AFCI Nuisance Tripping


Old 07-27-05, 06:51 PM
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AFCI Nuisance Tripping

Hi Everyone,

I am having problems with what I think or hope is nuisance tripping of AFCI breakers. The short history: the home was built in 2003, 400 amp service, 5 bedrooms all with AFCI breakers (7 breakers total, 3 different panels) for the outlets, no problems at all for 18 months. No new items plugged in since the house was built. I had one trip about 10 months ago, reset with no problem. Another trip 5 months ago, different bedroom, reset with no problem. Two weeks ago another trip, still a different bedroom, reset with no problem. Last week, same bedroom tripped, reset OK, but I replaced the AFCI with a new one. Two days ago, all THREE of the same (previous) breakers tripped, Iím guessing pretty close to the same time, 3AM, as best as I can tell. Each were in different panels. No storms were in the area (previous severe storms never caused a problem). Reset all of them, and all is well for now. No sign of damage to wiring in the attic, or signs of rodents.

I am at a loss as to what to think about this. If it was just one breaker, I would go through the standard procedures to chase it down. But having all three trip, Iím thinking power surge, or ?? No other problems with the other 4 AFCI breakers that have never tripped (yet), or any other circuits. Has this ever happened to anyone? Iím open to all ideas. Many thanks, Mark.
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Old 07-28-05, 07:43 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
You might call the breaker manufacturer to see if there has been a recall. Some AFCIs have been recalled. There are also articles on the web about various appliances, particularly vacuum cleaners, that cause AFCIs to trip. The breaker manufacturers usually blame the appliance.

If I were you, I'd try to figure out exactly what was running when it trips to isolate the cause.
Old 08-04-05, 12:29 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Central Indiana
Posts: 190
Thumbs down

I have read many reports of AFCI's tripping and the cause being surge protectors (power strips), vacuum cleaners, ceiling fans, smoke detectors, etc. These AFCI things are junk right now, but they are still required under 2005 code.
Old 08-04-05, 01:32 PM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: New York
Posts: 36
Originally Posted by dzdave00
These AFCI things are junk right now, but they are still required under 2005 code.
I disagree. I have used first and second generation (GE brand) AFCIs since the year 2000 (prior to the code requirement), even on a couple of other-than-bedroom branch circuits I thought to be appropriate. I have not experienced a single instance of nuisance tripping in all this time.

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