add roughly 40A of electric heat
Yes, the shop has it's own service panel, but the service to the property services both the house and the shop.

Can a person have a larger service put in by the power company?

Last edited by dens1; 11-25-2011 at 01:14 PM. Reason: Additional Question
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:17 PM   #9
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Main Power Breaker at Service Pole Trip Continually


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Yes, the shop has it's own service panel, but the service to the property services both the house and the shop.

Can a person have a larger service put in by the power company?
Usually a power company will upgrade a service if the increased usage justifies the cost of the upgrade, otherwise they will upgrade a service for a fee.
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:24 PM   #10
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Main Power Breaker at Service Pole Trip Continually


At this point, I guess knowing whether there is a technical issue or a service shortage issue is the key. How can I determine whether there is a power shortage, by adding the heaters or a faulty main service breaker?
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Old 11-25-2011, 01:30 PM   #11
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Main Power Breaker at Service Pole Trip Continually


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At this point, I guess knowing whether there is a technical issue or a service shortage issue is the key. How can I determine whether there is a power shortage, by adding the heaters or a faulty main service breaker?
Load calculations and an amperage test may help.
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Old 11-25-2011, 02:31 PM   #12
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Main Power Breaker at Service Pole Trip Continually


anyway 100 amp are not made for 40A of electric heating + all the others load, for that kind of laod you need at least 200amp service
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Old 11-25-2011, 06:01 PM   #13
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Main Power Breaker at Service Pole Trip Continually


Have a walk around, and make a list of all the things
usually on that use electricity.
Add up the ampere's and see what you come up with.
2 X 4800W heaters at 240v thats 20 amps a piece
x2 = 40amps on top of what you normally use.
This could be too much for your service fuse.

The fact that it does not blow immeadiatily indicates
it is more likely an over current situation rather than a
short circuit situation.
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Old 11-25-2011, 08:59 PM   #14
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Main Power Breaker at Service Pole Trip Continually


Even if you increase your service size there is a good possiblity that the power company will not upgrade their infrastructure.

Your problem is too much load on the breaker, not a supply issue by the power company.
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Old 11-26-2011, 06:40 AM   #15
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Main Power Breaker at Service Pole Trip Continually


If you have a clamp on ammeter you can make a quick test to see if your total power draw on either hot leg is greater than what your service is for (100 amps).

If the supply is adequate and the power company puts in a bigger service (probably your cost) for you then they will change out the pole breaker for a larger one.

If there is a supply issue then the power company will suggest that you not upgrade your panel and service. If you do that anyway then it would be for futureproofing only and you will still be limited to the old number of amperes.

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Last edited by AllanJ; 11-26-2011 at 06:49 AM.
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