Is your main circuit breaker tripping? Do you have questions about replacing main circuit breakers? You can consult with our local in-office Mesa electricians free of charge. Dolce Electric Co has scheduled a local in-office electrician in Mesa AZ from 8:00 AM until 5:00 PM today, Sunday, December 15th, 2019. He will answer all of your questions about why your main circuit breaker keeps tripping and provide you with the information you are looking for.
The main electrical circuit breaker in your panel is the safety device that protects your electrical panel from overloading. It also acts as the means of turning on and off all the incoming power to your home. If it fails a new one will be required to replace the existing one to get your power restored.
Main breakers are typically located above the rest of the smaller breakers in your panel but can be located in the center on some models. They come in several different sizes but the most common is 200 amps. Other sizes include 150 amps, 125 amps, 100 amps and 60 amps. Some are bolted into place and others slide or snap in like smaller breakers. When replacing these breakers it is important to pay attention to the circuit breaker sizing and also the make or manufacture. They are not interchangeable and only an exactly matched part will fit.
Dolce Electric Co has a large inventory of circuit breakers in stock and on our trucks. We carry the hard to find, older replacement parts that can take days to get delivered too. If you think you need your main breaker replaced, give our local in-office Mesa AZ electricians a call. They will ask you a few questions to verify that your breaker needs replacing and insure an exactly matched part is on hand. They will get you an appointment to restore your power within an hour or two.
Keeps tripping and other warning signs
Often times there will be signs that your main breaker is about to fail and other times they just completely fail without warning. Here are some of the warning signs that our electricians in Mesa AZ see and homeowners frequently experience before replacing circuit breakers.
- Breaker tripping frequently
- About half the power in your home no longer works
- Your lights dim and come back to full brilliance
- Random power losses and restoration
- Central air conditioning stops working
- Electric water heater stops working
- Electric clothes dryer stop heating
- Electric stove or over stops heating
- A sizzling, sparking or buzzing sound coming from your panel
- Breaker is hot to touch / burning smell at panel
- The handle won’t stay in the on or off position
If you need a main breaker replaced you may experience several of the above symptoms. Some of these symptoms can also be caused by a bad electric meter, a failing connection between the meter and the meter socket or a problem with the power supply from the power company. Dolce Electric Co schedules local electricians Mesa AZ homeowners can call 24/7 for breaker replacing and tripping problems. We always recommend calling the power company to verify that your incoming power is fully operational before scheduling an electrician. This is a free service that both APS and SRP provide.
How to test before updating
To verify that your breaker is working properly you will need to measure the voltage on both sides of your breaker known as line and load. The line side will be live even if the breaker is shut off, so be careful. A reading of about 240 volts should be measured between the two line side feeders. If you cannot read about 240 volts the problem is not the breaker and the power company should be called. If you can read 240 volts on the line side but cannot get 240 volts on the load side your breaker needs replacing. If you are not experienced with electrical troubleshooting we recommend contacting a qualified electrician for your safety.
Other potential problems
Your main breaker has three areas that should be inspected for damage to further verify that it needs to be replaced.
The breaker stab
The stab is the part that connects to the buss bar through spring tension. It is the most common point of failure and also the hardest to detect because it is on the back side of the breaker and can only be seen if removed. When this spring tension weakens the connection becomes loose and heat, sparking and burning can occur damaging your panel’s buss bar. If the stab on your breaker is failing timely repairs are important because as the arcing and burning continues there is more damage being done to your buss bar. If it is not addressed or replaced for any substantial length of time the damage may be beyond repair and the entire panel may need to be replaced.
The terminal lug
The terminal lug is the place where the wires (in some cases buss detail) get attached. Signs of heat or burning indicate a loose connection or failing lug. Sometimes this can be corrected by tightening the lug but if the burning has been going on for a while a new part will be necessary. In other cases the lug is no longer secured to the breaker and again a new part will be necessary. This can be inspected by removing the panel’s interior cover and viewing the terminals. Be careful, these terminals have live electricity and should be tightened only when the power is confirmed off.
The on/off handle
The on / off handle is officially called the actuator lever. It is used to turn the power on and off by forcing the internal contacts inside your breaker together or apart. When this handle no longer allows a setting in the on position the internal mechanism has worn out and a new component is the only option. Sometimes holding the handle in the on position until it grabs can work once or twice but it is not guaranteed to work or stick for any length of time. In any event, it is a tell-tale sign that the part will need to be needed replaced soon.
Your main breaker is designed to shut down or trip when the maximum allowed amperage is surpassed. If, as an example, you have a 200 amp breaker in your panel and the amperage exceeds the 200 amp maximum threshold the breaker should trip to protect the panel from overloading.
Other reasons that can cause a circuit breaker to trip include lightning strikes and power surges from the power company. See our page about whole house surge protectors for surge protection information.
When you need to reset your main breaker it is best to turn off all of the smaller or branch circuit breakers before resetting it. The goal is to first restore power to the main breaker without surging your home’s entire electrical load through it. Now you can turn on the smaller circuit breakers one at a time. If your breaker trips again we would recommend contacting our local in-office electrician in Mesa to reduce potential further damage.
Free over the phone help is available. Dolce Electric Co schedules a local electrician Mesa AZ homeowners can consult with during normal business hours. He will ask you a few questions to verify that your main breaker needs replacing and confirm that the required replacement part is on hand. Dolce Electric Co has a large inventory of main breakers, including the older and hard to find models. Our local electricians in Mesa can be dispatched to your home 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Call now and get your power restored soon.