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Main wire to heater getting hot/melting

I have a Rheem central heater a/c system for my house that is about 11 years old. The original issue was the breaker was tripping on my central heater. I reset it a few weeks ago and no issues. Now it trips after 5 minutes of operation. The main wire from the circuit breaker to the heater is hot to the touch and tripping the breaker. I can see signs at the end of the wire by the breaker of some melting and a black chared area from where it has melted slightly. What could cause this? I am no longer running the heater now that I saw this wire issue.

Comments

  • unclejohnunclejohn Member Posts: 987
    Lose wire

    Or bad breaker. Call and electrician and give him the info off the breaker or panel and should be a quick repair.
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,536
    I can see signs at the end of the wire

    I am not an electrician, but in a former life I designed a lot of electronic equipment that had to meet military specifications. This is not the same, of course.



    If that red wire were charred, melted, etc., for most of its length, I would suspect a great overload. But that does not seem to be the case. If it is too hot for its entire length, the load has a problem with it.



    A great way to get a symptom like that is to have the screw holding that end of the wire to be a little loose. In that case, the loose connection will heat up and cause symptoms like that.



    Another possibility is that you have one of these Federal Pacific Electric Company  power panels:



    http://www.ismypanelsafe.com/fpe.aspx



    In any case, that breaker might be defective and need replacement. If you are not a trained electrician, you might be well advised to have one check this. A new breaker, or even a new power panel is cheaper than a house, and surely cheaper than the lives of any people who live there.
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