It seems whenever the temperature gets over 100 degrees or so, a
particular breaker in my house will trip if even a slight load is put
on it. The breaker box is being directly hit by the sun in the
afternoons, and it seems that if I attempt to cool the box, this cures
the problem temporarily. The problem will go away as soon as the sun is
low enough so the box is in shade. Is this a faulty breaker? I'm not an
electrician, so how much would it be $-wise for an electrician to come
out and fix this? Thanks for any help you could give me in this!
I would appear that the breaker may need to be replaced. This is an
easy job, but if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself, then having
an electrician do it should be a minimal charge. Note: there is a certain
amount of danger in doing this, so if you are not sure, just have it done.
What is that breaker controlling? Is there something on that circuit
like a A/C unit that could be having problems with the heat? There also
could be a problem with your power coming into your home. If the
transformer feeding your home is too small for the current demands of you
and your neighbors, it may need to be replaced as well. But breakers do go
bad and it does sound like that is your real problem.
Thanks for the advice. The breaker does have an 8000btu room A/C unit
on the circuit. The breaker controls a circuit of outlets that are in
three rooms of the house - it's an old house (1939) and the breaker box
was put in around 1976, and this breaker is an original. This problem
only manifests itself in extreme heat (anything over 95), and the temp
the last two days has averaged 110. I am calling an electrician this
week, but I fear that they may be backed up with work (there are folks
around the city with much worse problems than me).
Yea, like hitting a bus bar with the screwdriver, vaporizing it and
Cost (if you do not take 200A jolt):
Screwdriver - $5
Electrician to repair fried box, wires, breakers, etc $500+
Medical bills - $4000
Glasses - minus 400/yr. Credit since you don't need being
Cost (if you do take 200A jolt):
You'll never know.
I'd do two things. First, I'd replace the breaker. Then, I'd shade the
It is a five minute job, but an electrician is going to have to charge you
at least $75 to come out and do it.
Chances are, a handy neighbor or relative knows how and can help.
Determine the brand and size (amps) of the breaker and buy a replacement
If you've never done this, turn off the power at the main breaker, usually
at the top of the box
Remove the breaker box cover
Loosed the screw holding the wire to the breaker
Remove the breaker. Most snap in place, some have a screw on the buss bar.
Snap in the new one, replace the wire, replace the cover and turn on the
When you have a short circuit, a bi-metal link inside the breaker heats up
and then deforms thus flipping the switch off.
Given that most breakers use this thermal mode to trip, excessive heat in
the enclosure can derate the breakers trip point but it should not be as
extreme as you describe. That breaker is obviously defective. The ambient
temp rating of the breaker box is at least 125F.
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