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Old 05-20-2016, 04:38 PM   #1
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One Breaker Trips Another Breaker


Good afternoon, I have a new house in which the Electrician went MIA after i paid him and i am having to sort out a few issues. Everyone here has helped me troubleshoot the other issues successfully.

My issue is that i have one breaker that trips when another one is turned on. In the breaker panel these two breakers are next to each other. One Powers the kitchen as well as the three lights and a couple of plugs in a hall way and eat in kitchen that the "trouble breaker" powers. as long as i leave the trouble breaker off there is never any issue. but when i turn on the trouble breaker it trips the kitchen breaker.

What i have tried. I turned off all breakers in the house except the trouble breaker and learned that it powers those 3 lights and two plugs i mentioned in paragraph above.

My options are: kept the trouble breaker off and forget about it(what i have been doing) or locate the problem and have the each breaker power each circuit correctly.

One tip. I have fixed several issues that my electrician left for me, one of which was a crossed wire. It was a very easy fix once it was located and a few half cut wires inside light switches that caused intermittent issues. I am thinking that a wire is crossed somewhere and i have an idea where to start but i feel that i need some direction.

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Old 05-20-2016, 06:32 PM   #2
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Do you have 15A receptacles in the kitchen? I bet the second breaker is for split receptacles and the tab was never broken off between them. Shut off the two breakers and pull out the receptacles that shut off when the breaker trips. If there is 3 wires attached, break the tab in between on the bronzed side (small slotted side) of the receptacles.

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Old 05-20-2016, 06:55 PM   #3
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Re: One Breaker Trips Another Breaker


Could the two circuits be sharing a neutral ?
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Old 05-20-2016, 07:14 PM   #4
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Re: One Breaker Trips Another Breaker


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Do you have 15A receptacles in the kitchen? I bet the second breaker is for split receptacles and the tab was never broken off between them. Shut off the two breakers and pull out the receptacles that shut off when the breaker trips. If there is 3 wires attached, break the tab in between on the bronzed side (small slotted side) of the receptacles.
Im reasonably certain they are 15 amp. am i looking for a completed or unbroken tab on all plugs and not just gfci plugs? @dmxtothemax thats what im trying to determine. Ill look for that as well.
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Old 05-20-2016, 11:18 PM   #5
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Re: One Breaker Trips Another Breaker


You have two cross connected circuits. Now the problem is going to be to find the cross connection.
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Old 05-20-2016, 11:51 PM   #6
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One Breaker Trips Another Breaker


GFCI outlets do not have the bonding jumper. If the Sparky took the money and ran. Did you let the jurisdiction know where you live about what happened?

If he is union or not, the local union hall is a good source for them to find someone who is willing to help straighten out the mess. They may even use it for training an apprentice and eat the cost of fixing a bad end result.
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:17 AM   #7
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Some electricians like to use quad breakers to satisfy handle tie requirements and increase mark up. If the two breakers are internally joined, a ground fault on the "trouble circuit" will trip both breakers. Post a picture of the two breakers that are tripping.
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:24 AM   #8
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Re: One Breaker Trips Another Breaker


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Some electricians like to use quad breakers to satisfy handle tie requirements and increase mark up. If the two breakers are internally joined, a ground fault on the "trouble circuit" will trip both breakers. Post a picture of the two breakers that are tripping.
Quads are very rare to see these days in residential. You see more simgle space Tandoms where they have a handle on the top tied to the next handle above it for MWBC.
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Old 05-21-2016, 02:08 AM   #9
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Okay Greg. If the breaker has an internal trip for two line to neutral circuits, a ground fault on either circuit will trip both breakers.
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Old 05-21-2016, 09:46 AM   #10
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Re: One Breaker Trips Another Breaker


I will post pictures of the breakers but I bought the breakers(supplied materials) so they are likely not quad breakers. Its likely a cross connected circuit as Joed mentioned while i leave the possibility open that it not that. would anyone know how i would go about locating the problem? I have a pen tester, and I though about trying to find it by turning off all breakers but the trouble circuit and see if i can find the end circuit and then cut power and look at the wires. any thoughts?

as for a union, there is no such here that im aware of. Im in houston, tx vacinity and my home is rural where there are no permits required except septic and building permit. no inspections done by county other than septic.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:10 AM   #11
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Re: One Breaker Trips Another Breaker


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Okay Greg. If the breaker has an internal trip for two line to neutral circuits, a ground fault on either circuit will trip both breakers.
We always hope, as long as the breaker is not old and frozen in place.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:12 AM   #12
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Re: One Breaker Trips Another Breaker


Do not use the Touch testers. They are guilty of False alerts. Use an actual voltage tester that shows 120/240/480. Non-contact are nice when checking for a bad outler or switch. Not great when trying to figure out wiring issues.
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Old 05-21-2016, 11:59 AM   #13
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Re: One Breaker Trips Another Breaker


You have a cross connection between two hot wires on the different breakers. You need to search for it and remove it.
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Old 05-21-2016, 01:58 PM   #14
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Re: One Breaker Trips Another Breaker


@joed , i feel that your suggestion is likely the problem. I have already repaired several issues that was nothing more than swapping wires. the biggest problem was finding the issue. do you have any tips on locating the problem at hand?
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Old 05-21-2016, 03:43 PM   #15
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Yes. Pull all the receptacles and lights that have power when the first breaker is on. Check them all for strange looking wiring. If there is nothing strange, then you need to start disconnecting wiring and find out where the crossover is happening.

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