Afternoon sun tripping breaker.

Hi Everyone,. It seems whenever the temperature gets over 100 degrees or so, a particular breaker in my house will trip if even a slight load is put on it. The breaker box is being directly hit by the sun in the afternoons, and it seems that if I attempt to cool the box, this cures the problem temporarily. The problem will go away as soon as the sun is low enough so the box is in shade. Is this a faulty breaker? I'm not an electrician, so how much would it be $-wise for an electrician to come out and fix this? Thanks for any help you could give me in this!
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mndean


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mndean wrote:

I would appear that the breaker may need to be replaced. This is an easy job, but if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, then having an electrician do it should be a minimal charge. Note: there is a certain amount of danger in doing this, so if you are not sure, just have it done.
What is that breaker controlling? Is there something on that circuit like a A/C unit that could be having problems with the heat? There also could be a problem with your power coming into your home. If the transformer feeding your home is too small for the current demands of you and your neighbors, it may need to be replaced as well. But breakers do go bad and it does sound like that is your real problem.
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Joseph Meehan

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Joseph Meehan wrote:

on the circuit. The breaker controls a circuit of outlets that are in three rooms of the house - it's an old house (1939) and the breaker box was put in around 1976, and this breaker is an original. This problem only manifests itself in extreme heat (anything over 95), and the temp the last two days has averaged 110. I am calling an electrician this week, but I fear that they may be backed up with work (there are folks around the city with much worse problems than me).
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mndean


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mndean wrote:

My bet is the breaker needs replaced, likely your tech will have one on his truck or the AC needs to be replaced, less likely.
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Joseph Meehan

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Joseph Meehan wrote:

You're probably right, the A/C is only 2 years old and is the least likely one to cause problems. Thanks again.
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mndean


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True.
Yea, like hitting a bus bar with the screwdriver, vaporizing it and blinding yourself.
    Cost (if you do not take 200A jolt):          Screwdriver - $5          Electrician to repair fried box, wires, breakers, etc $500+          Medical bills - $4000          Glasses - minus 400/yr. Credit since you don't need being blind.
    Cost (if you do take 200A jolt):
         You'll never know.
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I'd do two things. First, I'd replace the breaker. Then, I'd shade the breaker box.
It is a five minute job, but an electrician is going to have to charge you at least $75 to come out and do it.
Chances are, a handy neighbor or relative knows how and can help.
Determine the brand and size (amps) of the breaker and buy a replacement If you've never done this, turn off the power at the main breaker, usually at the top of the box Remove the breaker box cover Loosed the screw holding the wire to the breaker Remove the breaker. Most snap in place, some have a screw on the buss bar. Snap in the new one, replace the wire, replace the cover and turn on the main power
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When you have a short circuit, a bi-metal link inside the breaker heats up and then deforms thus flipping the switch off.
Given that most breakers use this thermal mode to trip, excessive heat in the enclosure can derate the breakers trip point but it should not be as extreme as you describe. That breaker is obviously defective. The ambient temp rating of the breaker box is at least 125F.
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