Dehumidifier tripping AFCI

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  #1  
Old 10-01-11, 08:36 AM
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Dehumidifier tripping AFCI

I have a heated living space in my basement. My dehumidifier is on a 15 Amp circuit with an AFCI breaker. Specifically it's a Frigidaire LAD504TDL that draws 6 Amps. It is constantly, but not consistently tripping the breaker. What I mean by that is that it can run without tripping for days or only a few hours. Typically when it's only a few hours, it will continue tripping at that frequency and I just don't even run it any longer. This circuit has had a vacuum, a treadmill, LCD TV, Xbox, and fluorescent tube lights running on it without issue. It's probably an insignificant draw, but there is a cable modem, router, and backup hard drive constantly on. I think the only items specifically plugged into this outlet may have been a vacuum, but the treadmill is upstream of the dehumidifier outlet so the power had to flow through it anyway.

I the dehumidifier last year and it ran fine when this circuit was not an AFCI, but I removed some outlets from the circuit (boxes were rusting away and I don't think should have been installed where it was) and added new outlets. When doing that I put in the AFCI breaker.

I'm not sure where to start troubleshooting. My gut tells me it's something to do with the dehumidifier based on all other items (even high load like treadmill, vacuum, etc.) not tripping it. Also, the reviews do not seem overwhelmingly good at least on the Lowe's site. It appears to be running ok when not tripping the breaker and I'm not sure if the issues in the reviews would trip an AFCI breaker, but they're not confidence inspiring reviews.
 
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Old 10-01-11, 09:22 AM
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Your appliance should have been designed to run on an AFCI circuit. Can you try it on another AFCI circuit and see if it trips that one? You may need to look for a marginal connection in the circuit.
 
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Old 10-02-11, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
Can you try it on another AFCI circuit and see if it trips that one?
I can try, but that's the only AFCI circuit in the basement (other outlets are in unfinished area). I'll have to try it on the main floor in continuous operation since there's less humidity upstairs than down

Originally Posted by pcboss View Post
You may need to look for a marginal connection in the circuit.
I'm assuming you mean just checking the connections at each of the outlets/junction boxes on the circuit?
 
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Old 10-02-11, 12:53 PM
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I'm assuming you mean just checking the connections at each of the outlets/junction boxes on the circuit?
That and moving any back stabbed connections to the screws. Also all wire nuts in all connections, receptacles, switches, Jboxes, and lights, need to be removed and the insides inspected for corrosion or damaged springs or just replaced with new ones.
 
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Old 10-03-11, 07:35 AM
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Originally Posted by DIYnewbie9 View Post
It is constantly, but not consistently tripping the breaker. What I mean by that is that it can run without tripping for days or only a few hours. Typically when it's only a few hours, it will continue tripping at that frequency and I just don't even run it any longer.
...
it ran fine when this circuit was not an AFCI
Maybe stuff you've already thought about, maybe not:

Does the fan motor have brushes?

When it is constantly tripping, at what point in the operation is it tripping (When fan starts, when compressor starts, or for no apparent reason).

Any pattern in room temp when it trips (trips more when hot than cold)?

Also you will need to remove everything else from the circuit and run the dehumidifier to ensure that there's not some interaction between suspect items.

Have you checked a date code on the AFCI to make sure it's current stock? Seems to me they were re-engineering these for a few years when the requirement took effect, and if you got an old one, it may not be reliable.

Or, you might try installing a temporary AFCI on the load center bus and run the dehumidifier directly from that for a while.
 
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