Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

I have a 20 amp breaker with red test button. The only thing running off it is a microwave. The breaker has never tripped till about 2 weeks ago. Can the breaker just be worn out and if so would it just trip any time you put some power to it? Thanks.

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Thomas

By thurst from Champaign, IL

Answers:

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Here's what my husband says:
Try plugging something else into the outlet and see if the breaker still trips off. If it doesn't then it is your microwave causing the problem, but a breaker can wear out. (06/22/2009)

By Lorelei

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Replace that breaker with a proper 15 Amp breaker. A 20 Amp breaker does not give you any protection on a 15 Amp line. The breaker or fuse is supposed to be the weakest link, not the strongest.

A breaker with a red test button is a GFI breaker. It trips not just when it's rating (20 A) is exceeded, but also when there is 40 Milli-Amp of current creeping to ground. That is 0.040 Amp. A baby will get very noisy, but not injured by 50 Milli-Amp. That is why GFIs are required for outdoor outlets and other areas where kids might play unsupervised.

If a brand new 15 Amp GFI breaker trips the same way as the illegal 20 Amp GFI breaker did, then you have current creeping to ground somewhere. If your home has metal siding, it would be a very good idea to get that checked out by an electrician immediately. Even though the GFI will prevent death by electrocution, somebody can get a very nasty shock. And, a creeping short to ground can easily set the place on fire. If the creeping short is in the microwave, touching it and the stove or sink at the same time can get you dancing like a magician quite instantly. Best get it checked out as soon as possible. Have fun. (06/22/2009)

By DearWebby

Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

You have an Arc fault breaker which trips faster than a GFI. Do you have an amp meter? If so, start the microwave and see how many amps the microwave pulls. If your meter shows over 18 the breaker will trip. You know there's a short in the microwave. If your meter doesn't show it is drawing over 18 then yes, you have a bad breaker. GFI plug ins are for around a wet area such as a sink etc. Arc fault trips quicker to stop a fire in your house. Hope this helps. (06/23/2009)

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