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Old 04-25-2016, 06:42 PM   #1
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Default Electrical gremlins at my new house

So I've been replacing tons and tons at our new house (which has involved me turning some of the same breakers off and on over and over and over again).

Yesterday I started having lights randomly flicker or cut on 2 or 3 breakers after replacing some outlets and switches. I've been systematically disconnecting/double checking every piece of work I've done and everything looks fine and nothing is tripping.

Last night I pulled several of the switches completely out of the wall as they are the wider decorative ones to make sure nothing was going open from touching/arching/etc.

I came home tonight and at least two breakers weren't passing power, but did not appear tripped. I switched them off/on twice and they came back to life. I've turned the AC on, microwave, and damn near every light and no issues.

I want to blame the breaker at this point but confess I've never replaced one and rather not throw good money after bad.

Thoughts? Everything seems fine at this instant in time, but I have no idea how long it may stay this way.

I have no problem hiring an electrician if need be, but I suspect their first answer will be to replace the whole box....
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Old 04-25-2016, 06:47 PM   #2
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Federal Pacific?
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Old 04-25-2016, 06:58 PM   #3
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Federal Pacific?
Negative, some other company, not on the list of "your house will burn down" boxes
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Old 04-25-2016, 07:00 PM   #4
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replace the breaker.
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Old 04-25-2016, 07:05 PM   #5
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Call an electrician
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Old 04-25-2016, 07:17 PM   #6
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replace the breaker.
Googling makes it seem straight forward as turning everything off including the main, and then being careful not to touch anything stupid.

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Call an electrician
I have no desire to pay $1000 for a new box if it's something mundane as a breaker or mis-wired outlet.
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Old 04-25-2016, 08:25 PM   #7
 
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Second the replace the breaker suggestion. Also make sure you're not over powering anything. If it's 14 gauge wire it should be a 15 amp breaker, 12 gauge gets a 20 amp, etc...

Replacing a breaker isn't hard, just be safe doing it.

Do you have a spare in the panel that's the same amperage?
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Old 04-25-2016, 08:34 PM   #8
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Googling makes it seem straight forward as turning everything off including the main, and then being careful not to touch anything stupid.



I have no desire to pay $1000 for a new box if it's something mundane as a breaker or mis-wired outlet.
its very straightforward. i can swing by some time and show you if you aren't comfortable. Just have the breakers on hand.

#1 thing, verify with a meter that the panel is dead. Electricity is NOT something to fuck with. even if it doesn't kill you, it does damage to your body in so many ways. Guys want to showboat about changing out outlets while the circuit is hot. Have fun dude, thats some irresponsible hack work. be safe.
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Old 04-25-2016, 08:46 PM   #9
 
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Post a pic of the breaker, I'll let you know if it's a pain to change. And sometimes they don't look like their blown but they are
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:01 PM   #10
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Foolproof way of not getting injured.. Let the wife change the breaker..
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Old 04-25-2016, 09:20 PM   #11
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Just up her life insurance policy first!
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:15 AM   #12
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its very straightforward. i can swing by some time and show you if you aren't comfortable. Just have the breakers on hand.

#1 thing, verify with a meter that the panel is dead. Electricity is NOT something to fuck with. even if it doesn't kill you, it does damage to your body in so many ways. Guys want to showboat about changing out outlets while the circuit is hot. Have fun dude, thats some irresponsible hack work. be safe.

Thanks for the offer, I may take you up on it!

After FIRMLY hitting the breakers back and forth getting home yesterday, they've been fine since.... I found an outlet that was 'open' from my wiring, and am correcting that as well, I'm curious if that stupid little thing could be the culprit to all of this??
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:25 AM   #13
 
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only takes 1/10th of of amp running through you to drop you, that being said I've been in way too many switch and outlets while hot

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Old 04-26-2016, 11:25 AM   #14
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breakers can get weak over time. an open outlet wouldn't matter as long as it wasn't grounding and tripping the breaker. they're all in parallel
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:33 AM   #15
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Guys want to showboat about changing out outlets while the circuit is hot. Have fun dude, thats some irresponsible hack work. be safe.
youve never changed a switch, outlet, or light fixture with it live? cmon... simple... dont let the wires touch.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:35 AM   #16
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@Dasfinc change the breaker that are associated with the circuits you're having issues with.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:40 AM   #17
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youve never changed a switch, outlet, or light fixture with it live? cmon... simple... dont let the wires touch.
I've done it before, and I'm also experienced and know the dangers associated with it. I've changed out components hot on three phase 480. those days are over though. not worth getting whacked at work. I get paid by the hour and paid to do things properly and safely.
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Old 04-26-2016, 11:54 AM   #18
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I've done it before, and I'm also experienced and know the dangers associated with it. I've changed out components hot on three phase 480. those days are over though. not worth getting whacked at work. I get paid by the hour and paid to do things properly and safely.
I would never gamble with anything other than normal 120 stuff.
doing a light fixture, switch or outlet while live is whatever to me.
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:09 PM   #19
 
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its not just letting the wires touch, its completing a circuit with any of "you" in-line, go touch a single 120 outlet hot wire while in the basement standing on the concrete.
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Old 04-26-2016, 12:27 PM   #20
 
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Man I must be Mr. Safety. I always trip the breaker when I am working on anything electrical and double check with a tester to make sure it's not hot. It takes all of 30 seconds to run down and flip the breaker.
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Old 04-26-2016, 01:38 PM   #21
 
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I've done it before, and I'm also experienced and know the dangers associated with it. I've changed out components hot on three phase 480. those days are over though. not worth getting whacked at work. I get paid by the hour and paid to do things properly and safely.
Been there... Changing out a motor starter on a compressor that has two pumps on it and one has to be running all the time to keep air in the plant.... So the options were to wait till production was done and replace, or dig around in the panel while the other motor starter and much of the rest of the panel was still live....

Currently I would wait until production was done.... When I was 25 and had to get my ass to the bar it was work on that thing with the rest of the panel powered up.
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Old 04-26-2016, 02:00 PM   #22
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Man I must be Mr. Safety. I always trip the breaker when I am working on anything electrical and double check with a tester to make sure it's not hot. It takes all of 30 seconds to run down and flip the breaker.
this is 100% the correct way to do it. I'd get a day off if I was caught working on anything hot over 50v.
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Old 04-26-2016, 07:41 PM   #23
 
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Dasfinc, I had an electrician do all of my basement pull chains (8) replace the hanging fixture in my main entry, fix a gremlin in my kitchen, 3 outside outlets with weatherproof covers, a couple new light switches and two ceiling fans for $600... MONEY WELL SPENT.
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