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Hi ....I am having problems with my electrical...my 60 amp

sub panel breaker is breaking...
Hi ....I am having problems with my electrical...my 60 amp sub panel breaker is breaking more and more frequently....i live in older home and the main box outside and inside panel to replace fuse box was updated years ago without any problems untill now...it seems to break when i turn on microwave but it happened when microwave was off and i turned off everything on the circuit....the firdge is on that circuit so i didnt turn that off...if the breaker is going like that....what would be most common problem? a short in the system? i dont think it is over loaded if it happens when everything is off ...can you give me possible problems? thanks, Josh
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Answered in 2 minutes by:
6/11/2013
Steve G.
Steve G., Electrical Engineer
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 17,987
Experience: Spent 20 years as an Electrical Engineer, designing electrical plans and specifications.
Verified

Hello there and welcome to Just Answer. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will be assisting you today. I am an engineer with over 30 years of electrical and electronic training, repair and installation experience. I will try and answer your question accurately and precisely so that we can get you on your way.

I need some additional information from you in order to fully understand the situation.

When you say the panel is 'breaking' I assume that you mean that the main breaker in the sub panel is tripping. Is that the case or is the main breaker in the older main panel?

What else is connected to this sub panel?

Please let me know so that we can continue.

Regards

Steve

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


its not the main breker....it is sub breaker 60 amp...things connected to this breaker are kitchen...fridge,microwave,lights,dishwasher....also my bedroom air cond,tv,lights....i turned everything off this morning and it still happened...it has happened maybe 5 different days over past few weeks...always happens like 3 am for some odd reason...this is the main box outside and i have smaller breaker box inside but not trippin anything there....you need any more info?

Ok, just so I understand, with all the breakers off, the 'sub' main breaker still trips?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


no...with all the lights and things on that sub turned off

Ok, is there the possibility that you are running greater than 60 amps on that sub panel? 60 amps is not really a lot. It is only about 14kw or 14,000 watts.

In addition, any motors that you have draw many times their regular watts when starting - just for a second or two. Things like fridges, air conditioning, microwaves etc.

Is that a possibility?

Please let me know so that we can continue.

Regards

Steve

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


yes that is a possibility....however it doesnt make sense i have air blasting and tv on and ceiling fan going now and lights on in kitchen and it is fine.....but at 2-3 am when i turn on microwave it trips breaker....my question is why would it trip breaker when almost everything is not running at 3 am and not now and everything is running

Is the microwave the only thing that trips the breaker?
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


no on time the light in hallway tripped it...and this morning it tripped on its own after i reset it...microwave wasnt even running....there maybe over load on breaker but with nothing actually on at the time would that make sense? could it be a short?

Customer reply replied 4 years ago


lastly...if it is over loaded could i put in bigger breaker or add another leg on panel with another breaker? i am getting electrician later this week...so dont need absolute answers ...just want your opinion on options for me...thanks

It certainly sounds like you have a wiring problem somewhere. It doesn't sound like you have 14,000 watts running there.

Unfortunately, to track it down, you are going to need an insulation tester and test each individual circuit hot to ground and hot to neutral.

There is also the possibility that the 60A breaker is faulty.

If the panel is overloaded, there is a possibility that it can be upgraded/uprated. You would definitely need a qualified electrician to do this.

My gut feeling is that you have a wiring issue. Have you electrician 'megger' out your circuits and go from there.

Please let me know if I can help you further.

Regards

Steve

Steve G.
Steve G., Electrical Engineer
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 17,987
Experience: Spent 20 years as an Electrical Engineer, designing electrical plans and specifications.
Verified
Steve G. and 87 other Electrical Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


hi Steve, i was having problems with my 60 amp sub breaker tripping ...i have figured out what is on that circuit...i have a 15 year old swamp cooler that is leaking water because float is broke...since i unplugged the unit i havent had any more problems...is it possible the cooler was trippin breaker even when it was off just pluged in?

Yes. That is quite possible. The cooler would not need to be actually running.

If you have unplugged it and are no longer having problems, then that is most likely the cause.

Steve

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


ok thanks...but why would it only trip breaker once in awhile ....it happens when microwave was on and once when i turned on light switch in hallway?

Are any of these circuits on a GFI breaker or GFI receptacle?

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


Steve, i do have a GFI receptacle in the kitchen....also the receptor where the swamp cooler is the old school one...have to have adapter to plugin...would it be good idea to upgrade that receptor? can you have more than 1 gfi recptor on one circuit?

Yes, you can have as many GFI receptacles as you want.

Does the old school receptacle have just two pins and no ground?

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Customer reply replied 4 years ago


Yes just 2 pins and no ground...would you recomend changing it with new receptor with GFI?

Yes. If you have no ground wire, that could be hazardous. Install a GFI on that one.

Steve

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Steve G.
Steve G.
Steve G., Electrical Engineer
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 17,987
17,987 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Spent 20 years as an Electrical Engineer, designing electrical plans and specifications.

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