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Can an electrical surge back feeding into a circuit breaker cause it to go to th

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July 24, 2012 12:20:45 PM

MY QUESTION; Can an electrical surge back feeding into a circuit breaker cause that breaker to go to the OFF position (not the tripped, middle position)?

Specifics; A few nights ago a horrific thunder/electrical storm occurred at my mother's home. She said there was several very loud, very close "booms/snaps" during the storm. The next morning she went to her freezers that are on the breezeway going to the garage (all powered by the same circuit breaker as well as the lamp post at the end of the driveway). She found there was no power to the freezers and everything was melting. My brother inspected the situation and found that the breaker was in the OFF position for that branch circuit only. When the breaker was turned back on everything was back to normal. I have not been there to inspect the wiring and, most importantly, the lamp post for electrical damage.

Any technical input, or reference material, that may support my conclusion that the answer to my question is "yes"?

Thanks

July 24, 2012 7:33:23 PM

If you are talking about back EMF, as in the large inductive load that is motors and so on causes a huge voltage spike feeding back into the line, this is very possible. I'm not sure if modern fridges/AC/Furnances are designed to scrub this load with a flyback diode or something similar to catch the back EMF.

BUT, to cause the breakers to trip, you still need a power load on the breakers, with a combination of high current and voltage. It might be, and this is a guess at best, that the load on that circuit (fridge, etc) kicked in and just started drawing a huge current at the same moment the line voltage was abnormally high due to a surge condition, then the combined power across the breaker may be enough to trip the breaker, and do so hard to slam it into the OFF position. It is just a guess...
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September 17, 2012 1:33:24 AM

When a faulty circuit trips the breaker, a lever within the device switches to the off position until a homeowner or building operator can manually reset the breaker and reopen the circuit for electrical service. When the power source to the breaker fails, however, it can sometimes take a few more steps to reset the system

surge protection sydney

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September 21, 2012 7:17:43 AM

It all depends on what kind of circuit breaker is used on the line. There are the ones that operate automatcally; i.e. when the current is high, it cuts the line, when the current returns to normal, it makes the line; there are the ones that need manual resetting;i.e. when the current is high, it cuts the line, after the current returns to normal, someone must go to the breaker and switch it back to the on positon.
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May 1, 2013 5:27:40 AM

Dana Ordway said:
MY QUESTION; Can an electrical surge back feeding into a circuit breaker cause that breaker to go to the OFF position (not the tripped, middle position)?

Specifics; A few nights ago a horrific thunder/electrical storm occurred at my mother's home. She said there was several very loud, very close "booms/snaps" during the storm. The next morning she went to her freezers that are on the breezeway going to the garage (all powered by the same circuit breaker as well as the lamp post at the end of the driveway). She found there was no power to the freezers and everything was melting. My brother inspected the situation and found that the breaker was in the OFF position for that branch circuit only. When the breaker was turned back on everything was back to normal. I have not been there to inspect the wiring and, most importantly, the lamp post for electrical damage.

Any technical input, or reference material, that may support my conclusion that the answer to my question is "yes"?

Thanks



Breakers that turn off intermittently are the worst. In many cases it's just and needs replacing. Did you clean or perform any maintenance on the circuit breaker? I had to change out multiple cutler hammer breakers for new home when i first purchased it even though it was properly inspected.

The amount of storms in our area have increased actually but the problem is the surge protector suppressor has to be top notch.
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