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Breaker problems!

Here is one for you. We have a breaker that keeps tripping. It is to the hall lights, my sons bedroom, wife's sewing room and a couple outlets on the out side of the house. Wife runs her christmas lights on one ofthe outside outlets.

We have unplugged everything from all the outlets and the breaker still pops. I put in a new breaker it lasted about a week then it started popping. I think there is a bad outlet or switch somewhere.

How do I find the bad one with out taking all the covers off? The next plan is to have someone stand in all the rooms and try to hear if something pops or sizzles when I trun the breaker on. Give me somewhere to start looking.

Any better suggestions?


Staff member
Site Admin
10 to 1 it's the outdoor outlet. Especially if it's GFCI.. Remove it and cap it with wire nuts if it's the last one on the circuit.. If it's not the last one and the circuit continues on, then wire the circuit back without the outlet.

The only other way is to start at the outlet closest to the breaker. remove the outlet and wire the circuit together.. Turn on the breaker. If it stays on and doesn't trip. replace that outlet, switch etc. .. Move on to the next one and do the same thing until you isolate the problem.


Super Moderator
Super Mod
Since you changed out the breaker and found it wasn't a weak/bad breaker then the only other thing to do is start checking for loose outlets and switches. Make sure none of them are loose and sloppy sliding around all over. If they are all tight start pulling off covers and looking for scorch marks inside the boxes and while doing that also make note if the boxes are metal.

Sometimes an outlet or switch will slide just close enough to the metal box and arch. If that's the case take the outlet/switch out of the box and wrap electrical tape around the outlet/switch covering up the screws so they can't ground themselves out on the box.

I would start with the outside outlet. If the Christmas lites have a crack in the insulation or maybe allowing water to run down the cord into the outlet itself could be a problem.


*Supporting Member*
NW Ohio
For testing the outlets I have one of the plug in deals that lights up to tell you they are wired correct. Not really thinking that would help though if this is a new issue. Might give a funky reading if one of the wires came off or loosened up or something. Wish I was better with electrical stuff. You are welcome to use my tester if you want.
Well it took a while but I finally tracked down the problem. It was in the attic under the insulation blanket. The contractor drove a staple in to tight and it finally burned through. Got it fixed today. It took all day to find it and fix. I am just not as nimble and flexable as I use to be. It doesn't take long to start getting cramps in my legs from nealing.

Getting old isn't for wimps! I don't know if I am man enough for this shi....stuff.



Super Moderator
Super Mod
Wow. That could have gotten ugly quick. Glad you was able to track it down and fix it. Insulation fires suck btw.

How did you find the short buried in the attic ? Climb up and have others turn on the breaker while you listened for the sizzle ?
The contractor had ran a bunch of lines from the breaker box up into the attic. He ran each one into a juntion box. There were about 6 lines each in their own box. I had the breaker off and found the box that didn't have power. I called my wife on the cell phone and had her turn the power on for a couple seconds. The power came on so I knew I had the right line and power to this point. So I started pulling the attic blanket off and tracking the wire across the rafters.

I had already pulled a light down from the celing and took switches out checking the wireing. I fighred it had to be above the celing. I thought a mouse had chewed something.