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Electrical Wiring in the Home/breaker keeps tripping off in several rooms

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Question
We live in a 75-100 yr. old home.  We have a new breaker box that was installed one year ago.  Suddenly in the last month we can't run the same amount of items without it tripping and the number of items running at once has lessened within the last week. The living room and kitchen are hooked up on the same wiring but never had a problem running the microwave, dishwasher, and t.v. at the same time, but, now if the microwave is turned on with the t.v. and a lamp on, it trips the breaker.  There is a bathroom that is having the same problems.  If a 1500 watt heater is running, then not even the bathroom light can be turned on without it tripping off within a couple a minutes.  This never happened before this year.  Like I said, it is progressively getting worse.  The only thing different for the living room is a new Infared Space heater.  It seemed to be the catalyst to the problem in the living room.  Now we just can't run the heater at the same time as the t.v. and a wii game console.  I have thought that the problem is the infared heater, but we have the same type of problem in the master bathroom without there being the same type of heater in there.  In fact, the breaker has tripped in the master bathroom with just a 1500 watt hair dryer, bathroom light, and a cell phone charger plugged in. I haven't done anything new in the bathroom and have been using these three items for over a year.  The only new wiring in the house is the "new master bathroom" and the breaker box which is a little over a year old.

Answer
Hi Sue. It is common for connections to loosen after the initial installation over some period of time. It is always recommended to go back usually in about a year and retighten each connection in the panel. This includes the main incoming wires and each wire connected in the panel, the neutrals and each wire on each breaker. Since you are dealing with a live panel I would have an electrician examine the panel and tighten each connection in the panel. It may be one loose incoming wire creating the entire problem. Were any receptacles also replaced when the panel was? Another area where loose connections are common is on the receptacle if the push in connection points were used instead of wrapping the wires around the terminal screws. The push in connections are very common in becoming loose if not connected properly, I personally NEVER use the push in point, I always wrap the wires on the screws. These are a few things to check as a loose connection is the most common reason for the problem it is just a matter of finding the loose point. Several items you have mentioned are a microwave, a heater and a hair dryer. Each of these are a pull on a circuit that will heat up the wiring and when it cools can loosen a connection. You may have to check each individual receptacle as well as the panel. Thanks J
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Electrical Wiring in the Home

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J Cook

Expertise

General electrical wiring, including but not limited to, residential, panelboards, control wiring, low voltage wiring, Heating and A/C control wiring, single and three phase wiring.

Experience

I have been doing electrical since high school. I have been licensed by the State of North Carolina for ten years and am currently the Building Maintenance Superintendent for a municipality. I have extensive control wiring experience.

Organizations
Refrigeration Service Engineers Society.

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