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Question – Home with Electrical Overload – Part 1

This 100 year old home is having some electrical issues.


My house is almost 100 years old. I don’t have central heat or air, I just use fans. We had our breaker box replaced about 5 years ago. Yesterday our power snapped off and my husband couldn’t get the power back on for over 5 minutes.

I THINK we just overloaded the system. We had 2 high velocity fans on and several others on throughout the house. We had the washer and dryer on at the same time not to mention all the other standard daily stuff (lights, tv, freezer etc.etc.). He wants to call an electrician and have the MAIN breaker replaced. I think that’s a little premature.
Is there any way we can see for ourselves if the main breaker REALLY needs to be replaced before we call anyone. I think the washer/dryer being on at the same time was just more than our old house could handle …. so we won’t do that again. If we don’t have anymore problems can I safely assume we are in the clear …or should we just replace the dang thing and be done …????

PS. The reason we had our box replaced was because our power kept going out … he put in a much bigger box and we’ve had NO PROBLEMS until yesterday.. THANKS FOR YOUR HELP..

Save your money – don’t replace that main breaker – (yet!)
From what you have told me about your house it is likely that you need to install some circuits to areas of your home, such as the laundry area.

However – I don’t know how large your electrical service is, or if any new circuits were installed when the new service was installed. Typically with an older home we start by upgrading the main panel,  and then start installing new additional circuits to areas such as the kitchen, laundry and bathrooms and my goodness don’t forget to install hard-wired Smoke Detectors, especially if your home has old knob and tube wiring!

Typically – the main breaker will not be the problem, but occasionally it will be.

What is the brand of the circuit breaker and panel that were installed? There are a few that are prone to problems.

Also – when you trip a Main Breaker always Turn Off all the other breakers FIRST, then reset the Main. This will allow the Main service to be restored under a No-Load condition. Then begin to turn the other breakers on one at a time. If there is a problem with one of the other circuits it will be identified when it’s breaker is energized.

So – I have a few questions for you in order for me to help you further:
What Size and Brand is your panel?
How many other circuits are in the breaker box?
Were there any new circuits added recently – if so what were they?
….and of course – optional, (I do this on occasion): What is your favorite cookie recipe and are you willing to share it? (hey – you’ve gotta have fun – right?)

Home with Electrical Overload – Part 2


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« Question – Does a 240 Volt Light Fixture Require a 2-Pole Circuit Breaker? Question – Home with Electrical Overload – Part 2 »