Dead Outlet(s)

I live in a high rise condominium. Two weeks ago my refrigerator went dead. I reset all circuit breakers and it came back to life. My fridge went dead again yesterday. I turned all circuit breakers off and and on and it is still dead. However, if I plug it into a different outlet in the kitchen it works. Two other outlets are dead in the dining room and I believe all three are on the same circuit breaker. I turned the questionable breaker off until I can get this fixed. In addition, if I turn the questionable circuit breaker on, I hear a low humming sound, but can not pinpoint the source. When I turn this breaker off, the humming goes away. Any ideas or suggestions greatly appreciated.
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The breaker can be replaced for less than $10. If you can turn off the power to the breaker box, you could do it yourself. Get a flashlight and a screwdriver, turn off the power, verify that every light and appliance in the entire apartment goes out, unscrew the front plate, remove the bad breaker by prying something and unscrewing something, buy identical replacement (and let the guy at the store verify you picked an identical replacement because looks are deceiving), reinstall, re-screw, and turn the power on. An electrician with large balls can do it without turning off the power to the breaker box, but you will die if you try that. Again, I warn you that you will die if you try this without shutting off the power to the breaker box.

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I might add, if your main switch is outside of your apartment, outside of your immediate control, after you switch it off close the cover and place a lock on the hasp. That prevents any idle passer-by from turning the juice on unbeknownst to you.
- Spellcheck
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LOL.... You made my day with that one... Thanks.
Grim
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Thanks for all the replies! Do you all agree that there is a high probability the breaker is defective and causing my problem?

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I agree. The appliance works on another circuit, so it may very well be the breaker in question.
If you have a main breaker that you can flip and have the whole panel go dead, by all means replace the breaker.
Just remember that the big wires connected to the lugs at the top of the panel which then travel thru the main breaker are always live no matter what position the main breaker is in, and exercise caution if you need to work close to them for any reason.
Grim
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Dead on balls, as it were...
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sure the wire is attached securely, and then put it back in. There is an good chance it just needs to be reseated.
If that doesn't help, and it were my house, I would then swap two breakers. If the problem stays with the breaker, then replace the breaker. If it stays with the circuit, then you have to start opening stuff up and checking for bad connections.
Probably about 50-50.
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If you cannot locate the source of the "humming" sound when you turn the breaker back on, it must not be coming from the breaker that you just turned on. Probably it is something running on that circuit. If the fridge is still on that circuit when you hear the hum, it may be trying to start again, and that is what you hear. You may have an overloaded circuit, not necessarily a bad breaker. Maybe something else on that circuit (the hum source?) is drawing more current than it used to draw. Another note: why am I not dead? I take the cover off electric boxes once in a while (carefully), and it is pretty normal to pull breakers out when the box power is ON. Please understand that this is not a recommendation for you to do this without understanding what you are doing. --Phil
Robert wrote:

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Phil Munro Dept of Electrical & Computer Engin
mailto: snipped-for-privacy@cc.ysu.edu Youngstown State University
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