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Old 06-23-2011, 04:13 PM   #16
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When a circuit blows...


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Originally Posted by gregzoll View Post
electures, we are not talking about the 2008 nec on this. We all know it, but the other person came here to try to figure out why breakers are tripping, not trying to find out the current code, and how to rewire their house. For all we know, this house was built back at turn of the century, and has never been touched since it was built, and may also be a rental.

For now, we are just trying to help them figure out how to stop overloading the circuit, and make things easier.
Your statement about handle ties is incorrect. Just trying to offer the correct information. Figured I would use the opportunity to educate other readers of the post. (Must be the teacher in me)

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Old 06-23-2011, 04:46 PM   #17
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When a circuit blows...


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Originally Posted by electures View Post
Your statement about handle ties is incorrect. Just trying to offer the correct information. Figured I would use the opportunity to educate other readers of the post. (Must be the teacher in me)
Post a reliable reference for that.

Handle ties are listed for the purpose of simultaneously manually actuating the breaker handles, not to create a common trip breaker. A quick search on Electrician Talk, Mike Holt's forum, and ECN all confirm that this is not only true, but widely known in the industry.

Not only is this both true and well known, it makes sense. All modern molded-case circuit breakers are required to be "trip-free" to obtain a UL listing. This means they will trip even when the handle is held in the "on" position. There is no requirement that the handle move a certain amount, or with a certain force, upon tripping. Thus, handle movement upon tripping cannot be counted on to do anything. Furthermore, turning a breaker off is not the same (internally) as tripping it. The mechanism moves differently, hence the need to cycle the handle to reset. A common trip breaker TRIPS all poles simultaneously, it doesn't trip one and turn the others off.

Handle-tied breakers will usually operate together if one of them trips. This is especially true if the handle tie is very tight and there are only two poles. However, the propensity for a tripped breaker to operate its neighbor depends greatly on the brand of breaker (some move more when tripped, and some are easier to flip off) and how snug the handle tie is. I've seen more instances where three-pole and four-pole handle tie setups (feeds to modular office furniture) fail to trip together than where they do.

And since this is off-topic for this thread, I'm done. But I would be interested to see a reference that refutes my position.
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:14 PM   #18
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When a circuit blows...


Again, thanks for the help.

My question was not "why is our circuit tripping?"
It was "Is it necessary that we reset all circuits when only one is tripped?"
The answer is no, you don't have to.

This place used to be a large garage, was turned into a downstairs apartment in the 70s, and hasn't been touched since. I know because my grandfather lived here, then my uncle lived here and now we live here.
My grandfather is a professional handy man and does all the work for the landlords here so we're well informed on the ins and outs of our home.

We know what trips the circuit: the counter microwave and washing machine/dryer being run at the same time.
Only 2 of the 4 circuits actually give us power inside. The other 2 are for lights outside. So we only have so many options for how and where to plug things in at.
I hope this gives you a good picture of what we deal with.
The tripping isn't frequent, we are careful because we know overwattage on a circuit can trip or damage it. Not really a lot we can do about it.
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:21 PM   #19
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When a circuit blows...


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Originally Posted by kineticlops View Post
Actually our home is not modern with today's technology, we live in a very old place with older technology.
And we know why it trips; its usually because two large appliances are being run at the same time on the same circuit, along with whatever else is receiving constant electricity. They aren't frequent, its only every few months.

Why we only have 4 breakers and why its happening isn't a mystery to us, it was just wondering whether or not resetting all handles was necessary when you can clearly identify which one tripped and which ones hadn't.

Thanks so much for all the help!
To answer your question...resetting the ones that didn't trip is unnecessary.

Be aware though that the more a breaker trips, the more it gets worn out, and will eventually fail. Usually they will trip and no longer reset, but not always. The proper fix is not to always reset it, but to fix the problem that's making it trip in the first place.
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:27 PM   #20
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When a circuit blows...


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Originally Posted by kineticlops View Post
...The tripping isn't frequent, we are careful because we know overwattage on a circuit can trip or damage it. Not really a lot we can do about it.
Not true. You can run a new circuit for the laundry or the micro, with its own breaker. If the panel can accept 'tandem/twin' breakers, then it's an easy fix. There's always a way to skin a cat.
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Old 06-23-2011, 05:29 PM   #21
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When a circuit blows...


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Originally Posted by SD515 View Post
Not true. You can run a new circuit for the laundry or the micro, with its own breaker. If the panel can accept 'tandem/twin' breakers, then it's an easy fix. There's always a way to skin a cat.
Well we rent and the landlord is sort of difficult to deal with. Its something we can bring up to her but in the mean time we just have to be careful.
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Old 06-23-2011, 06:43 PM   #22
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When a circuit blows...


Quote:
Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
Post a reliable reference for that.

Handle ties are listed for the purpose of simultaneously manually actuating the breaker handles, not to create a common trip breaker. A quick search on Electrician Talk, Mike Holt's forum, and ECN all confirm that this is not only true, but widely known in the industry.

Not only is this both true and well known, it makes sense. All modern molded-case circuit breakers are required to be "trip-free" to obtain a UL listing. This means they will trip even when the handle is held in the "on" position. There is no requirement that the handle move a certain amount, or with a certain force, upon tripping. Thus, handle movement upon tripping cannot be counted on to do anything. Furthermore, turning a breaker off is not the same (internally) as tripping it. The mechanism moves differently, hence the need to cycle the handle to reset. A common trip breaker TRIPS all poles simultaneously, it doesn't trip one and turn the others off.

Handle-tied breakers will usually operate together if one of them trips. This is especially true if the handle tie is very tight and there are only two poles. However, the propensity for a tripped breaker to operate its neighbor depends greatly on the brand of breaker (some move more when tripped, and some are easier to flip off) and how snug the handle tie is. I've seen more instances where three-pole and four-pole handle tie setups (feeds to modular office furniture) fail to trip together than where they do.

And since this is off-topic for this thread, I'm done. But I would be interested to see a reference that refutes my position.
If you read my post #13 I was pointing out that handle ties were not required on all MWBC's until 2008. I did not state that handle ties are wrong. They are legal as long as they are listed and labeled for the use.

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All responses based on the 2011 NEC.
If you live in New Jersey click here. All other states click here.
Please check with local, county and state officials as laws may vary.
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