Breaker blowing

A breaker in my service panel has blown, it serves the smoke detectors in the house and some ceiling fans, and some lights in the basement. the ceiling fans have not been in service since the summer, the lights in the basement havent changed since installation. this breaker has blown and now it wont go back on. Is there a serious electrical problem in my house or has the breaker died?
Thanks, Fish
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
The breaker could be bad, but most likely you have a short on that circuit. First try turning off and unplugging everything on that circuit and see if it will reset. If it does, turn things back on, one by one, until you find the thing that causes the short. Also, you can look to see if any outside outlets are connected to that circuit as well. If water got into an outside outlet, it could be the cause of the short

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

would stay on, but it didn't. I was lucky I didn't burn the house down.
Turns out a mouse had chewed through a cable, shorting it. Each time I turned the breaker on, there was a major arc inches away from some paper napkins.
Could be a bad breaker, but more likely a short. Be very careful (and hope you don't have to clean up a vaporized mouse).
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Thank you for both replies. After leaving this post i am going outside to check a couple outlets I have. IF this is not the solution I dont know what to do. there is basically nothing on this circuit but 2 smoke detectors, I already took one down, and I suppose I will take the other 2 down if the outside outlets are all working.
I will respond shortly with my findings on the outside plugs.
What do you think an electrician would charge to trace down this problem?
Thanks, Fish
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

You said there were fans. You take off the covers and the fan unplugs from it's own receptacle.
(at least bathroom fans do that.)

Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

A vaporized mouse is a GOOD mouse !!! Much better than live ones anyhow...
To the OP. If you are comfortable with electricity, open the breaker box and just remove the wire to that breaker. See if it turns back on. If it does, use a meter to test for voltage. If there is voltage, you have a short somewhere in that wiring. If the breaker dont turn on, replece it.
If there is a short, you will notice a loud POP sound when you flip the breaker on. A dead breaker wont do that.
Mark
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
fish wrote:

When you say it won't go back on, do you mean exactly that or when you try to turn it back on it makes a short hum noise and shuts back off? Are you turning it all the way off and then trying to turn it back on?

--
Joseph Meehan

Dia duit
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Sun, 11 Dec 2005 18:59:26 GMT, "Joseph Meehan"

I just checked my outside outlets, they both work, and the one in the garage is working too. That is a complete inventory of outside outlets.
When I flip the breaker back on, it immediately shuts off. Yes, I go full back and then on. I removed the breaker and headed out to home depot thinking it was the breaker, but then I got thinking. So I put the black wire from the tripping breaker onto the neighbor breaker, then that breaker tripped. So I am confident that the trouble is in the wiring, and not the breaker itself. Since I need the breaker to continue testing the circuits, I put all breakers back in with the original wiring, and now the situation is the same the faulty circuit continues to blow the breaker.
I am left with the task of removing the remaining 2 smoke detectors, then one by one opening each junction in the basement on the blown circuit until i find a short. It should be nice and smokey black shouldn't it?
Fish.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
When you put the black wire on the other breaker, had you removed any wire that had been on that second breaker or did you just double up?
To verify the problem, only the offending circuit should be on the second breaker.
By swapping the lines between the two breakers, you can verify with no doubt if it is the breaker or the circuit
Charlie
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Aw dammmit. I just doubled up. I see, I need to switch them. Ok easy enough though. I will go try that. THanks. I will be back in a few.
Fish
On Sun, 11 Dec 2005 14:36:34 -0500, "Charlie Bress"

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

What has changed or been done around the house recently? Looking for a cause here. Pictures hung bulbs changed.
Excluding critters a shorted motor or a loose and shorted lamp socket is the next most logical place to look. Bathroom fans are the most likely suspect.
I know you listed what you believe is on that circuit but have you verified everything else as working?
Colbyt
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
... : : I am left with the task of removing the remaining 2 smoke detectors, : then one by one opening each junction in the basement on the blown : circuit until i find a short. It should be nice and smokey black : shouldn't it? : : Fish. : :
No, not necessarily. It depends on what the short is. If it's something in direct and solid contact, there might not even be any evidence of arccing, etc..
If I were you, I'd get out (or buy a cheap) my multimeter, disconnect the wire from the breaker again, and leave it off for the duration, remove/unplug everything in/on that branch, including lights, and start tracing. If you have to buy a cheapie at RS or someplace, get one with a beeper sound when it sees shorts; very handy.
Or, call in a pro, but you really should STOP testing it by popping the ckt breaker every time or it may really GO bad, or worse, a fire might start and smolder somewhere until it's too late.
Constantly stressing/flipping a ckt brkr is definitely bad for it; they're just not made to be used as switches. Besides, it's a lot safer to work without power on the line. You DO kill the Mains to work on the breaker, right? Even if you don't pull one out, the right move could put a pile of them right into your lap when that cover's off. Very often the covers hold the breakers in proper place.
HTH,
Pop
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

ohmeter, thats different, isnt it? How much do you think I will spend on one?

and jerky when working on that service? Where is the main? Is that the one that is outside? I really do feel nervous working on that thing so I will take your advice on the Multimeter, that sounds fun and somewhat safer than what I have been doing.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Actually I have this multimeter, so should this help me find the short? What test method should I use to trace down the short?
http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId !03534&cp=&kw=multimeter&parentPage=search
Thanks in advance, Fish
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Pop wrote: <snip> Very often the covers

I have NEVER seen a box where that is the case. That would be one cheap-*ss piece of equipment.

--
The e-mail address in our reply-to line is reversed in an attempt to
minimize spam. Our true address is of the form snipped-for-privacy@prodigy.net.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Case solved.
A broken on/off switch had a direct short in a light fixture in my work area. I am off to home depot for a replacement switch then the breaker will be back on.
thanks guys. Fish
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

I had a similar situation and replaced the breaker (with the help of posters on this newsgroup), which itself had gone bad. It could be a wiring short, but from what you describe it sounds more like a failed breaker. How old is the breaker? Mine was nearly 25 years old. I'd replace the breaker, turn it on, and then double check to make sure all circuits that branch from it are working properly with no shorts.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Dood If your breaker is blowing, you got a GAY breaker !!!
wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.