Go Back  DoItYourself.com Community Forums > Electrical, AC & DC. Electronic Equipment and Computers > Electrical - AC & DC
Reload this Page >

2 pole combo type Arc-Fault circuit interrupter: nuisance trips

2 pole combo type Arc-Fault circuit interrupter: nuisance trips


  #1  
Old 04-10-24, 07:04 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 40
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Question 2 pole combo type Arc-Fault circuit interrupter: nuisance trips

The house was built in the winter of 2021 - 2022. I have now almost daily nuisance trips of a Siemens type QAF HACR SWD 2-Pole Plug-in Arc-Fault Circuit Interrupter. Sometimes several in one day. It has happened before but replacing the device had seemed to correct the problem. For about 8 months.
---
The LED code interpretation is: Check wiring for the parallel and series arc faults.
Check devices for series arc faults. Use AFCI Troubleshooting Guide to assist and accelerate diagnosis.
-----
The two circuits are identified as REF/Kitchen Outlets & KIT Outlets.
The circuits are now wired to a professionally, permitted, install of a sub panel for a generator switch over.

I ended up with the same electricians wiring my shop. After insisting the receptacles be reinstalled at the same level, I had to install striker plates in 2 X 6s to get it past inspection. Not impressed they couldn't use a chalk line or hit the middle of a 2X6. I mention this because in chit chatting with them, they mentioned they had "lost the neutral" in an adjacent branch in the house with, I kid you not, 22 receptacles on it. I've pulled permits 3 times now and each time I mention the dimming lights and number of receptacles I get "Uh, If I'd seen that I would have demanded the load computations." or words to that effect. OK, but "someone" let it pass.

I have never heard of "losing the neutral" before. Can someone explain it?

Next question is when there was plenty of room in the main panel, why bother with the 2-pole?
Last question. To make troubleshooting easier, is it permissible to simply replace the 2 pole with two single throw?

If I can't get this fixed, I'm simply going to pull a permit and pull a 20a circuit to the refrigerator so hopefully there won't be any nuance trips on at least that one circuit.

TIA

Ron
 
  #2  
Old 04-10-24, 08:30 PM
L
Member
Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 136
Upvotes: 0
Received 38 Upvotes on 32 Posts
Am I understanding right that you are losing refrig power due to AFCI tripping? Man that sucks. Personally I would replace it with a standard breaker, to hell with code.

Regarding losing a neutral and all that, it's too much to put in a reply, so please google "MWBC" (multi wire branch circuit).
 
CircuitBreaker voted this post useful.
  #3  
Old 04-10-24, 09:45 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 40
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Thanks Luke, will do.
 
  #4  
Old 04-11-24, 01:24 AM
pcboss's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Maryland
Posts: 13,985
Received 199 Upvotes on 174 Posts
Troubleshooting needs to be done to find the lost neutral. It will be an Easter egg hunt.
 
  #5  
Old 04-11-24, 07:47 AM
2
Member
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: USA near Boston, MA
Posts: 2,316
Received 394 Upvotes on 343 Posts
to hell with code
I am having a new service and panel installed in addition to several new branch circuits. I have learned several things from my electrician.

There are AFCI receptacles that can be used at an existing outlet location to protect new outlets added to the circuit downstream.

Existing branch circuits being fed from the new panel may not need AFCI breakers if the wiring is not changed or added to.

If the local authority is informed (by the electrician) of multiple AFCI trips on a circuit, they will make note in the permit document and issue an exception to allow non-AFCI breakers for that circuit. (This may only be local practice and may not apply in other jurisdictions.)
 
  #6  
Old 04-11-24, 08:56 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 40
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Troubleshooting needs to be done to find the lost neutral. It will be an Easter egg hunt.
It looks like it will be the treasure hunt. Arggg
Can the tracing be done with a VOM and very long leads?

I found that both parts of the multi wire branch circuit share a single GFCI receptacle. But it also apparently has a separate neutral for each side of the GFCI receptacle. I tried pigtailing the neutrals, didn't work. The GFCI faulted.

Not for the first time I wish local building codes specified plans be left with the home owner including an electrical schematic. "Cost" yeah, yeah. What's going to be the cost of cleaning up this mess of a "save $ on the wire" MWBC? A house is the generally the single most expensive purchase a person will make. With a car you can get the schematic, I was an aircraft mechanic, absolutely there's a schematic. House? Nope, you figure it out . . .
 
  #7  
Old 04-11-24, 09:02 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 40
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
If the local authority is informed (by the electrician) of multiple AFCI trips on a circuit, they will make note in the permit document and issue an exception to allow non-AFCI breakers for that circuit. (This may only be local practice and may not apply in other jurisdictions.)
Grinds teeth. Yep, I could see that and why it has to be checked out. Need a permit to legally change a circuit breaker. I'm in Washington state. The state issues the permits here.
 

Last edited by Shiseiji; 04-11-24 at 09:03 AM. Reason: added information
  #8  
Old 04-11-24, 06:49 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,401
Received 4,046 Upvotes on 3,630 Posts
Not the easiest to follow....
You are discussing a two pole protection device protecting kitchen receptacles.
It's very common to have a multiwire branch circuit in the kitchen.
However... with the use of arc fault breakers...... MWBC's should not be used.

How did they get 22 receptacles on kitchen only circuits ??
That's a problem in itself.

Code calls for the fridge to be on a protected circuit. I purposely put the fridge on its own circuit knowing that they are a trip problem. I typically don't protect the fridge receptacle.

I have never heard of the AHJ issuing a waiver on a protection device.
That leaves him open for a lawsuit.
 
  #9  
Old 04-11-24, 08:47 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 40
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Not the kitchen.
an adjacent branch in the house with, I kid you not, 22 receptacles on it.
I checked the code, the Arc Fault is required for the kitchen. So if there are problems with multiwire branch circuit in the kitchen, sounds like it was penny wise for the contractor, and not so hot for the home owner, even if permitted by code. I have also read that the MWBC doesn't play nice with electronics. May explain why we have constant problems with the Alexa on the circuit.

I pulled my flashlight/phone external battery charging station off the circuit the same time I was checking to see if pigtails on the GFCI made a difference. I had cut and bared the insulation to make the pigtail, and then attached the fresh cut wires to the GFCI receptacle. Since doing that, we haven't had a nuance trip. "Maybe" the GFCI connection was just not good enough.
 

Last edited by Shiseiji; 04-11-24 at 08:48 PM. Reason: bold text looked like I was yelling.
  #10  
Old 04-11-24, 09:00 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,401
Received 4,046 Upvotes on 3,630 Posts
Ok..... you have a MWBC feeding the two kitchen circuits.
That must remain a dedicated two pole breaker so that both circuits are turned off for servicing.

Next..... you have 22 receptacles on a circuit or on another and different MWBC from the kitchen.
You cannot split the neutral to a GFI receptacle.
If it's supplied by a MWBC it gets one hot wire and the common neutral.
 
Shiseiji voted this post useful.
  #11  
Old 04-12-24, 12:28 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2014
Posts: 1,027
Received 169 Upvotes on 139 Posts
I have never heard of the AHJ issuing a waiver on a protection device.
That leaves him open for a lawsuit.
I agree with you PJMax. I was "shocked" when I saw that. ​​​​​​​
 
  #12  
Old 04-12-24, 07:31 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 40
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
PJMax, thanks!
You cannot split the neutral to a GFI receptacle.
If it's supplied by a MWBC it gets one hot wire and the common neutral.
So far clean wire ends and re-tightening the GFI receptacle screws has stopped the nuance trips. Should they start up again, I will follow my first inclination and your experience. Pull a permit and run a dedicated circuit to the 'fridge. Fortunately, new house on a crawl space, only thing to possibly deal with is if the location is on top of a joist. The rest is easy. Other than turning 66 and it's not as quick as it used to be LOL.I had hoped a new house would prevent some of this stuff.

FWIW, to others who may not be aware of them. I really love the the screw in old work boxes. Don't see them here in the home improvement centers, but common at the electrical supply stores. Cut your drywall next to the stud, pull the wire, and screw the box to the stud. No wimpy rotating tabs.

Ron
 
  #13  
Old 04-12-24, 01:55 PM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,401
Received 4,046 Upvotes on 3,630 Posts
There are many new and exciting boxes to use.

You have a new house.... you should not be having these wiring issues.
Especially 22 receptacles on one circuit.
I would think the electrician that wired the house should be making corrections.

I've never had problems like that when I've wired a house.
I don't consider myself a "lowest bid" electrician and always make sure everything is done correctly.
 
 

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