Treadmill keeps tripping breaker

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Old 04-30-14, 02:58 PM
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Treadmill keeps tripping breaker

I have a problem I cannot figure out. I have a treadmill that is about 10 years old that used to be in the garden level of my house. I had it plugged into an outlet that was on the same circuit as my TV, which I would have on while I worked out, as well as a small fan that was mounted on the treadmill. I never had any issues with the breaker tripping.

A few years ago, I had the crawl space of my house dug out into a basement and moved my treadmill down there. They only put one more breaker in for the basement, so the three lights (two CFL and one 75 watt bulb) and the one outlet are all on the same circuit. When I work out, I have the lights on, the treadmill on, and I also have a little (15") TV and the same fan as before plugged in and on.

Now, I keep tripping the breaker when I am on the treadmill. The weird thing is, it doesn't happen every time, and when it does happen, it is sometimes a good 1 1/2 hours into my workout. It never trips right away. It is always at least 45 minutes after I start.

If it just tripped right away, I would just know that the lights plus the fan, TV, and treadmill are just too much for the circuit. But I don't understand why it doesn't trip until so much time has passed.

To fix the issue, I ran an extension cord up the stairs to an outlet on the circuit I was on before and am in the process of putting in another outlet in the basement that comes off that same circuit. Since I have been using the extension cord, I have had no problems. So, putting in this new outlet should solve the problem, I just was wondering if anyone had an explanation for what might be going on and if I should be worried about the integrity of the installation.

Since the basement was just put in 3 years ago, the breaker is new and all the electrical is new, so I can't blame it on anything being old.

Thanks for your help.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 03:18 PM
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it doesn't happen every time, and when it does happen, it is sometimes a good 1 1/2 hours into my workout.
While that might indicate a weak breaker I think you are running the breaker at or slightly above 15 amps and eventually the breaker heats up enough to trip.
So, putting in this new outlet should solve the problem
No, but running a new circuit will.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 06:28 PM
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I see a few possibilities. One is the upstairs could have had a 20 amp circuit and the new downstairs circuit may only be 15 amps. Another is, with the lights burning downstairs, you could be right on the threshold of the capacity of the circuit and the breaker heats up and eventually trips. A third possibility is a weak breaker, but I doubt this is the case.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 07:19 PM
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The one upstairs is also 15 amps.

Why wouldn't running an outlet from the garden level circuit down to the basement work? Then I will only have the fan, TV, and treadmill on that breaker - which worked fine when I had the treadmill on the garden level.

The basement circuit has all that in addition to 3 lights, which is probably what is loading it to capacity.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 08:50 PM
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Why wouldn't running an outlet from the garden level circuit down to the basement work?
It might until something else is added or then your back to the same problem. No way to know how close to the tipping point you are for that circuit.The smart thing to do is run a dedicated 20 amp circuit for the treadmill and be done with it. What is the full load amps of the treadmill? A quick search shows 10-12 amps. That's almost too much for even a dedicated 15 amp breaker so I am recommending a 20 amp breaker.
 
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Old 04-30-14, 09:30 PM
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Being that it's a basement...is the breaker a GFCI? Sometimes motors and GFCI protection don't play nice together, and a quick Google search shows several threads about problems when mixing the two, including this: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...dmill-gfi.html
 
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Old 05-01-14, 09:26 AM
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I will check to see if it is a GFCI breaker. The outlet is not a GFCI. I will also check my treadmill owners manual to see if it says it won't work with a GFCI. That may be the problem since my basement is unfinished.

I went ahead and ran the new outlet from the garden level circuit last night and will hopefully have a chance to work out this weekend and see how it goes. If more things do get loaded onto that circuit, it may make this only a temporary fix, but I live alone, so I am not too worried.

Worse comes to worse, I will have a new circuit run with a 20 amp breaker, as suggested.

Thanks for all your replies. Very helpful.
 
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Old 05-01-14, 09:48 AM
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If it really is tripping a GFCI or AFCI and replacing the breaker doesn't help the the treadmill is defective and possibly unsafe. Check the full load amps. If it is 10 or more you are running on borrowed time. That said you have my attitude toward fixing things. Not an attitude I would promote in the forum though.

Glad you got it. Thanks for letting us know your solution.
 
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Old 05-01-14, 04:20 PM
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Mystery solved

So - the breaker feeding my basement is a 15 amp AFCI. I looked in my treadmill owner's manual, and it doesn't say anything about not plugging into a circuit with an AFCI breaker, but my treadmill is 10 years old (prior to the code changes). So I looked online for the manuals to the current models that the manufacturer makes,and they all say 'NEVER plug the treadmill into a circuit on an AFCI/GFCI breaker'. So I think it is pretty safe to assume that goes for my model as well.

In addition, I called the manufacturer and asked how many amps my model pulled. They said about 6 when it was up and running (a little more at startup). So, I definitely wasn't overloading the breaker. Also, the owner's manual says that the treadmill can be plugged into a 15 amp outlet.

Since my house was built in 1976, running the treadmill off the outlet I ran from the garden level circuit should solve the problem.

Thanks again for all the help. I am relieved to know it isn't a wiring problem.
 
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Old 05-01-14, 04:24 PM
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But technically you may now have violated local code.
 
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Old 05-02-14, 06:15 AM
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the breaker feeding my basement is a 15 amp AFCI.
And your basement is unfinished?
 
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