Main breaker question, help needed!

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Lindafisk, Aug 21, 2006.

  1. Lindafisk

    Lindafisk Well-Known Member

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    Can anyone tell me where to get a 200 amp main breaker for our house for less than the $195 that Homes Depot wants? Please? Ours is going bad and keeps shutting off the electricity but we really don't have the $195!

    Edited to add- We are in Princeton,Tx just north of Dallas
     
  2. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Are there any building demolitions company's around? They usually have an outlet store for the left over but still usable item for buildings. Remember it must be the same brand and type to work.
     

  3. Boss Cooker

    Boss Cooker Well-Known Member

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    :hobbyhors This might help, or not?? :shrug: My brothers wife has a store in Rochester NY that deals in older home components. You might need to pay for shipping if they have it. The website is www.rehouseny.com Her name is Kathy. Send her an email. I visited her store a few months ago. 12000 square feet of stuff for the home.
     
  4. Lindafisk

    Lindafisk Well-Known Member

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    Dh may have just found someone local to do it cheaper, we are waiting on the guy to call back. He was checking to see if he had the right one. Cross your fingers!
     
  5. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    Here's a Square D 200 amp main breaker on this page for $93. You'll need to know what style breaker your load center takes, but you ought to be able to find one in this price range vs the $200 you were talking about. Is it possible you have too much load on one of the busses, like the electrical load inside the load center not balanced correctly? 200 amp breakers don't normally trip unless there is a huge fault (which you would probably know about) or pulling an excess load on one of the busses over a long period of time.


    http://www.dealtime.com/xGS-200 amp breaker~NS-1~linkin_id-7000959~r-1~CLT-INTR
     
  6. palani

    palani Well-Known Member

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  7. Hammer4

    Hammer4 Well-Known Member

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    Have you found the reason that the breaker keeps tripping? A breaker of that size is only rated for a few trips before its worn out from what I understand.....

    I would be very sure the problem is fixed before I put a new breaker in...not to mention you will need the meter pulled from its socket to replace that breaker in a lot of boxes from what I recall....you may need an electrician ( and maybe the electric company ) to help you resolve this.
     
  8. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

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    Ebay, for sure. Double check shipping costs before bidding. New and used breakers for sale as well. I just checked there last week.
    clove
     
  9. Jim-mi

    Jim-mi Well-Known Member

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    Of course nobody wants to spend $195 for something like that.

    But can you afford a new house after the fire.........???

    An electrician is far less expensive............
     
  10. Lindafisk

    Lindafisk Well-Known Member

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    Dh talked to a guy at the electric company and he is the one that recommended we change the main breaker.Dh described the problems and talked to him for a while on the phone. He had asked about load also- As far as load goes, we have the A/C and two fridges, two ceiling fans and lights...and the computer! We have not added or changed anything. It has tripped off before occasionally but now is doing it several times during the afternoon and evening hours. Of course, it is so hot that the air runs forever and the guy said the heat would actually make it worse because the box can get overheated and that makes it easier to trip. :shrug:
    Anyway, the other guy that dh found did not call or show. He had found one for $180 and said he could replace it hot-as opposed to taking the meter off, like Hammer4 said.Don't know if that is for real or not. The electric co guy said dh could replace the breaker himself- dh has done some electrical stuff- so if worse comes to worse dh can go get the breaker and as long as the electric co guy is here it will only be a $45 charge for pulling and replacing the meter and dh can do the labor.Plus of course the $195 part.

    Jim Mi -You are so right but with only $300 in the bank till payday next week we are trying to be as frugal as can be! Dh commutes a good ways to work and will need diesel soon.
    Sorry this is so rambling....I wish this kind of stuff would happen ON payday instead of a week before it.....or maybe not at all!
     
  11. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    What brand is the breaker box? All breakers are not interchangeable. I have some used ones and if I have a brand you can use you can have it for the shipping costs.
     
  12. Lindafisk

    Lindafisk Well-Known Member

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    Dh says it's a GE TQD222000 double pole 200 amp, 240 volt....
     
  13. MELOC

    MELOC Master Of My Domain

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    i think i understand what some have said about the load and the limited life of the breaker. assuming the breaker can only safely be tripped a few times, if a load imbalance is causing it, it will only happen again and maybe ruin the replacement.

    you may want to try to calculate how many amps are being drawn on each side of the box and eventually balance them out. maybe all of the heavy items are on one side. maybe it is basically balanced but some seasonal usage takes it out of balance. try to consider what impact those ac units may have if they are on the same side as the water heater, the dryer, the microwave, the electric kitchen stove, etc. the ac units may not be on the same circuit but may be on the same side of the box as some other things you don't even notice are running...like the water heater. maybe when you replace the main breaker, you should also change some circuits around in the breaker box.
     
  14. WAB

    WAB Well-Known Member

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    JESUS!!!!! I wouldnt pay over $100 for it, new!
     
  15. tuvold

    tuvold Well-Known Member

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    Hey,

    How old is the service? Is it a GE Panel? How long has this problem been going on? Has the weather been exceptionally warm lately? Is the service in the full day's sun? Have you added anything like an extra freezer or an extra AC unit lately? Do you know a wireman locally that might be willing to help?

    Any qualified service type elctrician should be able to help you out. A clamp on type ammeter is enough to help balance out the load. I would suggest that you try to get someone qualified to help out. In the mean time turn off as many unnecessary appliances, lights, electronic components etc. as possible.

    Call around to the electrical supply houses and see if anything cross references to that breaker type and style. Off the top of my head I can't remember particulars. You might find a replacement cheaper than the original if it crosses.

    Again I would suggest getting someone qualified to help. If you've never seen the fire ball that belches out of a panel when something goes wrong.........

    My 2 coppers,

    tuvold
     
  16. WAB

    WAB Well-Known Member

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  17. WAB

    WAB Well-Known Member

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  18. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    Most of those main breakers simply unplug from the buss bars. You have to take the faceplate cover off the panel to get the breaker out. If your DH has done electrical work then he'll know this. He also will know that he will be working in close proximity to the main feeds that come into the house. You have to be extremely cautious doing this. Coming into contact with the feeds or the buss bars would not be a good thing. If you are wanting to save money, once again I would advise you to see how your circuit breaker panel is balanced. It's pretty easy to do if you know what each breaker feeds. If not, it can still be done but it takes more time. Here's how the breaker panel is set up. You'll have two separate 110 volt lines coming into the house. These two lines go into your breaker box. The breaker box has two buss bars that the breakers plug in to, plus a neutral/ground bar. One incoming 110 volt line hooks to one buss bar, the other incoming line hooks to the other, so you have two 110 volt buss inside the panel. Now, look at your breakers in the box. They can be numbered differently, so for the purpose of this lets make it simple. Let's say you have 10 breakers on the left (I'm counting double pole breakers as two breakers) and 10 breakers on the right. On the left side go straight down the line and assign them numbers 1-10. On the right side, number the breakers 11-20. OK, the breakers on the left are not all on the same buss, and the ones on the right are not all on the same buss either. The buss doesn't run down in a straight line on each side inside the breaker box, it alternates. For example, if you numbered the breakers like I said, breakers 1,3,5,7,9,12,14,16,18,20 are being fed by one of the wires coming into your house, breakers 2,4,6,8,10,11,13,15,17,19 are being fed by the other. If you have too much load on one of these legs it can cause the double pole breaker to trip even though the other incoming line may be lightly loaded. If either side of a double pole breaker is overloaded, both sides trip. Using the info, see what kind of load you're pulling on each buss. You might be able to swap some load between the two busses and not cost you a dime. One other thing, if I were going to work on the 200 amp main breaker, I'd pull the meter for safety's sake. Break the seal, lift the lid, and the meter will unplug straight out and kill all the power to your power panel.When you're done, plug the meter back in. Before you pull it, turn off the main 200 amp breaker. Now remember, I said if I was going to do it.......I'm not suggesting that you do it. :nono: But if I ever pulled a power meter, er, uh, well, I doubt you'd be able to tell that the seal was broken unless you really looked close. :angel: Anyway, good luck and stay safe.
     
  19. tuvold

    tuvold Well-Known Member

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    Hey,

    Can't tell from a visual inspection the draw from breakers. You could have 15 breakers on one side and 5 on the other and be balanced. Still need at least a clamp on type ammeter to be safe. And it needs to be checked under full load.

    I would be leery of breaking the seal on the meter without knowing the rules and regulations of your local power company. Hate to have to pay a grand to have the power company come out and reinstall it.

    If there is any doubt at all get help. Don't take chances with electricity. I have a local brother that is still popping copper pimples out of his arm after 4 years.

    My 2 coppers,

    tuvold
     
  20. boonieman

    boonieman Well-Known Member

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    Yep, pulling a meter can be a no-no. But when I needed mine pulled I called the local RECC and I told them I needed to pull the meter to change out my load center. They asked if I knew what I was doing, I said "yes", and they said go ahead and pull it. So it depends on lots of things.
    You can roughly tell how much load is being pulled on each leg. Identify which breakers are on which leg, and what those breakers are feeding. If you have a fridge, a freezer, washing machine, microwave, half of a couple double-poles, etc all feeding off one buss it may be overloaded. It's not rocket science and it was just a suggestion. Most folks don't own an amp meter. I assumed this was a homesteading board where folks try to be just a little more independent than the average bear. I see suggested all the time on here to "call the pros" right off the bat. There are times that is certainly appropriate, and if fooling with electricty isn't somebody's cup of tea then by all means spend your money. Me, I like to try to do things myself when I can just as a matter of self-satisfaction and if I save a few bucks along the way, I'm even more satisfied.