09:05AM | 06/20/06
Member Since: 06/19/06
3 lifetime posts
Hey All,

Was wondering if anyone could shed some light [literally] on some garage electrical issues? Here's the 411....

My whole garage is on 1 circuit. 20 amp pushmatic style. I have been in the house 3 years and never "really" had an issue. Once in a while when I ran my air compressor with lights and radio and refrigerator on I would trip the breaker.

But as of late with nothing on my breaker pops. Sometimes it takes a minute but last night I had the lights-on fridge-on radio-on [all just for testing] I even ran the door opener a few times. All this was on for 5 hrs. Turned it all off before bed - went into the garage this a.m. .......

Breaker popped?

2 things have happened as of late.

1. I used a gas power tampper to level some crushed lime [over the underground electrical] to lay some patio bricks.

2. I came out one a.m. about a month ago and my garage door was open. Local myth is that air traffic can cause this from time to time. I live 2 miles from Chicago's O'Hare airport.

So just as a test today I unplugged the door opener and will check when I get home.

Why might a circuit pop with nothing on but rock steady for the better part of 5hrs. with everything on? Please HELP!!!!!!!!




10:13AM | 06/20/06
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
First I am assuming that this is a plain breaker and not a GFCI breaker.

Here are somethings to look at.

Some breakers will trip much easier (at a lower current) when they get old.

A loose connection to the breaker can cause local heat which causes breaker to trip with normal loads.

Likewise a bad connection betweent he breaker and the busbar.

But all of the above does require some amount of current flowing, the later two significant current.

With only the refigerator on it full time those are not likely, but possible.

More likely is that you have some bad insulation allow shorting.

How deep is the undground wiring below the gravel base and what type of wire/conduit

Also check the receptacel with the air compressor is plugged in. They draw lots of current and the receptacle/wiring might have over heated.


10:56AM | 06/20/06
Member Since: 06/19/06
3 lifetime posts
The compressor isn't plugged in.

I swapped out the breaker 3 days ago.

I'm not certain how deep the feed is as I have never tried to dig it up.

I unplugged the overhead door opener at 6 a.m. and I still have all other power now. But I had it for a min. 5hrs. last night.

The breaker I replaced wasn't fastened all the wat to the bar as the screw they used was too large and wasn't cutting a large enough hole but this new one is fastened tight.

Would a continuity tester tell me if the door opener has a malfunction? I'm thinking I may test all appliences used in the garage.


12:01PM | 06/20/06
Member Since: 04/25/05
1915 lifetime posts
I suggested that you check the receptacle and wiring to the receptacle where you used the air compressor, because THAT RECEPTACLE AND WIRING MIGHT BE DAMAGED from overheating. It can then short without anything plugged in.

A continutiy tester really won't show anthing wrong with an appliacne unless it is shorting at that time and would cause an immediate trip when plugged in.

My guess is on the underground cable.

If this is an attached garage and the cable runs to feed yard lights or the like then I would disconnect it for a few weeks and see what happens.

If this is power to the garage then you would need to arrage someway to supply temp power.

An electrican with a megger can check the insulation on the cable.


01:15PM | 06/20/06
Member Since: 06/19/06
3 lifetime posts
Thanks for all your help.

I will give all that a try/look see. And if all else fails I'll opt. out and call in "ahum" a professional.


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