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.
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
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.
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.
Aint No Stinkin Viruses Here!
Checked by AVG anti-virus system (http://www.grisoft.com ).
No, I don't. The first thing you want to do is to remove the breaker, make
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.
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
Phil Munro Dept of Electrical & Computer Engin
mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org Youngstown State University
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