3 combination arc fault breakers tripping under load
I have a 100 amp sub panel in garage,new addition above garage.2 arc faults serving lighting in the addition and 1 arc fault serving plugs in the addition.garage plugs are dedicated.When I plug chop saw or any large load in garage plugs it trips arc fault breakers that are on same phase. When I plug something in to the other phase like bath plug it trips the other arc fault breaker on that phase.These arc fault breakers will not trip unless there is a load.This is a older house and the only outlets affecting these arc faults is on the new sub panel.I can plug a halogen light in the arc fault circ that only has plugs, and it doesn't trip.When I put a roto zip or vacume it does.I have tried these arc fault brakers in my own 100 amp sub panel and they do not trip with a vacume or roto zip.I have checked all nuetral connections at this house including transformer and meter.Please help.
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Re: 3 combination arc fault breakers tripping under load
What is happening is the white wire that comes off the breaker is probably too close to another neutral or too close to a hot wire that is on one of the other circuits that will make it trip when you use a drill etc... Check to see if the coiled up white wire off of the breaker is not near a hot in the panel. I have had lots of arc fault breakers trip for that reason.
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When current is going through wiring and devices it normally operates warm. That is why most wire and devices such as breakers are rated at 70 degrees Celsius. In a panel, heat can be transferred through the buss bar they are connected to.
Breakers will trip for 2 reasons. Overload amperage and heat.
"Arc fault" breakers trip when an arc occurs, either in a receptacle or a light switch, for example. An arc can be caused by an old light switch, when turning it on. An arc can also occur when you unplug a chord while the device is still turned on or running.
I'm an electrician and can help you out with this problem. A tripping arc fault breaker is an indication of a problem with the circuit that will need to be corrected before it can be reset.
The first thing to do is remove all the cord-connected devices from the outlets. This will help in a couple of ways - the first will is that the load on the circuit will be reduced if the tripping is the result of an over-current condition; and will also remove any device that is mimicking the type of arcing trouble the circuit breaker is designed to detect. After all the devices have been removed, reset & turn on the circuit breaker. This means the handle must be pushed to the OFF position fully, and then pressed in the opposite direction to the ON position. If the breaker stays on, begin plugging the cord-connected devices back into the outlets. If the breaker trips, disconnect the last device plugged in, and turn the breaker back on as described above.
You should have the device that caused the trip thoroughly checked before connecting to your home's wiring.
If the breaker tripped before plugging in the cord-connected devices, check fixtures - fluorescent in particular. Older arc fault breakers often confused fluorescent fixtures as dangerous arcs problems. You should disconnect them / remove lamps and try again.
If still unable to get the breaker to stay on, there may be a problem with the breaker or the wiring. You can check the breaker after first removing the load wire from the breaker terminal - but I caution against doing this if you are not completely familiar with working with breakers and live voltages found in an electrical panel.
A qualified electrician should be called to solve the problem for you if you have followed the steps above without any luck.
Are there any heaters anywhere in the circuit for this breaker? (ie: bathroom fan w/light and heater) If yes, I would suspect and inspect them first. Also,any type breaker will trip more easily if the electrical connection screws on the breaker are not tight enough...check to make sure that's not the case.
Arc fault breakers are definitely a pain. First make sure the receptacles are made for a 20 amp circuit. Second vacuums, Curlers,and most appliances will trip your breaker since they create an arc or a short if you will to operate. That is exactly what these breakers are made for. To stop the arc. Apparently they never really thought the whole arc fault thing through. As per code in most of arizona you only need this breaker in bedrooms where this type of appliance is not used. They also are more prone to popping so make sure you aren't running something on each of the receptacles at the same time