Crackling from breaker panel

Discussion in 'Electrical and Wiring' started by Eisenfaust8, Feb 8, 2017.

Help Support House Repair Talk by donating:

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Feb 8, 2017 #1

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    11
    220 breaker panel in the garage is currently crackling. This happened about 6-8 months ago, and I never heard it again until today (I would check every once in awhile). This morning I replaced a single pole cadet wall thermostat and when I went back to the panel it was crackling. The thermostat works, so it is wired correctly.

    During the wiring my wife started up the washer and dryer and the stove in the kitchen, so the load on the house obviously went up. I shut off the dryer and stove to see if that made a difference in the crackling, and it did not. No part of the panel is hot to the touch and the crackling seems to be originating from behind the upper portion where the master switch is.

    Suggestions? Should this be looked at ASAP?
     
  2. Feb 8, 2017 #2

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    24,701
    Likes Received:
    3,360
    Location:
    Chiliwack BC Canada
    Is this main for the house or a sub in the garage with another breaker somewhere else?
     
  3. Feb 8, 2017 #3

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    11
    This is the main for the whole house.
     
  4. Feb 8, 2017 #4

    beachguy005

    beachguy005

    beachguy005

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2012
    Messages:
    844
    Likes Received:
    311
    What that sounds like is electrical arcing. The only noise you should ever hear from your panel is silence....and sometimes a hum from a breaker. If it's arcing at the main breaker or behind it, it needs to be checked asap. Arcing causes heat and heat causes fires.
     
    slownsteady likes this.
  5. Feb 8, 2017 #5

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    11
    Alright I just narrowed it down to the water heater. It stops/starts immediately when throwing that switch. I have a friend coming over tomorrow with relevant experience.
     
    nealtw likes this.
  6. Feb 8, 2017 #6

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,748
    Likes Received:
    712
    What kind of service panel is it?

    ZINSCO have a predilection for arching breakers.

    Have your friend pull and inspect the breaker as well as the buss bars for discoloration, which can be an indication of a loose fit cause by heat. If you find any, replace the breaker.
     
  7. Feb 8, 2017 #7

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    11
    It is a QO.

    As an aside, if it got to the point where it was bad enough to cause a fire would the breaker trip?
     
  8. Feb 8, 2017 #8

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,748
    Likes Received:
    712
    Thanks, they are a good quality panel.

    Generally yes, basically, the breaker disintegrates.
     
  9. Feb 8, 2017 #9

    beachguy005

    beachguy005

    beachguy005

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2012
    Messages:
    844
    Likes Received:
    311


    No, the arcing is usually because of a bad or loose connection outside of the breaker. If the lug where the power feeds into the main was loose, arcing there could heat the panel or wire to the point of ignition. Same thing with a breaker plugged into the bus. The breaker could start to melt but won't trip because it's not a short or overload.
    Thermal overload protection in a breaker is for overloads on a circuit it's protecting.
     
    nealtw and inspectorD like this.
  10. Feb 9, 2017 #10

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    11
    Thanks for the advice everyone.

    The breaker has been changed out and everything is quiet so far. The old one had tight connections and the wiring was intact with no discoloring/melting. So it must have been internal to the breaker.
     
    bud16415 likes this.
  11. Feb 9, 2017 #11

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    24,701
    Likes Received:
    3,360
    Location:
    Chiliwack BC Canada
    Good news is always good.:thbup:
     
  12. Feb 10, 2017 #12

    bud16415

    bud16415

    bud16415

    Fixer Upper Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2013
    Messages:
    5,319
    Likes Received:
    1,880
    Location:
    Erie, PA
    :thbup::thbup:
     
  13. Feb 10, 2017 #13

    JoeD

    JoeD

    JoeD

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,661
    Likes Received:
    311
    Was the bus connection where the breaker attaches inspected?
     
  14. Feb 10, 2017 #14

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

    Eisenfaust8

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2016
    Messages:
    51
    Likes Received:
    11
    It appeared normal.
     
  15. Feb 10, 2017 #15

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,748
    Likes Received:
    712
    That may be good in theory, but my practical, job site experience, and everything I post is based upon that, is what I stated.

    7:15PM=half the plugs and lights don't work.

    Checked the service and found 1 of the SCE fusible links looked like a totsy-pop.

    Opened the service weather cover and saw 2/3rds of the main still intact and part welded to the dead front panel.

    Pulled the meter, called SCE, removed the dead front panel, peeled the breaker off the buss bar and burnished it before setting the new main.

    SCE set a new fusible link and reset the meter.
     
  16. Feb 10, 2017 #16

    beachguy005

    beachguy005

    beachguy005

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2012
    Messages:
    844
    Likes Received:
    311
    I was wondering how long it would take you to convolute it in some way just to justify your other answer.
     
    afjes_2016 and bud16415 like this.
  17. Feb 10, 2017 #17

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,748
    Likes Received:
    712
    Do you want the address?
     
  18. Feb 11, 2017 #18

    beachguy005

    beachguy005

    beachguy005

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2012
    Messages:
    844
    Likes Received:
    311
    What does your little fairy tale have to do with the OP's question about his or any arcing breaker tripping from the heat generated from it? Nothing! You said yes...sorta, I said no. Heaven forbid someone says anything contrary to you.
    So you come up with some story that's not even remotely relevant to the OP's issue in order to rationalize your answer. Hey...what ever blows up your skirt and makes you feel better about yourself.
    And no, I don't want the address as it's irrelevant.
     
  19. Feb 11, 2017 #19

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Snoonyb

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2006
    Messages:
    3,748
    Likes Received:
    712
    The significant and blatant difference is that you touted theory and no practical experience.

    While everything I post here, is from practical experience.

    Theory, as well as practical experience can be relevant, for future posters.

    So, rather than you, or your minions, taking me up on the offer to provide you with the address where this, on site practical repair took place, where you, in person, could view the notch in the dead front panel, for yourself, you've "elected" to suppose that my practical, on site experience, is a fairy tale.

    Interesting.
     
  20. Feb 11, 2017 #20

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

    Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,876
    Likes Received:
    1,288
    Location:
    Sussex County, NJ
    There's no need for anyone to defend themselves. There is usually more than one right answer.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page