Electric circuit breaker

Hi Jim!
JW> We've had a problem for the past year or so where every so often one JW> circuit in our house starts to brown-out intermittantly. This circuit is JW> the newest one in the house, and I believe was inserted on it's own JW> breaker. In addition to the brown-outs, evidenced by light flickering as JW> well as phone, TV and VCR turning on and off sometimes (one can hear some JW> relay in the TV clicking repeatedly), a static-like noise can be heard JW> coming from the breaker.
The static-like noise is probably the arcing across contacts. I would _definately_ get it fixed: not good for any of electronics on the circuit as well as probably putting spikes on the other circuits which is not good for the electronics on the other circuits.
JW> An electrician told us that the problem was corrosion in the breaker or JW> in the wireing in the entire electrical box, which showed up first on the JW> grounding strip. He said that to fix it the entire box would have to be JW> rewired, but that there *wasn't* any risk of an electrical fire.
Personally I'd question the fire risk comment but then there's not much to burn inside a service panel box. I'm thinking just moving the circuit to a new breaker inside the box would probably be OK -- the circuit breaker needs to match/be compatible with the service panel (Brands A, C and D work with Panel Z but Brand B does not). OTOH if the service panel is older or has signs of corrosion/arcing now would be the time to get it replaced. ...Upgrade the service load while you're at it?
JW> The odd thing is that it ONLY occurs with this one circuit, and that if JW> all the lights on the circuit (about 260W load) are turned on, the JW> brown-outs will go away in about 10 seconds. If they are turned off, the JW> problem comes back, but if left on for about half and hour, the problem JW> seem to clear up (at least for anywhere between a day to six weeks).
Arc welds itself for a while, then cools off and breaks the connection? It's not right so needs to be fixed.
JW> Now for the questions: Why would current flowing through the circuit JW> seem to stabilize it (reverseing the corrosion to some degree, or causing JW> changes in the wire metal which temporarily bypasses the resistance JW> created by the corrosion?) Is there really no risk of electrical fire? JW> Why would it only occur on one circuit, if the entire box had corrosion JW> in it?
The one circuit is "bothered" only because that's the faulty one. Same thing as when a light bulb burns out, you tap it and it relights. The light bulb is still failing, you just bypassed the problem for a while.
The entire box may not have corrosion, maybe the breaker is faulty, but needs to be fixed. As I mentioned above, may be an incompatibility problem repaired by moving the circuit to a new slot (plus new breaker). Take a look at the buss bars in the panel - just don't touch! If they look 'fuzzy' it's replacement time (and upgrade?).
You might want to get the opinion of a second electrician. The project doesn't sound like it's a safety issue so you have some time but I would not delay.
- barry.martinATthesafebbs.zeppole.com
* I can't remember the last time I forgot something....
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RoseReader 2.52 P003186
The Safe BBS Bettendorf, IA 563-359-1971
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You can change a receptacle breaker (15/20A) for less than $10. (The brand should match the panel.) With the main open, not beyond a homeowner. Tighten any screws on copper twice.
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