This one has me stumped.
I have a subpanel which feeds both the electric heat upstairs and the power
to a recent house addition.
I recently accidentally tripped the breaker for the addition. It would not
reset. There is no short or overload; not a case of the breaker tripping
again. The switch stayed in place when reset but there was no juice. I even
replaced it with a new breaker. (I subsequently found there was nothing
wrong with the original one.) I determined that there is power in the box.
I re-inserted the breaker in another bay in the box and everything works
Except the heaters which are on the other two breakers. They're doing the
same thing as the original breaker did. They're not tripped but they are not
passing power either.
So there is power on the bus bar, the two heater breakers are properly
wired and are not defective. There is no problem with the house wiring or
the thermostats. (Unlikely that three of them would fail at the same time.)
So how come the heaters don't work?
My only guess is that somehow the breakers are not making proper contact
with the bus bar. .
The electric heat is seldom used although one heater worked as recently as
It is a Square D installation.
not saying this is your snafuu but..
push the breaker handle firmly all the way to off
if you feel some spring tension before it actually reaches full off position
the breaker was in a tripped state - sometimes a breaker looks on but is
actually tripped too until you reset it completely to off
Is there power on both legs of the bus? It sounds like you have lost
one of the 120v feeds for some reason. Where is the subpanel fed from?
Perhaps there is another breaker/fuse upstream from the subpanel that
Turns out the problem was nothing but a blown fuse in the fuse box that
feeds the sub panel.
But here's the kicker.
My insurer had demanded a home inspection last year. One of the things he
required was that 20 amp fuses be replaced with 15's. The electrician I
called (to replace a $#@%@4!&&! fuse it turns out) told me the circuit
(which feeds baseboard heaters) is wired for 30 amps and there should be a
30 amp fuse in the block.
So I should send the electrician's bill to the inspector, right?
The reason we keep seeing this kind of problem is that many home
inspectors are not qualified to inspect electrical installations or
equipment. Whenever a property owner is faced with any demand for
change in a building they have a right to question the qualifications of
any privately employed person who is making such a demand as to their
qualifications to do electrical inspections. There is a national
certification program for electrical inspectors. It is a demanding
discipline that cannot be learned by attending continuing education
Home inspectors often miss basic electrical safety issues while calling
out deficiencies that are not in fact a violation of the electric code.
The most obvious example of this is the common failure to carefully
examine the Grounding Electrode System of the home to make sure that it
is one system rather than two or more separate systems. That one defect
can cause more financial loss than all of the older two wire receptacles
still legally in use in the country.
I've accompanied a couple of home inspectors on inspection visits to
rather large and high priced homes. Both were dedicated to their craft
and conscientious. In both cases I had to explain that there is no
requirement in any law, regulation, or code to bring existing electrical
installations up to present day installation standards as if the house
was newly built. In one of the homes that was surveyed I pointed out
the daisy chaining of the feeder supplied panels by terminating two
conductors per lug. That has never been an acceptable method were
single barreled lugs are installed in the panel. I also had to point
out the use of another manufacturers unrecognized breakers in the panel
by modifying the breakers. In spite of their good intentions they would
have missed those items because they are not trained in electrical
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