I'm sleuthing out a mysterious short in a 3-way circuit and could use some advice. I have an ordinary 15A breaker with a feed to our kitchen pendants, and some outlets in the room. The lights are switched with a 3-way circuit that out of the blue has started to pop the breaker when it is turned on. The circuit carries a load to both outlets and another light. I have been able to determine that when the 3-way switch is turned on it creates a short buzz near one of the outlets and then the breaker trips. I replaced the breaker, but that did not fix the issue. I then isolated the problem down to the pendant lights feed and the 3-way circuit. This appeared out of the blue today, and baffles me.
I pulled and examined both switches and they appear to be fine. The only thing I felt needed to be done was to tighten down the terminal screws, as they were fully extended. The wires are inserted into quick-wire slots. I debated about replacing the switches, but that would be just another easter-egg hunt, and not at all certain they would be at fault. Does anyone have a thought on what to check next? I find it strange that the buzzing noise is not in the 3-way circuit - or at least I don't think so.