Had an electrician out today....the problem was a hot and a ground
were fused together inside the panel and a bad breaker. looks like the
panel was getting some water in it and making some wires rot. Thanks
*This is something I would need to see to figure out what is going on.
Obviously there is a problem or perhaps multiple problems. My first thought
is that perhaps the neutral conductor is being overloaded by having two
circuits on the same phase sharing it. I'm thinking that the two circuits
are connected to a twin breaker and not a double pole.
That relay might be a transformer for the low voltage control for the
You would need to start at one end or the other and identify each conductor
and determine what it is being used for. I would probably start at the
circuit breaker panel. An electrician could do this faster than you and
identify everything that is not safe and code compliant.
Do you know if the previous homeowner did his own wiring?
If it's a ganged breaker set approved for the panel, then it can only
connect to both sides of the line, resulting in 220 between the two output
screws. Two next to each other breakers in almost every panel made will give
the same results.
With a conduit getting hot you prescribe troubleshooting? Nuh, uh! He needs
a pro and quickly. Else they could be searching thru basement rubble for
keepsakes rather soon.
*The OP said a double breaker. Since he is not an electrican that could
mean a two pole breaker or a twin breaker. A twin breaker has both loads
connected to the same buss and requires separate neutrals. If he has one
neutral for both loads on a twin breaker it can get very hot depending on
the loads and would not trip a breaker.
I agree that a pro is the best way to go, but some people will insist on
doing things themselves. I apologize for trying to be helpful.
No need to apologize John. You obviously know your stuff pretty well and
you've raised only salient points. I've seen posts from you in the past that
exhibit the same virtues, too. I haven't seen the OP respond anywhere, not
that I blame him now, and except for myself (I don't recall your previous
post; maybe you too) I'm about the only one who tried to allow for
differences in meanings of the OPs descriptions. The number of spoken and
non-spoken problems could well contain many different things due to the lack
of information. I may have made a mistake in that I didn't ASK direct
questions but instead tried to leave responses open ended for him.
For example the hot conduit: It takes a hell of a current to heat conduit,
assuming it's metal and not plastic, which wasn't mentioned but was assumed
to be metal. What length of conduit got hot? Was it just heat transfer from
the furnace? Or was it due to current flow? I kind of doubt current flow,
but ... it's not safe to ignore the possibility. And then the "double
breaker" clarification you pointed out; excellent point as the OP left the
audience to guess again. And then of course you have the egos and
narcissists who crawled out of their hiding places. It's interesting to see
how that happens but I assume it's something to do for them during their
holiday season. Some of them might not be very happy people.
Anyway, I'd think you were one of the last who should be apologizing; you
stayed on track from what I can see and added useful thoughts. Yes, I know
this will bring on more of the egoes and narcy's but they don't bother me. I
simply say what I mean and mean what I say, assuming I don't make too many
Often you'll find excellent advice on a newsgroup.
110Vac appliances, right?
A "ganged" 20A breaker? If one breaker resets, they both have to, right? Is
that what you mean?
That's what it sounds like and definitely is non-code, NOT standard
practice, and as you're discovering can be dangerous! Such breakers are
intended to provide 220Vac to some piece of equpiment, NOT as you are using
it, to provide two 110Vac lines. If I'm right AND it's installed properly,
the right one for you box, etc, then you will measure 220Vac between the two
breaker hots, which is its intended use.
So if one breaker is overloaded and tries to break, it's going to try to
take the other breaker with it, right? That's where it becomes DANGEROUS!
If one breaker starts to heat up due to overload, it can't break the ckt
because the other breaker ganged to it is holding it closed, especially if
it's nice and cool. So who knows how high the overload will have to get
before that overloaded breaker can overcome the non-overloaded breaker and
open, carrying the other one along with it. Or IF it can even do so period?
It's possible the overloaded breaker never will be able to overcome the
holding power of the other one, and maybe never open up but simply keep on
providing power until something burns open. As you are seeing. This could
not happen if it were a 220Vac appliance having the problem and it were
wired properly and to code.
It's easy enough to fix, IF the overloaded breaker hasn't been ruined by the
overloads! Just remove the pin/screw, whatever that gangs the levers
together and allow them to operate on their own.
A much better fix would be to replace the ganged breaker set with two
single breakers, since you're using them for 110Vac anyway. If you need
220Vac, THEN use a ganged breaker, and ONLY for the 220 equipment.
Irrelevant, but; isn't the hot tub 220V? Is this a case of mixing 110 and
220 on a ganged breaker? Ouch! Don't do that.
If I've understood you properly, that's all explained by the preceding info
about ganged vs non-ganged breakers.
I hope you'll keep us advised,
Twayne, why is it that there is not a single poster in this thread
that agrees with you that an Edison circuit with ganged breakers is
not code compliant? And facing that, why is it that you expect us to
do the simple googling that proves you are wrong. In fact, your
continued ranting and attacks, while handing out dangerous advice,
shows that you're not just wrong, but a complete imbecile.
Actually, I figured out just a few minutes ago what the discrepencies
between what I'm saying and what you guys are talking about are. I'd left a
voicemail for our local code enforcement officer and decided he wouldn't be
returning calls this late, but he did.
Once we got by his disdain for newsgroups, it turns out that our local
codes forbid the use of multi-wire branches. We're in far upstate NY state.
That does make me feel better since multi-wire branches look and sound, even
though there are advantages to using them, like they are dangerous. He
related the normal set of problems found 'round the 'net and a few others I
hadn't thought of. Apparently they're pretty easy to mis-install 220V or
110V wise; hadn't thought of that. And a few other sundries along the same
Sometimes I tend to forget that NEC isn't the last word; it's just a bible
of the minimums, so to speak. So your comment to "educate" myself is
backwards: I've been talking about OUR local codes, not specifically the NEC
so I am guilty of using an "over" educated viewpoint. Tim's not exactly a
personal friend but he is a close acquaintance; this is a small rural area.
Often you'll find excellent advice on a newsgroup.
Nonsense -- they're almost impossible to mis-install, if you use the right
equipment. (And you said this is a type of circuit you "know well".)
BTW -- it hasn't been 220/110 in the United States for a loooooong time. It's
been 240/120 for at least the last 25 or 30 years.
The NEC which you haven't read because you haven't been able to find it
No, you are guilty of using an ignorant, uninformed, uneducated viewpoint. You
stated, repeatedly, that Edison circuits are dangerous. That, quite simply, is
false. And that has nothing to do with national vs. local codes. That's an
issue only of truth vs. falsehood. There is nothing inherently dangerous about
a properly installed Edison circuit, your uninformed delusions to the contrary
On Sun, 27 Dec 2009 00:40:52 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Doug Miller)
Actually you are wrong too. It is by definition 115/230 and in reality
USUALLY from 115 to 117 per side.
Properly installed is the key - and in areas with mandatory electrical
inspection MOST are properly installed and not an issue.
In areas WITHOUT mandatory inspections, the chance of having an
improperly installed "edison circuit" improves dramatically, and
improperly installed, they CAN be dangerous - so the safest way to
handle it in those areas has been deemed to make them illegal.
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