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RESIDENTIAL ELECTRICAL TROUBLE SHOOTING

 
 
JUdy p
 
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 07:01 am
I noticed on a lot of the ask an electrician sites that if they feel a person may get hurt doing the job, the electrician tells them to call a pro. I totally understand. Having said that, I've been retired 12 years but I am a licensed journeyman. It's just 98% commericial, 2% residential. I'm sure you're a Master and no doubt are more knowledgeable than I am. Not bragging, but 20 years ago I was the the number one lineman out of 132 and as far as I know the only female in my state [Arkansas]. So, I'm hoping after you read this, you may have a suggestion or two and save me some time checking things I don't need to check. I'm really not crazy, but when you get my age you've earned the right to have fun acting like you are!! If you can't post any suggestion publicly,maybe you can email them to me. Here's the deal:
I helped a friend out 2 or 3 years ago. The problem turned out to be a 60 amp breaker mounted below the meter outside It was fried and the box was fried. {it wasn't weatherproof} It fed a panel that supplied power for the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. There was a 100 amp breaker also, it fed the rest of the house through another panel, it wasn't burnt, but I mounted a weather proof box outside and replaced both breakers anyway. Everything worked fine for the next 3 years. The same friend called me with the same problem today. His lights dim when he starts the cloths dryer, the 60 amp breaker has tripped several times and sometimes the washer runs slow. Other than helping friends and neighbors out, I've been retired 20 years and when I did work, it was commercial, not residential, maybe a new residence on occasion, but no remodeling, and trouble shooting was out of the question. It was V.A. Hospitals, Mititary Bases, and I loved doing linework. I was a damned good lineman and commercial electrician, I just hated residential, so I sucked at it, especially trouble shooting, it was just too damn hard, besides that, I wasn't smart enough. Anyway, I checked out my friends house breifly today. The 'main' with the 6o and 100 amp breakers looked and tested fine. The small breaker box had a couple of lose wires, one breaker was feeding 2 circuits so I installed a 20 amp and seperated them. The only other thing was a hundred year old ground fault receptacle in the bathroom that had shorted out, I just pulled it and capped it off for the time being. The lights were still dimming When I went to leave so I fixed nothing. It was dark out, and on my way to my car I opened the "main" under the meter and sparks flew from the 60 amp breaker. I could just bump it and sparks would fly. I just turned it off for tonight and it looks like I won't be fishing tomorrow.
So, this old lady has a question for one of you trouble shooters. I'll be there till I find and fix the problem, I have no doubt I will trace it down, but I'm 65 years old and I'll have to start at point A and with my luck the problems way down at point Z, hell, I might not live that long. I'm gonna' pull the 60 amp in the morning and I have a feeling when I take it out, it'll be as burnt as the last one was. That's a problem that's an easy fix, I'd like to know what's causing it. If there's something in the house that could be causing the problem with the outside "main". I'd sure appreciate any imput, otherwize I'm gonna' have to get my friends drunk and convince them breakers just last a couple of years then burn right up!!!! I promise, any ideas thrown at me, I will check out. I've even considered the meter being the problem. Build a power feild with 50 transformers, no problem, but I usually put change in a meter so I won't get a parking ticket!! FYI, there's about 35 or 40 families in this cummunity, mostly elderly on fixed incomes, we all help each other, a major job usually comes with a cook out, but we don't want payment for anything. What I do is going to be up to code, but it usually the only thing that is. Before I moved here everybodys remedy for a fuse that kept blowing was a penny and a breaker that kept tripping was up the amps till it quit!!!! Thanks, JUdy
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Type: Question • Score: 2 • Views: 465 • Replies: 2

 
View best answer, chosen by JUdy p
jespah
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Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 08:09 am
@JUdy p,
What is your question?
JUdy p
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2015 08:13 am
@jespah,
I helped a friend out 2 or 3 years ago. The problem turned out to be a 60 amp breaker mounted below the meter outside It was fried and the box was fried. {it wasn't weatherproof} It fed a panel that supplied power for the kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room. There was a 100 amp breaker also, it fed the rest of the house through another panel, it wasn't burnt, but I mounted a weather proof box outside and replaced both breakers anyway. Everything worked fine for the next 3 years. The same friend called me with the same problem today. His lights dim when he starts the cloths dryer, the 60 amp breaker has tripped several times and sometimes the washer runs slow. Other than helping friends and neighbors out, I've been retired 20 years and when I did work, it was commercial, not residential, maybe a new residence on occasion, but no remodeling, and trouble shooting was out of the question. It was V.A. Hospitals, Mititary Bases, and I loved doing linework. I was a damned good lineman and commercial electrician, I just hated residential, so I sucked at it, especially trouble shooting, it was just too damn hard, besides that, I wasn't smart enough. Anyway, I checked out my friends house breifly today. The 'main' with the 6o and 100 amp breakers looked and tested fine. The small breaker box had a couple of lose wires, one breaker was feeding 2 circuits so I installed a 20 amp and seperated them. The only other thing was a hundred year old ground fault receptacle in the bathroom that had shorted out, I just pulled it and capped it off for the time being. The lights were still dimming When I went to leave so I fixed nothing. It was dark out, and on my way to my car I opened the "main" under the meter and sparks flew from the 60 amp breaker. I could just bump it and sparks would fly. I just turned it off for tonight and it looks like I won't be fishing tomorrow.
So, this old lady has a question for one of you trouble shooters. I'll be there till I find and fix the problem, I have no doubt I will trace it down, but I'm 65 years old and I'll have to start at point A and with my luck the problems way down at point Z, hell, I might not live that long. I'm gonna' pull the 60 amp in the morning and I have a feeling when I take it out, it'll be as burnt as the last one was. That's a problem that's an easy fix, I'd like to know what's causing it. If there's something in the house that could be causing the problem with the outside "main". I'd sure appreciate any imput, otherwize I'm gonna' have to get my friends drunk and convince them breakers just last a couple of years then burn right up!!!! I promise, any ideas thrown at me, I will check out. I've even considered the meter being the problem. Build a power feild with 50 transformers, no problem, but I usually put change in a meter so I won't get a parking ticket!! FYI, there's about 35 or 40 families in this cummunity, mostly elderly on fixed incomes, we all help each other, a major job usually comes with a cook out, but we don't want payment for anything. What I do is going to be up to code, but it usually the only thing that is. Before I moved here everybodys remedy for a fuse that kept blowing was a penny and a breaker that kept tripping was up the amps till it quit!!!! Thanks, JUdy
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