any electrician out there?

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The main circuit breaker on the side, at the outside out my house is overheating and trips. All electricity inside the house gets turned off when this hapens. It tends to happen whenever I use the AC on a hot day. The electrician says that this 90 AMP main circuit breaker needs to be replaced. The problem is that he says that they don't make these 90 AMP circuit breakers anymore. They only have them in 100 AMP. He says it's safe to go up from 90 to 100 AMP.
Is this safe to do at my house? Your suggestions/advice would be greatly appreciated.
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I forgot to mention that this 90 amp circuit breaker is the main circuit breaker to the house. On the panel outside the house, there are 2 circuit breakers. One for the main, and one for the AC. The AC breaker is OK. Only the main 90 amp circuit breaker trips when I use the AC. The AC was tested, and the AC was not the root cause of this problem. The main circuit breaker was the problem.
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Michelle,
Without seeing the breaker box I doubt that anyone can tell you whether it is safe. The electrician you hired thinks it's safe and he saw your breaker box. Selling you a new and larger breaker box would be profitable for him so if he recommends just swapping the main breaker he's saving you money and is guaranteeing that the swap is safe. Sounds good to me. Make sure he's licensed and get a receipt.
Dave M.
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On Fri, 27 Jun 2008 06:08:21 -0700, Michelle wrote:

Upgrade to 200 amp and have all your wiring rechecked before you burn the place down. The A/C is straining your system but every time a motor starts, e.g., the fridge, you can expect something to give.
Be safe.
--

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Franz Fripplfrappl
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Let's not play Chicken Little. The sky is not falling.

You have no way of knowing this. While 90 amps is kind of small by modern standards, it is not necessarily too small. We don't know the A/C load or other loads that are present.
It is quite likely the breaker is failing. It happens. If so, all she needs to do is replace the breaker. This is much, much cheaper than upgrading to 200 amps, which would require a new panel, likely new breakers, and possibly a service upgrade.
-- Doug
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Agree. A 90 amp house service does sound a little small in this day and age. Maybe the house was built before AC and many other modern gadgets became common and affordable for most if us? But if you have gas or oil heating, not electric, then 90-100 amps may be quite adequate! But quite possibly the breaker is getting a little old and tired. If the electrician says replace it with a new 100 amp and the wiring is OK try that for a while. And naturally even if you do not have 'a lot of electrics' in your house maybe conserve a bit by not running anything else 'heavy' while the AC is in use? For example don't go baking anything in an electric oven (not that anyone might want to on a hot day anyway?) during a hot day when the AC is on? If the house has been extended or other additions, then perhaps, maybe, it may be time to think about a larger new service. But doing that can mean that major parts of the house may have may to be rewired to meet current electrical code requirements and the consequent expense; whereas the current problem, if nothing else has changed, may be just a worn out circuit breaker!
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did the electrician check the current draw on each side? a main can trip just because one side is overloaded, plus the main breaker may just be bad.
who made the panel breaker?
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote: ...

U think Michelle is going to know what specific tests an electrician made or really cares about the breaker itself?
She had an electrician evaluate the situation; her best bet is either accept the professional advice she paid for or hire another if she thinks there's something suspect about this one.
--
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I asked if he tested or just LOOKED!
a neighbor had a problem like this, 2 minutes with my clamp on amp meter, and 5 minutes moving a couple loads to the other side fixed it 4 or 5 years ago.......
no problems since.....
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote: ...

I don't know any electricians who can tell the condition of a breaker or determine the cause of a regularly tripping one simply by looking (other than the obvious it's fried which one would presume isn't the case here since it apparently was still functional to the point of tripping).
"Professional" isn't "omnipotent".
--
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And you weren't there, so you haven't seen it.

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ALOE.org wrote:

And I've not claimed I have...if you'll read my posts, I told the OP (and others) she should take the advice of the pro who had...
--
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Hi, It's called balancing the load on Edison circuit.
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FWIW-- my parent's house had 50 amp service until 1995. It had a little Square D box under the meter with 2 single pole 50 amp breakers that fed the house panel in the garage. We never had any problems, even when we got up to 5 window a/c's -- a 230v 1.5ton later replaced with a 2 ton in the living room, the rest 115v 7-10k btu more or less. Granted, the stove and WH are gas. The only thing was that we could not run the LR a/c and the electric dryer at the same time, but that was because they were double lugged into the same breaker (was that way when we bought the house in 1961 --- built in 1957) . In 1995, I put in central air and installed a GE 100 amp panel outside. The little Square D box was in such perfect shape that I put a 2 pole breaker in it and installed it for a disconnect at the a/c condensing unit, where it still is to this day. Larry
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Sounds like an ideal setup if/when you ever decide to install a genset.
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Which is something should always be considered anyway.
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dpb wrote:

Hi, As simple as loose connection(over time and age) can cause breaker over hat and tripping. If electricial does the job and some bad thing happens then he is liable.
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On Fri, 27 Jun 2008 10:23:09 -0700 (PDT), terry

Good answer!
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On Fri, 27 Jun 2008 11:47:09 -0500, Douglas Johnson

Actually it is, but don't worry the earth is falling too :-)

A clamp ammeter can be a useful thing sometimes.

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No; no such things as "falling" in the universal sense. "Falling" is generally assumed to mean descending toward the earth. The earth isn't falling; it's being suspended in a path by external gravitational and electrical forces, among others such as black matter, material in space, etc.. <g>

Yup. But with a handy breaker to remove, a few clip leads and a good ammeter gives great results without repositioning, proximity effects, etc.. Love clamps, but love a chance to direct-connect even more! Safely, of course! Clam ps are a lot safer as long as they stay plugged in!
Cheers,

I'd say it's the best first-line of attack, viewed from "here"<g>.

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