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Old 09-25-2008, 02:35 PM   #1
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AFCI trips every 7 days


We just put an addition on our house. We did the wiring by ourselves and passed the inspection without a problem. Before, we were proud of ourselves and thought all the research and hard work paid off. But recently, we start to worry.

Based on the code, we put AFCIs in all three new bedrooms. The smaller room only has one 15A AFCI breakers for lights and receptacles. Other 2 bigger rooms each has one 15A for lights and receptacles, and a dedicated 20A for AC. At the beginning, these AFCI breakers tripped once a while, put it back on, everything was fine. We remembered the inspector told us these new AFCIs are very sensitive and may trip here and there. We thought no biggy, we just need put it back on again. About a month later, we were getting tired of this game. After carefully recording, we found they tripped very precisely every 7 days and the timing varied no more than an hour.

Since it is already September, we didn't put AC in any of these rooms, and only use lights for couple hours at night. Nothing in the circuits is recording time, so we guess that is the AFCI itself. However, I have to say the smoke detects are tied into one of the bedrooms. Could that be it? How could it be so precise? Is this normal? Once a week may not be very bad, but could be very annoying. Has anybody encountered this kind of situation before? How can we solve it?

Thanks ahead.

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Old 09-25-2008, 03:41 PM   #2
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AFCI trips every 7 days


Nuisance tripping of AFCI's is nothing new, but this is sure strange. No, the breaker itself isn't keeping time. They don't do that. It leads me to believe that something outside the circuit itself is causing this, and I honestly doubt anything you did in your wiring is causing it.

If you can predict the timing of the breaker trip, I'd suggest unplugging anything and everything that is plugged in to the receptacles. See if it still happens. If it doesn't trip "as scheduled" then you can systematically determine what device or appliance is causing it over the next couple weeks. Then I'd start with the alarm clock to see if it is guilty .

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Old 09-25-2008, 04:32 PM   #3
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AFCI trips every 7 days


Are they all tripping, just certain ones, or random breakers??

They are very sensitive and almost any loose connection can make them trip. Did you 'back-stab' the receptacles or wire them on the screws? I've fixed some before that were back-stabbed.
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Old 09-25-2008, 07:47 PM   #4
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AFCI trips every 7 days


Ohhh, I kind of remember this story from a previous post a few months ago....Yeah I think you should unplug everything and test because if it trips precisely around 7 days, it has to be some sort of equipment. Otherwise after checking the connections and equipment, I would go for an afci replacement.
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Old 09-26-2008, 03:07 PM   #5
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AFCI trips every 7 days


Actually, we didn't plug anything into these receptacles expect two bedside lamps, because these are new rooms and haven't fully furnished yet.

Not all the rooms tripped at the same time, since we initially turned on the breakers for each room at different time. (Luckily, we did that, so we had no dark out every time they tripped.) However, we did turn on the two breakers (one 15A, one 20A) powering the same room at the same time, and they tripped synchronously.

Will the "back-stab" cause this? I did back-stab most of the receptacles. It's kind easier than wrapping the wire around the screws. If this is it, I will redo all of them.
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Old 09-26-2008, 03:53 PM   #6
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AFCI trips every 7 days


The AFCI's are looking for any arcs caused by poor connections or damage to wires. Although the stabs are pretty reliable, they're nowhere near as reliable as the screw terminals on the devices. I'd suggest going through and re-doing all the receptacles and switches just to rule that out.
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Old 09-26-2008, 04:48 PM   #7
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AFCI trips every 7 days


I agree with KC. That was going to be my suggestion. A wire connection on a screw is always a better connection. Also check that the wire attached to the breakers themselves are good connections and that the breaker is fully seated....and the white wire going to the neutral bus is by itself under the bus screw. With neutrals, it's one screw, one wire.

I also was wondering if it was only one or two breakers tripping...you can swap the circuits around on the breakers for testing...if the same breaker keeps tripping, it could be a bad breaker, if it's another breaker tripping, then it points to a circuit wiring issue of some kind.
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Old 09-26-2008, 07:32 PM   #8
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AFCI trips every 7 days


Oh the evil backstabs...I had my basement filled with them...I was bored so I got my tools out and fixed them all...Anyways, fix them all.

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