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  1. #1
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    Jan 2014
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    Air Handler Breakers

    So I have a Trane air handler which has been tripping breakers. I had my HVAC guy come out and go through everything to ensure I don't have excessive current draw or something else going on. We went through the system etc etc. As it turns out the breakers are getting warm and tripping so I am going to replace the breakers in the unit. I have already ordered the appropriate breakers and let me tell you they were not cheap. So my question, what makes the breakers inside a air handler so special that they are so expensive, what is the difference in a standard double pull 60 amp 240 volt breaker and the breakers in my air handler?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    Jul 2001
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    Anderson,SC
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    I worked on a Goodman Pkg HP. 10 KW heat strips. The 60 amp breaker/disconect defective. So I say no problem go to Lowes and get a GE 60 amp CB. Get back to job site and the foot print is different on unit.
    First why have a 60 amp breaker on the unit aux heat? There is a 60 amp at the main CB panel, why have two set of same amp CB on same circuit?

    I think it's not a breaker on aux heat, it's a disconnect.

    Why can't I take the CB out and put in a 60 amp disconnect?

    Stud

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
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    They aren't expensive if you know where to get them!

    I think they really are just disconnects. Take a 15kw kit. In the old days, they would have a 60 and a 30. Now they come with 60s on both circuits and the installer is supposed to put a 30 on the single bank circuit. Nobody does.

  4. #4
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    Jan 2014
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    Thread Starter
    well if I go off the Trane part number and the internet they are not cheap, and if I go with my HVAC guy they are twice as much. Sounds like if the voltage, current, and footprint are the same any breaker/disconnect will do.

  5. #5
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    Jul 2001
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    Anderson,SC
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    This one had a 30 and a 60. The 30 wasn't being used. When I get heat kits I always get without breakers.
    Stud

  6. #6
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    Biggjurk

    A regular GE CB would not work on this model Goodman today.
    I don't about a Trane.
    Stud

  7. #7
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    Jan 2014
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    Thread Starter
    Well that is my original question, what is the difference between a regular GE CB and one 10 times as much for HVAC?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Northern VA 38 degrees N by 76 degrees W
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    Quote Originally Posted by biggjurk View Post
    So I have a Trane air handler which has been tripping breakers. I had my HVAC guy come out and go through everything to ensure I don't have excessive current draw or something else going on. We went through the system etc etc. As it turns out the breakers are getting warm and tripping so I am going to replace the breakers in the unit. I have already ordered the appropriate breakers and let me tell you they were not cheap. So my question, what makes the breakers inside a air handler so special that they are so expensive, what is the difference in a standard double pull 60 amp 240 volt breaker and the breakers in my air handler?

    Thanks!
    What is the heater packet # that you have?

  9. #9
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    Jul 2001
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    Anderson,SC
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    The GE breaker(from lowes), snaps into a breaker box. The foot print on the aux heat panel breaker has lugs on one side for #6 wire and male spades for wire connectors to heat elements.
    Breaker is larger to.

    Your hvac man is I'm sure, marking up the cost.

    Bottom line I don't think reg CB will not work.

    That's why I think they are not breakers but disconnects.

    Stud

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
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    nebraska
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    Quote Originally Posted by biggjurk View Post
    Well that is my original question, what is the difference between a regular GE CB and one 10 times as much for HVAC?
    Much smaller runs of a custom foot print and mount.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2014
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    Thread Starter
    BAY96X142102, its not the HVAC guy marking them up I have looked online etc. I think they are pricey because its old parts are probably not in high production anymore, I was just curious if there was a mechanical difference in design or quality but by the sounds of it I am just paying for a special case outline and some contacts which sucks but it is what it is. Hopefully this will get me down the road a bit longer until I'm ready to invest in a new air handler. I had considered a entire new unit but I just had a new coil installed about 1.5yr ago so I'm not ready to give up on it yet.

    Sent from my GT-I9505G using Tapatalk

  12. #12
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    Nov 2004
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    Anchorage Alaska / Seattle WA
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    Quote Originally Posted by biggjurk View Post
    Well that is my original question, what is the difference between a regular GE CB and one 10 times as much for HVAC?
    There are several differences between a regular circuit breaker as installed in a circuit panel and what is referred to as a panel mount breaker. As you will notice the breakers mount with screws on the sheet metal. The line side of the breaker is a screw/compression connection and the load side is a multiple spade connection. Also some of these panel mount "breakers" are not breakers at all... They are what is referred to as "molded case switches." They look just like breakers but only operate as a switch... Read them carefully to be sure which you have. If you have a breaker that is tripping be sure and take an amperage reading. If the reading is more than 80% of the nameplate rating the system is operating in what is referred to as the long time tripping range. The heat will cause the thermal element to release the tripping element within 3 hours if a breaker is operating over 80% of its capacity, if the breaker is operating properly. If I was having a chronic problem with these breakers and I was sure there were no shorted elements I would replace the breakers with a fused disconnect and use slow blow fuses. The biggest difference in the cost is one of scale... GE sells millions of the regular circuit breakers and only a few of the panel mount breakers with the special terminations.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cleveland, OH
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    Something else is wrong. I suspect you will be spending a lot of money to watch the new ones trip as well.
    Good? Bad? I'm the guy with the gun.

    Statements made by me are strictly my opinions and do not reflect the opinions of my employer. I am not authorized to make any official statements on behalf of my employer.
    Any technical advice offered by me is for educational purposes only, all HVAC related repairs should only be attempted by qualified personnel.

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