Turning Power Off To House

Discussion in 'Other Repairs' started by silver_dollar, Jul 19, 2006.

  1. silver_dollar

    silver_dollar New Member

    Messages:
    33
    State:
    Oklahoma
    I recently wanted to replace the circuit breaker that controls the clothes dryer at my house. It is located outside, next to the meter.

    I pulled the 50 amp switch directly under the meter, thinking this would shut down all power. WRONG!

    When I attempted to remove the clothes dryer breaker, a wire touched something and all heck broke loose!

    Question.....why did the big switch under the meter NOT kill the power when I turned it off???????

    Thanks, Harland
     
  2. catseeman

    catseeman New Member

    Messages:
    1,189
    State:
    Indianapolis, Indiana
    Silver dollar, was the switch marked MAIN? The main will have power coming into it if the meter is not removed. You should call the power campany if you need to remove the meter. you should also have a qualified electrician check the electric system. Why were you replacing the dryer breaker? would it not reset? continually tripped? Or what?
     

  3. metalfisher

    metalfisher New Member

    Messages:
    188
    State:
    Arkansas
    Hard to say with out being there. If you drop that main switch and the meter dial keeps spinning, something is not right. It may not be wired correctly or the switch is defective.

    I always use a meter to test the circuit. Electricity is bad stuff if it gets a hold on you.

    Look in your breaker box, some have main breakers in there also. But if you don't have a way to test the circuit, get someone else to fix it for you.

    Robert
     
  4. Mr.T

    Mr.T Active Member

    Messages:
    2,554
    State:
    MO
    Not sure what breaker you pulled, but if it was really 50 amps, it *wasn't* the main breaker for the whole house -- nobody has a 50-amp service; it'll be a 100, 150 or more likely, a 200 amp breaker and it should be the really big one way at the top of your main breaker box inside the house.

    Don't mess around with electricity -- even after you *think* you've killed the power, probe with a voltmeter to be sure. And if you don't know how to use a voltmeter, you shouldn't be messing around in the breaker box in the first place.
     
  5. Deltalover

    Deltalover New Member

    Messages:
    1,227
    State:
    Tracy Calif
    I would imagin your service is bigger then 50 amps. Your tipical dryer circut is two 30 amp circuts. A 50 amp circut would be your kitchen range most likely. I am thinking you are working on the wrong circut! In any case your main would be at least a hundred amps and probably more. If the meter is in place, there is live electricty in the box even if you turn all breakers off!
     
  6. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

    Messages:
    9,407
    State:
    Four Oaks, NC
    Some load centers with some age on them have what is called a split bus.
    The main breaker may cut the bottom side of the bus off but the top bus will stay hot unless you pull the meter.
    Fortunately these darn things arent made anymore.

    Also, alot of older homes dont even have a main breaker.
    The only way to cut power is by pulling the meter.

    Sub panels do not have a main in the panel itself.
    Its main will be located most likely somewhere in the outside load center.

    Jack legs - In 22 years of doing electrical work I've gone behind these electrical professors to find water heaters, air conditioning units, dryers, welders, and water pumps wired straight the main bus lugs with no over current protection other then the 600 amp fuses on a power pole somewhere.

    I highly advise if you are going to go into electrical panels on your own to invest in a quality meter. Not a radio shack variety either.
    You can buy a T-5 Fluke multi meter for under a hundred dollars and it will read ac, dc, ohms, and has a built in ampmeter up to a 100 amps ac.

    Anyone that owns a house , a boat, or a car should invest in a decent meter anyway. They will pay for themselves through being able to do simple common sense trouble shooting and repair not to mention keep you out of the emergency or from tasting copper for 2 months. ( Yep I been hit hard enough to taste copper in my mouth for several weeks)
     
  7. RIP

    RIP New Member

    Messages:
    1,298
    State:
    Somerville, Tennessee
    You need to do as Mark says, I have also been hit hard. Hard enough to blow my cell phone up. Trust me it's not fun. Was going to rep you Mark but got to spread it around.
     
  8. Deltalover

    Deltalover New Member

    Messages:
    1,227
    State:
    Tracy Calif
    Electricty is not something to learn by trial and error or poking around in a main with a meter! Hire a qualified professional electrician! Imho!
     
  9. Cattracker16

    Cattracker16 New Member

    Messages:
    356
    State:
    Wilton Iowa
    50 amp breaker prolly went to a xtra building, or garage but if it was me i'd turn on the dryer and start to turn off breakers til it quit and then you know what breaker leads to the dryer. also i would sugest getting a volt meter to check things out. get one that is a multi meter it comes in handy to check for broken wires ect. Best advice i can give though is if you don't know what you are doing give the local electrician a call... better off safe than sorry
     
  10. 223Smitty

    223Smitty New Member

    Messages:
    478
    State:
    Indiana
    If you're saying your main electrical panel is outside under the meterbase, there may not be a "main" breaker in it, there may be a seperate box that contains a main breaker.

    I too have seen all types of down-right DANGEROUS electrical jobs, like Mark mentioned, appliances wired to mains or buss-bars, with no over-current protection.....odds are the wires would fry (meaning house fire)before it would take out a linefuse.

    Electricity is one of those things that if you are unfamiliar with it....leave it alone. Your life & home isn't worth saving a service call fee.

    Smitty