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Need help with electrical circuit breaker, will not flip

When using wall outlet, keeps flipping circuit breaker, now it won't flip back on, what is the problem, house built in 1983, does the pole need replacing or whole breaker box? I am a senior citizen on fixed income, help please!
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Posted 2017-01-07T13:59:36+0000  by mocitycowgirl mocitycowgirl
You likely need to replace neither the pole or the breaker box and it's most likely a relatively easy and inexpensive fix.  A circuit break trips when there is a short to ground, so whatever you're plugging into the receptacle has short in it, the receptacle is damaged in some way, or there's a loose wire somewhere. Let me ask you a couple of questions:

  1. Whatever you plugged into the receptacle that caused the breaker to trip, was it always the same thing or did you try different things. 
  2. Did you try plugging whatever tripped the breaker into another receptacle?  If so, what happened there?

Let us know the answers to these questions and we'll try to provide some suggestions for repair.

Posted 2017-01-08T01:03:34+0000  by Adam444
Hello mocitycowgirl.  Welcome to the Community!

First off, your breaker box is not causing the trouble you are having.  Upgrading it is a different issue from having one particular circuit that does not function properly.  That's good news.

Second.  It is possible that a circuit breaker that is frequently tripped will wear out over time.  But before we get there, let's try to find out why the breaker is tripping.  A circuit overload is what will trip a  breaker.  As Adam said, a short will do that also, as it overloads the circuit as well.

Unplug whatever you were trying to use when the breaker tripped.  Then go to the service box and turn the breaker to OFF from its tripped position.  Then try and flip it to ON.  It has to be turned off first before you can reset it.

Does it reset?

If NO, then I highly recommend you get an electrician to look at your system.

If YES, then for now the breaker is OK, and we can look at some other simple reasons your system is not working right.

We now need to figure out whether the item you plugged into that outlet is faulty.  As Adam suggested,  plug it into another outlet that you know is on another circuit.  Try to find a circuit that you know has very little load on it at the time. 

Does that circuit breaker trip?

If yes, then I would suspect that there's something wrong with the appliance you plugged in.

If no, then maybe what is happening is that the item draws a substantial load, and it, combined with the other loads on that original circuit is just to much draw.  This time of year things like space heaters that draw a lot of current are commonly used.  A 1500 watt space heater will take most of the available current in a 15 amp circuit all by itself.

I hope this helps you to narrow down what exactly is causing your circuit problems.  Please let us know what you find and we will try to help you further.



Posted 2017-01-10T16:36:33+0000  by Chris_HD_CHI
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