Exercising the MAIN (Circuit Breaker)...

keyman512us Posted By keyman512us, Sep 26, 2007 at 7:11 AM

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  1. keyman512us

    Member 2.

    Feb 27, 2007
    North Worc. CTY MA
    [quote author="keyman512us" date="1190789400"]
    ...Got a few funny stories in regards to those type of situations..but I'll save that for a separate DIY thread...[/quote]

    Well here's the separate thread...and I'll explain WHY.

    While most people "will probably scratch their heads" trust me you want to at least read this.

    It could very well save you a buck or two.

    Quite often I get "service calls" because of the above DIY actions...

    Whether or not you choose to do your own wiring (i'm gonna leave that subject alone). But quite often I field the "worst case scenarios" And they often start out with "I shut my MAIN off (already know where the conversation over the phone is headed but 'have some fun with it'..)"

    "Now why did you go and do that do I dare ask???"

    "Well I...err umm...Well I bought a new light at Home Depot and I decided to install it myself and thought it would be best if I just shut off the MAIN breaker...Now it won't come back on....So my question is 'Did I do something wrong'??? Why won't it come back on did I screw something up????"

    I have trouble with these type of calls (trying not to laugh out loud), some guys do laugh and the caller hangs up!

    "I wouldn't worry too much about it...but i'll be right over to check it out OK???"

    Here's how you can save yourself some $$$... NEVER I repeat NEVER decide to flip your MAIN off on a Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning. If you for whatever reason decide to...say because you are gonna install that new light "this weekend" flip the main off first thing in the morning on a WEEKDAY...Here's why:

    Most MAIN breakers "Never get exercised". They go for years without being operated...and ocassionally once you shut that old breaker off...they never come back on again.

    Ideally, although it's never mentioned or talked about you should "exercise" ALL circuit breakers once or twice a year from the time they are installed "new". It sounds ridiculous...even far fetched I know... but it keeps the internal mechanisms 'free' and working properly.

    It's "cheap insurance" but do you really want to pay an electrican to come out to your house on a Sunday morning...when you are trying to save a $ in the first place???
  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson
    Mod Emeritus 2.

    Nov 18, 2005
    Central NYS
    Good advice, as usual, keyman.

    The breakers usually get a wood workout when I'm doing wiring, since I tend to wire dead shorts into most projects at some point. Being color blind contributes to that. So I try to keep my wiring projects simple and prefer to start from scratch (i.e., create a new circuit rather than tapping into an existing one) on new installations.

    I've always remembered--though not always heeded--a good friend's observation: "When you do your own plumbing, about the worst thing that can happen is that something gets wet. With wiring, you screw up and you could lose your house and everything in it."
  3. pistonslap

    Burning Hunk 2.

    Oct 7, 2006
    southwestern Pa.
    When I bought my house in 1995, it had an electric stove, not understanding a whole lot about breaker boxes at the time, I decided to shut off the main and disconnect the #10 wire from the fuse box. I thought that would kill all the power to the box. Well, the result of that was a big boom, a flash that blinded me for a couple of seconds and a lecture from my brother (who's an electrician) to never touch the fuse box again.
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