Suspected Breaker Problem?

My recessed lights in my home's ceiling trip the breaker only when the temperature is a little colder inside the house. The only thing on the circuit is the lights in my family room, hallway, laundry room, upstairs steps light, and the guest bedroom. We have had the house two years and had no problem until now. Here are some clues I have discovered.


After resetting the breaker the small light on the steps will work, but when I turn on any other light on the circuit it trips.

After several hours and the temperature rises in the house the lights work no problem.

it seemed to start when we had the painters in and the light switch covers were taken off. But even when they were still off later in the day when the temperature went up they worked again.

While experiencing breaker tripping, I disconnected each switch to see if there was a bad switch, but no luck the breaker would still trip.

The only thing left I can think of is a bad breaker, but I have never heard of one being sensitive to cold temperatures. Any ideas?

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Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 105 Posts
September 30, 20170 found this helpful

This sounds more like an issue that was caused by the painters in your home.

  • You have already removed the light switch plates and checked the wiring. So this has eliminated the problem with a broken wire.
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  • Did you check to see if there was any type of moisture left in the switch socket behind the plate. The painters could have gotten some paint splatter in there and used something to clean the area.
  • Have you checked the lights in your ceiling? They removed the light fixtures to paint around them. Check this area for loose or broken wires.
  • There is a wire in the house that has a bad contact or isn't screwed all the way in. When it is cold the metal retracts and the circuit is left open. When it is warm the metal expands and closes the circuit.
  • I would suggest checking all switches and light fixtures that the painter removed the light plate and fixtures from. You will need to tighten all screws and tug on the cables to make sure they are making a good contact.
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Diamond Post Medal for All Time! 1,246 Posts
September 30, 20170 found this helpful

Would they happen to be CFL bulbs? They are affected by the cold. But I'm assuming you've got all the same equipment up now that you had before the painters came by?

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