| In my girlfriend's apartment, the circuit breaker for the kitchen keeps | tripping. This only started happening a couple days ago. After | resetting the breaker, it takes about a day before it trips again, not | right away. What could be the cause of this?
Lots of things are possible.
- Sometimes a few breakers will have a lower rating as they age. This is rare, but not unknown.
- A loose connection on the breaker is heating it up, making the thermal element hotter than it should be. This is a "could burn the place down" risk.
- Added appliances could be reaching the load limit on the circuit.
- Some appliance is defective (and dangerous).
Check the breaker in question carefully to see if it feels warmer or hotter than other breakers. If so, shut off all the appliances and wait an hour, then shut off the breaker (look away as you do this, since there is a small, but non-zero, risk that the breaker is damaged as a result of the heat, and this may be the instant it chooses to physically break and cause its own short). Leave it off and report to the landlord that there is an electrical fire hazard (because there really is ... a loose connection could result in burning the whole place down).
| Before I simply get "call an electrician" my situation is that she and I | are both full time university students, and have no money at all. Her | landlord is very slow, if ever, to respond to any maintance requests. | | I am also a full time student, however I am a lot more capable than | most, I also work in the electrical department at a major home | improvement store, and can do a good many tasks that many of my peers | can not. I think I could fix her problem if I knew what was wrong and | how to fix it.
In virtually all jurisdictions, doing electrical work like that in other than a homeowner occupied residence is illegal. And that's not even addressing the issue of your liability for causing damage to property that belongs to someone else (including other tenants if there are any and something burns down as a result of your mistake). If you cannot get the landlord to do the right thing and fix this ... if it is indeed a problem that belongs to the landlord ... then you need to look for some legal help to pressure the landlord to do so. Do not try this yourself even if it becomes clear what the problem is.
| The circuit breaker for the kitchen is a 30 amp, double pole of course.
That sounds wrong. In the USA, which you appear to be in, circuits for receptacles would have 15 or 20 amp, generally single pole. Two-pole circuits would be for 240 volt receptacles, otherwise it's 120 volts. A two pole 30 amp breaker sounds like it would be for an electric clothes dryer, or an electric water heater, or a central air conditioner/heater.
If it really is a 30 amp breaker powering ordinary 15 or 20 amp outlets, there's a code violation right there. You may be able to get the local building/electrical inspector to force the landlord's hand sooner than legal aid could do. But there is a very slight risk the building could also be condemned if the landlord refuses to fix it, and your girlfriend will be out on the street (or over at your place).