AFCI breaker keeps tripping

Reply

  #1  
Old 04-01-19, 09:15 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 13
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
AFCI breaker keeps tripping

Hello,

Couple of weeks ago one of the two arc fault circuit breaker has been tripping. There have been no changes. House is about 17 years old. We moved here about 2 years ago. I have unplugged everything from the outlets and still trips randomly. There is no load at all. No water issues. But when I reset it, it let's me do it. I know in my previous house I had issues when I replace plug to decora style as it was connected to two separate breaker and I forgot to snip the little metal plate. And breaker would trip right away. So I knew problem was persistent as breaker switch would snap right back.

But in this case it lets me reset without any problem. Sometimes it can go for few days before it would trip. Could this be the arc fault breaker itself? If I call electrician can they run some diagnostics to determine what is causing it?

Adding one more thing. If I press the Test button while breaker is in on position, nothing happens. I would have expected it to trip and end up in center position.

Thanks
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 04-01-19, 10:06 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 53,505
Received 401 Votes on 377 Posts
If you have everything unplugged/disconnected..... the next step would be to replace the breaker.
Based on the brand.... it should trip when the test button is pressed.
 
  #3  
Old 04-02-19, 06:02 AM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,944
Received 42 Votes on 40 Posts
Some AFCI breakers have a blink code that identifies the reason for the previous trip. If your breaker has an LED on it, watch for the blink code when you reset it and look it up on the manufacturer's web site. Failing that, I agree the next step would be to replace the breaker.
 
  #4  
Old 04-02-19, 02:10 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 13
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the replies and advice. I don;t think it has blink code. There is this clear window that show different colour when switch is in middle position..

One thing I have to correct is that the test switch works fine for the breaker that keeps tripping. It is second breaker that will not trip when test button is pressed. as in picture the top one (21) goes off while #23 test button does nothing. So maybe both need replacing. And I think the last thing plugged in was pretty new lamp with CF light bulb. Which I unplugged for any cracks.
 
Attached Images  
  #5  
Old 04-02-19, 10:51 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 53,505
Received 401 Votes on 377 Posts
The new ones aren't too expensive and have LED diagnostics on them.

Siemen AFCI breakers
 
  #6  
Old 04-03-19, 05:34 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 12,972
Received 59 Votes on 52 Posts
If I press the Test button while breaker is in on position, nothing happens.
This is a good indication that something is wrong with the breaker. I would also replace it.
 
  #7  
Old 04-03-19, 10:49 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Member
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 10,088
Received 29 Votes on 23 Posts
House is about 17 years old.

You have the early generation of Siemens Arc Fault breakers and some of them did have some nuisance trip problems. I also would recommend replacing it with the newer generation Siemens Combination Type Arc Fault breaker. Chances are very good replacement will solve all your problems.
 
  #8  
Old 04-21-19, 10:08 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 13
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Just like to report back. Replaced the Arc Fault breaker with brand new one (Siemens). It was changed yesterday. So far so good, The old breaker was going off more and more frequently even when nothing was plugged in. Really hoping the new breaker will be fine.

Thanks for all the help!
 
  #9  
Old 04-21-19, 10:10 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 53,505
Received 401 Votes on 377 Posts
Good job. Thanks for letting us know how you made out.
 
  #10  
Old 05-05-19, 09:43 AM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 13
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hello. It's very odd that it was fine for couple of weeks. Then it tripped again. There is hardly anything on that is plugged in. And very few things are plugged in and not on. I am not even sure how an electrician would go about figuring it out. I thought usually an arc would happen when you turn on something or there are some loose wires.
Update/Correction: I noticed an electric heater was only thing plugged in and left on overnight. So I wonder if originally the heater was causing problem and then eventually damaged the AFCI breaker. But for sure in my previous tests absolutely nothing was plugged in and old one was still tripping. Thanks.
 
Attached Images  

Last edited by agurm; 05-05-19 at 10:15 AM.
  #11  
Old 05-05-19, 12:11 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 12,972
Received 59 Votes on 52 Posts
It is very common for a ground wire touching a neutral to trip an AFCI. I would recommend to start pulling all the devices on that circuit and make sure this is not happening someplace.
 
  #12  
Old 05-12-19, 05:08 PM
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 13
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks. Yes I am going to go through similar procedure I went through before. I am sue at one point I had all devices removed and it still tripped. That was when I replaced the AFCI breaker as old one was probably 25+ years old. There really are only two receptacles use most. I replaced those also. So far so good.
 
  #13  
Old 05-14-19, 04:05 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 12,972
Received 59 Votes on 52 Posts
You could also disconnect the circuit at each junction box (Disconnect all the wires taking pictures as you go) and then test if the breaker trips. You can isolate the issue that way.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: