Possible "broken breaker" miswiring kitchen splits

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by khedrei, Sep 29, 2011.

  1. khedrei

    khedrei New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Burlington, Ontario
    Ok, so I know what I did I just need to know a possible solution. Please keep the scorning to a minimum.

    I did a backsplash in my kitchen. Naturally I removed the plugs and tiled around them. They were really dirty, so I decided to put in new recepticals. I ended up forgetting to snip the hot side on one of the plugs before putting it back in. When I turned the circuits back on of course one of them blew right away. Not realizing I reset it again, and it stayed on. Now the top plug works, bottom doesnt. I realized my mistake and fixed it. But when I went back to the panel the top breaker seeems to stay in place but if I touch it with even a feather of pressure it moves over a bit, but not forcefully. Not enough to pull the other breaker down with it. So they will both stay on but there is no power to the bottom split.

    So here is my question. How do I fix it. The plugs are now wired properly. Is it possible to actually "break" the breaker internally? If so I just need a new one right? Or could one of the wires overheated in the wall and I have bigger problems?

    Thanks
  2. khedrei

    khedrei New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Burlington, Ontario
    It's a Cuttler-Hammer pannel if that helps at all.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    I'd pull the breaker and look at the bus bar. If that is okay (not arc'ed and pitted), I'd put a new breaker in. This assumes you know how to do this safely, otherwise, get an electrician.
  4. cacher_chick

    cacher_chick Test, Don't Guess!

    Messages:
    3,237
    Location:
    Land of Cheese
    From what you have said, you have a shared neutral circuit using a double pole breaker with a handle tie.

    Before I bought a new breaker, I would disconnect the circuits from the breaker and see if both poles will properly reset.

    If the breaker will properly reset without the wires attached, then you know that the problem is in the circuit.
  5. khedrei

    khedrei New Member

    Messages:
    22
    Location:
    Burlington, Ontario
    Yes cacher chick, it is a double pole 15A with a handle tie. I did pull the breaker and tried to reset it while it was out of the panel. The one pole was still floppy. It would go back to the on position but if I touch it lightly it pops back over.

    I did not notice any pits on the bus bar but I was not looking for any either. There was certainly no burnt smell inside the box. I did check for that before I pulled the breaker out.
  6. drick

    drick In the Trades

    Messages:
    392
    Sounds like you killed half of the 2 pole breaker.

    Having installed many many CH breakers personal experience tells me that a phase to phase dead short like you had gives the CH breaker a 50% or less chance of survival. No big deal, it did its job - you still have a house.

    Remove breaker from panel - open trash can - insert breaker - buy a new one - install back into panel.

    Now about those new kitchen counter outlets - they are GFI protected - right?

    -rick
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