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Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

[Electrical] Breaker / Panel or HVAC problem

I have my being redone and the flooring guys pulled the A/C breaker to connect their equipment directly to the panel (trailer mounted vacuum cleaner). The showed me the breaker and where the panel legs enter the breaker, there is burning and plastic melting. Is this just a shitty breaker (it's not the same brand as the panel) or does this indicate that there is something wrong with my A/C. The A/C hasn't been on this year, and I didn't have this house last year, so the melting of the plastic is clearly old.

I hate situations like these as if I call an electrician he'll blame the A/C and HVAC guys will blame the panel. For some reason every single time I have 2 trades involved it's always the other guys fault.



pende_tim
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Andover, NJ
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Comcast

[Electrical] Re: Breaker / Panel or HVAC problem

From what you describe this is a serious problem. If the contacts are proper, there should be no heat generated and no melted or burned anything.

The A/C should not be causing this unless the load is too high and the breaker is not tripping. The contacts on the breaker and panel should be able to handle the rated load with no issues.

Can you post pictures of the area and model numbers of panel and breaker.
--
The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.



Jack_in_VA
Premium
join:2007-11-26
North, VA
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Millenicom
reply to Dodge

said by Dodge:

if I call an electrician he'll blame the A/C and HVAC guys will blame the panel. For some reason every single time I have 2 trades involved it's always the other guys fault.

I'll help you solve it. IT IS AN ELECTRICAL PROBLEM. You need to calll an Electrician immediately to correct it.


leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET
reply to Dodge

There is no fault condition of the HVAC system that would allow a properly installed breaker of the correct type for the panel to be burning and melting.

While it is true that longterm overload will raise the breaker temperature, it should either cause a thermal trip (load current and duration cross the trigger threshold curve of the breaker) or the breaker should handle that amount of heat indefinitely.

You definitely need an electrician to check the panel and replace the breaker.

Of course, just because you definitely have a breaker problem doesn't guarantee that you don't also have a HVAC issue but hopefully the AC will be fine.
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Got some spare cpu cycles ? Join Team Helix or Team Starfire!



StephenRC

join:2013-11-02
Melbourne, FL
reply to Dodge

Who made the panel?

If it's a Federal Pacific replace the panel. The breakers do what you found on yours.



Corehhi

join:2002-01-28
Bluffton, SC
reply to Dodge

My HVAC has multiple breakers on it, the possibility of an overload going all the way back to the panel would be odd.

You need an electrician for this one.


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to Dodge

Ok, off to call electricians.



mackey
Premium
join:2007-08-20
kudos:10
reply to Dodge

I've seen this before with aluminum wires and high draw appliances. If the aluminum isn't terminated correctly it'll melt whatever it's connected to (a breaker in this case). I have a rather expensive paperweight because of that (it was a 2-pole GFCI until it turned into a pile of molten goo).

/M


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

This is copper wiring.



Killa200
Premium
join:2005-12-02
Southeast TN
Reviews:
·Charter
reply to Dodge

Re: [Electrical] Breaker / Panel or HVAC problem

Pictures would go a long way on this. We know it is broken and you need it fixed, but why is the question.

Bad breaker? Bad Panel Type? Insufficient wire awg? Something Else?

Type of panel and age of house would help with the answer, and if that circuit is original or an add in.


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27
reply to Dodge

So the electrician stopped by, here is a fun list of problems with the panel:
1) All breakers are not from this panel and some are not even fully compatible (latches don't align / don't exist)
2) Half the breakers are wobbling in place
3) Most of the legs in the panel are bent and corroded and/or burnt
4) there is visible burn damage all over the place
5) He touched one of the breakers and there is visible arcing now

I knew this panel was not too good, but this is insane.

He straightened out the legs, cleaned off the corrosion and took out the breakers that are completely fubared. He's coming back this weekend to replace the panel and obviously all breakers.

We'll be going from 150A service to 200A, Square D QO panel.


guppy_fish
Premium
join:2003-12-09
Lakeland, FL
kudos:1

Good choice, can't go wrong with the QO's


psiu

join:2004-01-20
Farmington, MI
reply to Dodge

If you and your panel make it to change out time, take some pics for us.


Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

1 edit
reply to Dodge


Old panel

New Panel
Before and after pictures


leibold
Premium,MVM
join:2002-07-09
Sunnyvale, CA
kudos:10
Reviews:
·SONIC.NET

1 edit

What just happened ? One moment I see your post with the before and after pictures of the panel and the next moment the pictures are gone ?

Edit: and they are back. Thanks!
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Dodge
Premium
join:2002-11-27

1 recommendation

I posted the 16 megapixel version by accident Didn't think anyone needed to see such details on my panels, so I re-upped it in more normal size.