Electrical – Circuit breaker trips every couple of weeks


I have a 15A circuit breaker in my electrical box tied to the media room. Every couple of weeks, it trips.

I bought an amperage/wattage load tester. Readings show 4 – 4.5A total in my media room…way under 15A. I suspect a malfunctioning device. To complicate matters, the tester can only read certain devices. I don't know if I have accurate readings.

The tester does not store max load over time. It only gives instantaneous readouts. I can't stare at the tester for weeks hoping for a problem to occur.

Losing power to my projector is bad. AFAIK there are no ceiling mount UPS devices either. Is there a tool to help me narrow the problem down to a specific device?

Best Answer

The only interesting information here is how many amps were being pulled on the circuit at the time the breaker popped. Breakers actually trip on heat, and a sign of a malfunctioning breaker is random inexplicable opening (tripping).

You could get yourself an Amprobe and watch it while a 'helper' turns things on and off and simulates normal activity in the room to see, however more than likely one of two things is going on:

  1. You have a bad breaker, just get it replaced
  2. Something (sump pump, maybe?) is also on that circuit, coming on weekly and tripping it

So, if you go the Amprobe route, you have to be there just at the right time to catch it. The event causing the breaker to trip might be happening fast enough for the tester you have not to notice it.

Replace the breaker (or have it replaced) first and see if the problem goes away. If it doesn't - figure out what's coming on at that interval that might be causing it. If the problem persists and nothing is suspect, have an Electrician take a good look at it, you probably have feeder somewhere that comes into contact with ground randomly.