Bedroom circuit breaker keeps tripping

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Old 07-09-12, 01:19 PM
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Bedroom circuit breaker keeps tripping

Our master bedroom runs off a 15A arc-fault breaker. We hardly have any electric running into the room. (Alarm clock, overhead light, 2 lamps, and an AC unit) It is the same devices for the last three years and had no issues until last week. In the middle of the night we would lose power to the room due to the breaker tripping. If I flip the breaker back on it will trip right away if the AC is still plugged in. Once power is restored with the AC unplugged, I attempt to plug a small desk fan into a different outlet and it trips the breaker. Same will happen if I just turn on the overhead light.

So far I replaced all the electrical outlets and a new circuit breaker. It still happens. I am looking for suggestions so I can sleep in the AC. Can I swap the 15A for a 20A breaker?
 
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Old 07-09-12, 01:37 PM
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Welcome to the forums

First, no - you cannot change the breaker unless the entire circuit has 12 gauge wire, which I am pretty certain it does not.

Are there any other receptacles or fixtures on this circuit?
 
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Old 07-09-12, 01:42 PM
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There is a total of 8 outlets. Only two of the outlets have devices plugged into them. AC into one and alarm clock and one lamp plugged into another. Then there is a overhead light in the bedroom area and a overhead light in the walk in closet.
 
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Old 07-09-12, 01:48 PM
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Sorry, I asked my question poorly - are there receptacles on this circuit that do not produce these results when you plug something into them? In other words, does the first receptacle on the circuit cause the breaker to trip when you plug something into it?
 
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Old 07-09-12, 01:50 PM
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I have not tried to plug in the fan to random outlets to see if there is a break somewhere. I'll give that a go.
 
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Old 07-09-12, 01:55 PM
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Our master bedroom runs off a 15A arc-fault breaker.
Did you recently hang any pictures in the room, or between this room and the panel, or drive any nails or screws into he walls for any other reason? Has anything unusual been done to, or happened to, the smoke detector in this room? Does the smoke detector lose power when the breaker trips, or does it stay on?

Since you said that you can restore the power, I'm guessing that you're doing that by turning the breaker all the way OFF and the ON - but I thought I'd ask.

I would unplug or switch off everything, reset the breaker, and then add the loads back in, one at a time, starting with the lights, and then the A/C unit. Switch off or unplug each one before moving to the next one, and keep going until one of them trips the breaker, or you've eliminated all of them.
 
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Old 07-11-12, 12:27 PM
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Nashkat1 - Nothing has been hung up recently or modified or changed within this room. (I did add a cieling fan on the other side of the house but that is a totally seperate breaker.)

As for troubleshooting, I plugged my small desktop fan into each outlet and every time I turned it on, it tripped the breaker. There is minimal to 0 load running on this circuit. Nothing else is plugged in or overhead lights on.
 
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Old 07-11-12, 12:40 PM
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As for troubleshooting, I plugged my small desktop fan into each outlet and every time I turned it on, it tripped the breaker. There is minimal to 0 load running on this circuit. Nothing else is plugged in or overhead lights on.
That confirms that it's tripping from sensing an arc fault, not from overload. Now the question is whether there's a problem with the fan. Do you have something like a table lamp, that's working fine on another AFCI circuit, that you could test with? You could also plug that fan into a receptacle on a different AFCI circuit to see if that holds.
 
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Old 07-11-12, 12:42 PM
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A connection may have degraded from the load imposed by the A/C and may now be arcing.
 
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Old 07-11-12, 12:44 PM
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It's not the fan. It works on other circuits. The breaker trips when turning on one of the overhead lights, AC unit, table lamp. The only thing the circuit can currently handle is the alarm clock.

Can I just put in a regular 15A breaker with no arc fault. My electrician contact at work advised putting in the arc fault since its a bedroom and will help reduce risk of fire or something.
 
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Old 07-11-12, 12:50 PM
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If the arc fault protection is required you should not remove it. You need to find the loose connection. Look at the receptacle where the alarm clock is plugged in or the one next to it.
 
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Old 07-11-12, 12:50 PM
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How old is the house? I'm thinking I would probably replace the breaker as a next step (with a new 15 amp breaker, not 20 amp).

Hang tight, we have guys like Nash who know this stuff better than I do, let's wait for one of them to chime in before you go and do that.
 
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