The main circuit breaker on the side, at the outside out my house is
overheating and trips. All electricity inside the house gets turned
off when this hapens. It tends to happen whenever I use the AC on a
hot day. The electrician says that this 90 AMP main circuit breaker
needs to be replaced. The problem is that he says that they don't
make these 90 AMP circuit breakers anymore. They only have them in
100 AMP. He says it's safe to go up from 90 to 100 AMP.
Is this safe to do at my house? Your suggestions/advice would be
I forgot to mention that this 90 amp circuit breaker is the main
circuit breaker to the house. On the panel outside the house, there
are 2 circuit breakers. One for the main, and one for the AC. The AC
breaker is OK. Only the main 90 amp circuit breaker trips when I use
the AC. The AC was tested, and the AC was not the root cause of this
problem. The main circuit breaker was the problem.
Without seeing the breaker box I doubt that anyone can tell you whether
it is safe. The electrician you hired thinks it's safe and he saw your
breaker box. Selling you a new and larger breaker box would be profitable
for him so if he recommends just swapping the main breaker he's saving you
money and is guaranteeing that the swap is safe. Sounds good to me. Make
sure he's licensed and get a receipt.
On Fri, 27 Jun 2008 06:08:21 -0700, Michelle wrote:
Upgrade to 200 amp and have all your wiring rechecked before you burn the
place down. The A/C is straining your system but every time a motor
starts, e.g., the fridge, you can expect something to give.
Let's not play Chicken Little. The sky is not falling.
You have no way of knowing this. While 90 amps is kind of small by modern
standards, it is not necessarily too small. We don't know the A/C load or other
loads that are present.
It is quite likely the breaker is failing. It happens. If so, all she needs to
do is replace the breaker. This is much, much cheaper than upgrading to 200
amps, which would require a new panel, likely new breakers, and possibly a
Agree. A 90 amp house service does sound a little small in this day
and age. Maybe the house was built before AC and many other modern
gadgets became common and affordable for most if us? But if you have
gas or oil heating, not electric, then 90-100 amps may be quite
But quite possibly the breaker is getting a little old and tired. If
the electrician says replace it with a new 100 amp and the wiring is
OK try that for a while.
And naturally even if you do not have 'a lot of electrics' in your
house maybe conserve a bit by not running anything else 'heavy' while
the AC is in use? For example don't go baking anything in an electric
oven (not that anyone might want to on a hot day anyway?) during a hot
day when the AC is on?
If the house has been extended or other additions, then perhaps,
maybe, it may be time to think about a larger new service. But doing
that can mean that major parts of the house may have may to be rewired
to meet current electrical code requirements and the consequent
expense; whereas the current problem, if nothing else has changed, may
be just a worn out circuit breaker!
U think Michelle is going to know what specific tests an electrician
made or really cares about the breaker itself?
She had an electrician evaluate the situation; her best bet is either
accept the professional advice she paid for or hire another if she
thinks there's something suspect about this one.
I asked if he tested or just LOOKED!
a neighbor had a problem like this, 2 minutes with my clamp on amp
meter, and 5 minutes moving a couple loads to the other side fixed it
4 or 5 years ago.......
no problems since.....
I don't know any electricians who can tell the condition of a breaker or
determine the cause of a regularly tripping one simply by looking (other
than the obvious it's fried which one would presume isn't the case here
since it apparently was still functional to the point of tripping).
"Professional" isn't "omnipotent".
FWIW-- my parent's house had 50 amp service until 1995. It had a little
Square D box under the meter with 2 single pole 50 amp breakers that fed
the house panel in the garage. We never had any problems, even when we
got up to 5 window a/c's -- a 230v 1.5ton later replaced with a 2 ton in
the living room, the rest 115v 7-10k btu more or less. Granted, the
stove and WH are gas. The only thing was that we could not run the LR
a/c and the electric dryer at the same time, but that was because they
were double lugged into the same breaker (was that way when we bought
the house in 1961 --- built in 1957) . In 1995, I put in central air and
installed a GE 100 amp panel outside. The little Square D box was in
such perfect shape that I put a 2 pole breaker in it and installed it
for a disconnect at the a/c condensing unit, where it still is to this
No; no such things as "falling" in the universal sense. "Falling" is
generally assumed to mean descending toward the earth. The earth isn't
falling; it's being suspended in a path by external gravitational and
electrical forces, among others such as black matter, material in space,
Yup. But with a handy breaker to remove, a few clip leads and a good
ammeter gives great results without repositioning, proximity effects,
etc.. Love clamps, but love a chance to direct-connect even more!
Safely, of course! Clam ps are a lot safer as long as they stay plugged
I'd say it's the best first-line of attack, viewed from "here"<g>.
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