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circuit breaker keeps tripping

Discussion in 'Electrical Engineering' started by Anthony Guzzi, Dec 1, 2004.

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  1. In my girlfriend's apartment, the circuit breaker for the kitchen keeps
    tripping. This only started happening a couple days ago. After
    resetting the breaker, it takes about a day before it trips again, not
    right away. What could be the cause of this?

    Before I simply get "call an electrician" my situation is that she and I
    are both full time university students, and have no money at all. Her
    landlord is very slow, if ever, to respond to any maintance requests.

    I am also a full time student, however I am a lot more capable than
    most, I also work in the electrical department at a major home
    improvement store, and can do a good many tasks that many of my peers
    can not. I think I could fix her problem if I knew what was wrong and
    how to fix it.

    The circuit breaker for the kitchen is a 30 amp, double pole of course.


  2. There is one thing in the kitchen that is 240 volts. The electric
    range. That requires a 2-pole breaker. Now that I think about it, I
    learned at my work that most electric ranges use 30 amps also.

    However I also think I remember hearing that major appliances like that
    are required to be on their own seperate circuit. But this breaker very
    obviously controls more than just the electric range.
    Perhaps it was grandfathered in, cause that doesn't sound right.

    Since I made the first post, I may have found out what the problem is,
    but I am not 100% sure. She convieniently forgot to tell me earlier
    that the heating coil in the oven died about the same time as all this
    started happening. I think that it is now drawing too much power and
    making the breaker trip. Would this be a correct?
  3. Rusty

    Rusty Guest

    Phil has covered most of it but I suppose the breaker isn't an arc
    fault or GFCI type. If the oven element is leaking to ground it
    could trip either of these.

    The present code requires that all kitchen outlets above the counter
    should be on separate 15 amp breakers with the top and bottom
    outlets of any one receptacle on different breakers by removing the
    brass link that joins them. Also adjacent outlets may not be on the
    same pair of breakers. It sounds as though your situation is very
    far from the present code.

    It is certainly not a safe situation so please follow Phil's advice.
  4. Rowbotth

    Rowbotth Guest

    He could also do the same warmth test a few hours after the breaker is
    reset - for all the kitchen receptacles and lights. Also the "Sniff"
  5. Rowbotth

    Rowbotth Guest

    The heating coil may be shorting to ground, depending upon the mode of
    failure. Or it may have a poor connection to ground, which will take
    time to draw the current you need to trip the breaker.

    And maybe some ranges may have fuses which should protect the coil -
    I've been a gas range user for the past 20 years , so I'm not up on what
    is fuse protected on a range.

  6. Yeah. This is an older apartment. I don't know how old.

    I'm in Northern California, by the way.
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