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Single slot in breaker not working

I've been using advice from these forums a lot during our restoration of our 1954 Baltimore rowhouse. I've been meaning to join, and what better time than with a problem?

Tonight, when we turned the lights on upstairs, they were dim and orange. Within a few minutes, all of the lights on that circuit went dead, as did an A/C that is on a dedicated 20 amp circuit.

At the panel: neither breaker had tripped. I tried turning them off and on, but nothing. Did the same for the entire panel, nothing. Then I went into the panel. The hot wire on each of these breakers was dead. To make a long story short, I eventually realized that the slots in the panel were dead. These are on opposite sides of the panel, one at the top, one at the bottom. They are connected to two different neutral/ground bars. The wires take two very different routes to upstairs, one updated romex and the other original wiring. I can't figure out why just these two? For tonight I just moved the breakers into slots that were turned off anyhow.

How bad is this? What could have caused it? What is the long term solution? The panel btw is only 2 years old.

Potential culprits?: I moved a different A/C from one dedicated 20 amp plug to another (no problems in the past). We also had just finished wiring a plug into a brand new circuit that is completely off.

I appreciate anyone giving some help to a new-timer!

Re: Single slot in breaker not working

The breakers may not have been compatible with the panel and fit poorly on the buss. Pull the breaker and see if the buss or the breaker connectors are burnt. Always use breakers listed on the panel door. Once the breaker is out you can use a continuity tester to see if the breaker is bad.


Re: Single slot in breaker not working

Update: problem fixed.

Thanks for your input, Jack. The breakers were the right model (even other working breakers would not work in these slots) and nothing at all really seemed amiss. I know I shouldn't swap slots but it was nearly 100 degrees last night and we just polyurethaned the floors so humidity control was important.

As it turned out, the electric company was outside messing with things which must have caused some sort of disturbance in the connection of these two breakers. I smeared the electrical grease out evenly and pulled the breaker across the bar to make sure it was making a sold connection and voila, everything is working now.

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