Washer/Dryer causing separate AFCI breaker to trip

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Old 10-02-09, 07:14 PM
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Washer/Dryer causing separate AFCI breaker to trip

I have recently completed finishing my basement. This involved adding about 7 circuits. All has been inspected and signed off. Now that I am using it, I have discovered a rather annoying problem. Right above the home theater area and the utility room (housing the service panel) is our laundry room. When the washer and dryer run, the AFCI receptacle circuit in the family room trips! Importantly, the AFCI lighting circuit is unaffected. Every other time, things work just great.

Could the vibrations from the W/D be somehow to blame? I can't see any other reason why this should be happening at all (or to only this particular circuit).
 
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Old 10-02-09, 08:38 PM
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It could be the electrical noise produced by the motors in the washer and/or dryer. The first step I would try is replacement of the troublesome breaker. If it's a fairly new installation you can probably just return it to the store. Otherwise, give the manufacturer a call and they may replace it on warranty. Although they are getting better with each new generation, AFCI breakers are still known to have nuisance tripping problems.
 
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Old 10-03-09, 06:42 AM
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Thanks, Ben -- I will give that a try!
 
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Old 10-03-09, 06:52 AM
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Is it possible that the grounds or neutrals are shared with this circuit? Ground wire touching a neutral somewhere? Loose connection(backstab) on a device that happens when the washers on?

PS. I had an issue with this on a recent addition where the chain from the ceiling fan was slightly touching the base of the bulb on the light intermittently(like every 6-7 times) tripping the AFCI when the light was turn on.
 
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Old 10-03-09, 09:06 AM
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All of the neutrals are on a separate bus from the grounds and I have no shared neutrals in the house. The new (AFCI) breaker is not even very close to the W/D circuit in the panel. These AFCI breakers seem really, really touchy. As it is now, that circuit in the basement works fine (aside from this issue, of course), but when I plugged in a shop vac or a hair dryer (when I was initially testing it), it trips within seconds. It has no problem with the entertainment equipment (receiver, TV, etc). I wonder if there is a way I could somehow "shield" the washer/dryer if replacing the basement breaker doesn't resolve the problem?
 
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