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Old 02-16-2010, 11:34 AM   #16
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Why did my breaker trip?


If I remove the cover from the metal box that the wire is attached to, what would I be looking for? The wire that goes from the furnace to the metal box in the ceiling, looks like a coil that is aluminum. That is the only wire from the furnace that goes there.

Thanks for your help.

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Old 02-16-2010, 12:30 PM   #17
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Why did my breaker trip?


Hi Mummy--I think this is a job you should leave to a pro.
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Old 02-16-2010, 12:57 PM   #18
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Why did my breaker trip?


In general, you are going to be looking for black marks or something that looks burnt caused by the short circuit or arc that cause the breaker to trip. This would be the case if you tried looking inside the furnace or inside junction boxes on the circuit.

But I guess here's one way to approach it. What do you do when you find a burn mark? To ensure everything is going to stay safe, there's a good chance that something (though possibly minor) is going to need fixing. I get the feeling that even if you did find where the problem is, you're not going to want to fix it yourself.

So in the end, while you might waste a few $$$, you should gain the confidence that everything is safe. Because until someone finds out what went wrong and can determine if something needs to be fixed, I'm going to worry about this problem because bangs and circuit breakers tripping is NOT the normal mode of operation for a furnace and some lights.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:40 PM   #19
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Why did my breaker trip?


Quote:
Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
Hi Mummy--I think this is a job you should leave to a pro.
Yes, you are right, I have decided that I am going to call an HVAC guy that we know.
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Old 02-16-2010, 01:41 PM   #20
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Why did my breaker trip?


Quote:
Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
In general, you are going to be looking for black marks or something that looks burnt caused by the short circuit or arc that cause the breaker to trip. This would be the case if you tried looking inside the furnace or inside junction boxes on the circuit.

But I guess here's one way to approach it. What do you do when you find a burn mark? To ensure everything is going to stay safe, there's a good chance that something (though possibly minor) is going to need fixing. I get the feeling that even if you did find where the problem is, you're not going to want to fix it yourself.

So in the end, while you might waste a few $$$, you should gain the confidence that everything is safe. Because until someone finds out what went wrong and can determine if something needs to be fixed, I'm going to worry about this problem because bangs and circuit breakers tripping is NOT the normal mode of operation for a furnace and some lights.
Thanks for your help. And yes, even if I do see anything I would not touch it anyway. So I will call in the pros.
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:40 PM   #21
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Why did my breaker trip?


The HVAC guy was here, and checked the furnace and the electrical connections and nothing wrong with the furnace or the connections.

So, what other reason would the breaker trip, when there was not an overload on it? The only thing that this breaker has on it are light fixtures and outlets in the basement.

I have a light in my cold cellar that is hooked on to a chain, which I yank to turn the light off and on.

Lately, when I pull the chain to turn it on, it goes off and on. Seems like the wires are lose. Would that have caused the breaker to trip and create a loud bang? In fact, now that this has happened, when I pull the chain, it works better. Any thoughts?

Thanks you wonderful folks!!
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:00 PM   #22
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Why did my breaker trip?


Glad to hear the HVAC system is aok.

I assume from the wording of your post, the HVAC guy didn't check any of the wiring for the rest of the circuit (lights and outlets), he only checked the connections to the furnance, right?

If so, I'm still be a bit worried and would recommend having an electrician check the rest of the circuit. I realize it's not cheap, and there is the possibility that just like the HVAC guy, the electrician might not be able to find anything either.

But the fact remains that something made this circuit go "BANG", and did so more than once. Normal operation of an electrical circuit does NOT make it suddenly go "BANG" and trip breakers. Something happened that, in normal operation, isn't supposed to happen.

The one other step you could take before calling an electrician is to do a visual inspection yourself. Look at all the lights and see if you can find a light that is blown (but because you listed multiple bangs, I don't think it's going to have anything to do with a lightbulb burning out in some catastrophic way). Look at all the outlets that are on the circuit. Can you find anything plugged in, or looks like it used to be plugged in that could account for the noise? Some appliance that might have had some internal fault (much like the suggestion something might have happened inside the HVAC system). Perhaps some child doing something they shouldn't. Don't forget about outdoor plugs. Are any of the outdoor plugs also powered by this circuit? Have you asked other members of the household what they were doing when the bang occured? Do you have a clue where the BANG did (or did not) originate from?
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Old 02-17-2010, 05:18 PM   #23
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Why did my breaker trip?


The loud bang is your clue. Figure out what cause that and you will find your problem.
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Old 02-17-2010, 07:08 PM   #24
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Why did my breaker trip?


That loud bang could be something that is getting caught in the blower motor or something, which immediately would trip the breaker as the motor would try to keep turning the cage with the obstruction there. That overdraw in current will trip your breaker.

I'm curious, did the person just give it a quick once over or did they really dive into it and look inside the venting leading to and from the blower motor? I still think (like others) that your furnace is the fault here.

Do you have any mice/rats in your house? In the winter especially, older houses have a higher mouse problem (my inlaws have an old farm house...know all too well about this issue). One thing mice LOVE to do is chew on the insulation around wires. they don't eat it...they just chew it. However, when they do that it can lead to wires shorting/grounding out.

If you have the means to do so, I would recommend looking at the wiring leading to and from the breaker panel and furnace to see if there's any signs of rodents that may have caused this.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:38 PM   #25
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Why did my breaker trip?


Its not the furnace, as the furnace is not on that breaker. I made a mistake and thought it was on that breaker.

I am going to call the electrician and have him take a look at the breaker and all the fixtures and outlets that are attached to it.

There is a light fixture close to the furnace where the bang came from. I will tell him to take a look at that fixture.

Thanks

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