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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    1

    Cool Exterior Panel + Sunlight = Popped Breaker

    Hello,

    I live in a home with an exterior breaker panel. We have never had a problem, but this year, we are seeing the breaker pop when the Air Conditioner is on. And it only pops when the sun is shining on it.

    Obviously, calling a professional is the solution, but are there any stop-gap measures out there that are legal and safe?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,481

    Default Re: Exterior Panel + Sunlight = Popped Breaker

    First thing I'd do is throw the main breaker to kill the whole panel, then I'd tighten every screw on all the breakers and buss bars.

    DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS unless you are completely comfortable poking sharp metal objects around inside an electrical panel.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    The deep South
    Posts
    459

    Default Re: Exterior Panel + Sunlight = Popped Breaker

    Which breaker is tripping , the A/C or the main ?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Exterior Panel + Sunlight = Popped Breaker

    Might not be a breaker issue. Could the HVAC unit be acting up? Mainly directly or indirectly, because of the sun blasting the house or attic crawl space,if said unit is located there, or a sunny side of the house. And then tripping a breaker.
    Inquiring minds want to know.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    179

    Default Re: Exterior Panel + Sunlight = Popped Breaker

    I think Ernies got it. I have often seen a/c breakers trip when the unit is under a load and has an internal problem. Especially a dirty condenser or burnt contacs on the contactor.
    "Lead by Example"

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Exterior Panel + Sunlight = Popped Breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by ZZZ View Post
    I think Ernies got it. I have often seen a/c breakers trip when the unit is under a load and has an internal problem. Especially a dirty condenser or burnt contacs on the contactor.
    But I would do what A. SPRUCE has posted in regards to what to troubleshoot first. Truly amazing what happens to load center connections with "Father Time".
    And take a minute of your time today to remember those who bravely served our country but never returned.
    Last edited by Ernie_Fergler; 05-31-2010 at 09:26 AM. Reason: spellin, cof course....

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    179

    Default Re: Exterior Panel + Sunlight = Popped Breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie_Fergler View Post
    But I would do what A. SPRUCE has posted in regards to what .... connections with "Father Time".
    And take a minute of your time today to remember those who bravely served our country but never returned.
    Although that is a good starting point for an electrician, I generally don't suggest to someone to open an electric panel and work on it unless they are very experienced in the electrical field. Even with the main breaker off, there are still live terminals with large available short circuit currents. I have seen one person require skin grafts from a similar incident. If I had a choice between paying an Electrician or an HVAC tech I would choose the HVAC tech first, since there several reasons a unit could do this.
    "Lead by Example"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Shamokin, Pa.
    Posts
    645

    Default Re: Exterior Panel + Sunlight = Popped Breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by ZZZ View Post
    Although that is a good starting point for an electrician, I generally don't suggest to someone to open an electric panel and work on it unless they are very experienced in the electrical field. Even with the main breaker off, there are still live terminals with large available short circuit currents. I have seen one person require skin grafts from a similar incident. If I had a choice between paying an Electrician or an HVAC tech I would choose the HVAC tech first, since there several reasons a unit could do this.
    I agree 100% Some questions posted here and the responses are best left to qualified personal. And this is certainly one that falls into that category. I always hope the posters know their limitations, work within them, and nothing wrong with that.
    Last edited by Ernie_Fergler; 05-31-2010 at 02:13 PM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    179

    Default Re: Exterior Panel + Sunlight = Popped Breaker

    That's true, it is difficult to know how much information to give someone and how they might mistakenly apply it :-)
    "Lead by Example"

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,481

    Default Re: Exterior Panel + Sunlight = Popped Breaker

    Quote Originally Posted by Ernie_Fergler View Post
    I agree 100% Some questions posted here and the responses are best left to qualified personal. And this is certainly one that falls into this category. I always hope the posters know their limitations, work within them, and nothing wrong with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by ZZZ View Post
    That's true, it is difficult to know how much information to give someone and how they might mistakenly apply it :-)
    Hence the "DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS" warning. I agree in many cases that hiring a professional is the cheaper, safer route. The best we can do is offer solutions, with safety in mind, and let the posters decide for themselves what they're able to handle. You cannot save people from themselves, those that really want to will find ways to hurt themselves even without our help or warnings.
    I suffer from CDO ... Its like OCD, but in alphabetical order, LIKE IT SHOULD BE!!!

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