Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

I have a 15 amp Federal Pacific Stab-Lok circuit breaker that keeps tripping. In the house the lights flicker every once in a while. On the circuit I have mainly lights and an old GE upright freezer. When it does trip and when I switch it back sometimes I hear a spark like noise which eventually goes away.

I suspect the obvious which is probably the load my freezer requires and maybe the circuit breaker. Any ideas? Also, on this circuit the breaker is a 15 Amp and the wiring is at least 10/2 or 12/2. Would it be acceptable to replace the 15 Amp circuity breaker with a 20 Amp circuit breaker? Without even looking I'm assuming that the outlets are probably 15 Amp. The house I live in was built in 1969.

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Gregory from Seattle, WA

Answers:

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

The circuit breaker was faulty. Replacing it with an identical model solved my problems. (02/24/2009)

By Gregory

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

If the circuit breaker is tripping, you have too much load. Get an electrician to run a separate circuit with its own circuit breaker. It has nothing to do with magnetized screws, replacing wiring between the breaker and the outlet.

To prove you have too much load on that circuit, turn every thing off that is wired to that breaker. Then turn on each receptacle with the freezer being the last item to be turned on. (02/24/2009)

By Harry

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Your local building department may not approve of a 20 amp breaker, but that is what I would do. Keep an eye and ear on it for a while, the amp change is not enough to get excited about. Or you may just have a breaker about to go. Good luck. Leo (02/25/2009)

By Leo the repair guy

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

For someone who is very handy with house electrical work, it would be possible to replace the breaker. Don't replace it with anything but the same size and brand, and watch out while working inside the main panel, especially if not all breakers are in it. It is easy to touch something that will fry you (e.g. if a screwdriver slips). If I had the slightest doubt about what I was doing, I'd do what Joe suggested and let a professional electrician take the risk. If he quotes you a lot of pricey repairs, get a second opinion. (03/19/2009)

By Red Neck

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

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Whatever you do, don't count on an AFCI from Home Depot or one of the other big box stores. I am an electrician and once went through about 4 or 5 of them. I spent a lot of time testing and tracing only to eventually go to my wholesaler and the breaker purchased there worked just fine. If it comes in a bubble pack, it's got to go back. Beyond that, looks like there's some rewiring in your future. (04/30/2009)

By az516

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