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Q.In a residential remodel, we replaced the electrical service panel. Within five days, two of the 15-amp breakers tripped and could not be reset. The breakers were determined to be "defective" and had to be replaced. What could be causing this problem?

A.Master electrician Sean Kenney responds: It is certainly possible that the breakers were defective. I have noticed that quality control for electrical equipment has gone down considerably in the past 20 years or so. I would be especially suspicious if the breakers were purchased at a home center or hardware store.

If the panel was replaced to try to solve a problem with tripping circuit breakers or fuses, a contributing factor may be problems with the house wiring. If the house had an overloaded circuit, and the homeowner deliberately installed oversized fuses to keep them from burning out, then correctly sized breakers in a new panel will be easier to trip than the old oversized fuses.