New Home AFCIs Tripping - Electrical - DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum


Go Back   DIY Chatroom Home Improvement Forum > Home Improvement > Electrical

CLICK HERE AND JOIN OUR COMMUNITY TODAY...IT'S FREE!

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 12-31-2009, 11:06 AM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


Brand newe home, with lots of AFCI breakers. AFCIs trip randomly. Started with two breakers tripping simultaneously and randomly. Resets would work for hours or days, then would trip again. Electricians checked panel, switches and outlets, found no problems. Advised to replace 15 Amp power strips and to move furniture further away from outlets. This was done, but Tripping continued intermittently.
Over Christmas, the problem escalated, with failures daily, and and as many as four breakers tripping simultaneously. Resets always worked. Electricians came, looked, and left.
We checked with neighbors on same transformer, and they have no problem.
Help!

Advertisement

geezer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2009, 11:17 AM   #2
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Oregon
Posts: 1,497
Rewards Points: 500
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


AFCI Unwanted Tripping Report...
http://www.afcisafety.org/report.html

Advertisement

Billy_Bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2009, 11:42 AM   #3
Electrical Contractor
 
wirenut1110's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chester, VA.
Posts: 1,051
Rewards Points: 504
Send a message via AIM to wirenut1110
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


What did the "electricians" say on the last visit? Are the same ones coming each time? Do you know what or how they are "checking"? Is it the same breakers tripping or breakers that are on the same leg or different legs? Is there any commonalities or events that occur to make this happen? Any lights dimming or getting brighter?

I would just stay on the builder's butt till it get's resolved. I wouldn't advise doing anything because it would/may void the warranty.
wirenut1110 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2009, 12:01 PM   #4
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


Thanks, Billy Bob,

The "electrician" showed up, got the info about all the new breakers tripping, then started talking about lightbulbs that are designed for 130V AC, vs 120VAC (Long-life bulbs?).
Not always the same breakers tripping.
Don't know if they're on the same leg, but with as many as have tripped - total over time, as many as eight different breakers - I tend to doubt it.
No dimming or brightening.
Can't think of anything new, except a Christmas tree and an iPod player present plugged in . And those weren't there before the holidays.
Lastly, we're definitely staying on the builder. He's pretty much at the mercy of his electrical contractor. I understand that problem, I've been there myself.
Thanks for your advice!
geezer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2009, 12:01 PM   #5
Tool Geek
 
PaliBob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pacific Palisades CA
Posts: 2,544
Rewards Points: 2,068
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
AFCI Unwanted Tripping Report...
http://www.afcisafety.org/report.html
Thanks for the Link, Billy Bob
I bookmarked it for future reference
.
.
__________________
Disclaimer
& Stay Safe
.....Bob Lavery
PaliBob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2009, 12:03 PM   #6
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


Correction - They're all on the same side of the load center, so they're all on the same leg - Good clue!
geezer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-31-2009, 01:27 PM   #7
Licensed Pro
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: SC
Posts: 1,545
Rewards Points: 1,000
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


If they are all on the same side, they alternate legs. If they are all together (one on top of the other), then heat may be an issue. Ask the electrician to move them around in the panel so no two are together.
__________________
"Life is hard. Life is harder when you're stupid." John Wayne
HouseHelper is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2010, 11:34 AM   #8
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by Billy_Bob View Post
AFCI Unwanted Tripping Report...
http://www.afcisafety.org/report.html
Hi Billy Bob, Thanks for your interest. I completed the report with as much info as I have. I assume this goes to NEMA, what will they do with it?
geezer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2010, 05:01 PM   #9
Tool Geek
 
PaliBob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Pacific Palisades CA
Posts: 2,544
Rewards Points: 2,068
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by geezer View Post
what will they do with it?
Just guessing, but they may bozz it off unless they get other reports from your area that display common symptoms. I think you have an installation problem.

For your next step, I would start keeping a detailed log of tripping by breaker number and times with a note whether or not the tripping cause was unknown or resulted from turning something on or off, plus a complete record of service calls, and calls to the Builder. If you have not already done so now is the time to send the Builder a registered letter with all the actions to date.

Quote:
He's pretty much at the mercy of his electrical contractor
Not true for you, If you had a leaking roof that kept leaking, You wouldn’t take it if the Builder said it's just up to the Roofer.


Electrical contractors vary in their skill level for analyzing faults. The Electrical Contractor that bid the job to wire your house, most likely got the job because he had the lowest bid. He may have done a perfectly adequate job wiring your house but if it is the same crew being called back, they may not be really up on the curve to troubleshoot AFCI’s.

What kind of diagnostic equipment did they bring to the job? I would consider something like this as a minimum to analyze your problem:
http://cableorganizer.com/ideal-indu...LAID=261919688
.
Attached Thumbnails
New home AFCIs tripping-ideal-61-165-analyzer.jpg  
__________________
Disclaimer
& Stay Safe
.....Bob Lavery

Last edited by PaliBob; 01-06-2010 at 07:41 PM. Reason: Wrong Link, added pic
PaliBob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2010, 11:16 PM   #10
Master sparky
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 9
Rewards Points: 10
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


AFCI's are relatively in their infancy. Trying to diagnose them are like trying to find a needle in a hay stack. I've had some that work trouble free (in practicality), who knows how they work under a real life arc situation. Heck most inspectors gave up on testing them on inspections with an arc fault tester because they can't get them to trip under simulated conditions. When I ask them how they prefer to test them they just press the button, which by no means replicates an in circuit arc fault.
They trip during a light bulb flash before it blows. I personally think that troubleshooting a GFCI circuit problem is less problematic. Some have given me nothing but problems. I too have done what your electricians did and took everything apart, but found nothing. If it comes done to having to mega meter all your wiring or any other time consuming money gobbling diagnosis, than I don't see any practical use for them.
It's nice to be ideological and think that we can make things safe, but lets be realistic and admit that there is always a margin of error in everything. Some ideas or codes make our lives much safer and statistics prove it e.i. smoke detector regulations, others are far fetched bs that looks good on paper but does not work in the real world.
In my opinion, and I know that there will be some idealists that will disagree, but until they get the kinks out of the AFCI's, I'd pull all of them out and replace them with standard circuit breakers UL listed for your panel.
AFCI's have been mandated through-out the house since 2008 and only in bedrooms since 2005. Does this mean that every house built before is less safe? If so the insurance companies would be all over this one.
texelect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2010, 11:23 PM   #11
Licensed electrician
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 7,992
Rewards Points: 2,782
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


The only recognized test is by using the TEST button on the breaker. The plug in testers are not a test method.
Jim Port is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2010, 11:55 PM   #12
Master sparky
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 9
Rewards Points: 10
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
The only recognized test is by using the TEST button on the breaker. The plug in testers are not a test method.

Recognized by what standard?
texelect is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2010, 04:39 AM   #13
Electrical Contractor
 
kbsparky's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Delmarva
Posts: 3,368
Rewards Points: 2,000
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


How many of your power strips are "surge protected"??

Surge protectors can shunt voltage spikes to ground, and this causes GFCI, and AFCI to randomly trip.
__________________
-KB

Life is uncertain -- eat dessert first!!
kbsparky is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2010, 08:48 AM   #14
Newbie
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 5
Rewards Points: 10
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by kbsparky View Post
How many of your power strips are "surge protected"??

Surge protectors can shunt voltage spikes to ground, and this causes GFCI, and AFCI to randomly trip.

AHA! Well, the electricians back in June/July suggested replacing the power strips, but did not specify non-surge protection. As you explained this, it makes sense, but that means we can't have surge protection for compuers, TVs, and other electronics? Most of those devices recommend surge protection. And, my bells-and-whistles treadmill requires a surge protector for its warranty. Maybe the incoming line voltage is noisy?
geezer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2010, 09:04 AM   #15
Licensed electrician
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 7,992
Rewards Points: 2,782
Default

New home AFCIs tripping


Quote:
Originally Posted by texelect View Post
Recognized by what standard?
Here is a letter from UL.

http://www.jupiter.fl.us/buildingdiv...-UL-Letter.pdf

Advertisement

Jim Port is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools
Display Modes

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


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Cost to subcontract modest home catbird Building & Construction 25 05-25-2009 08:38 PM
Need some advice on buying home termite & water damage. Mr Heshup General DIY Discussions 1 03-29-2009 04:06 PM
A facelift for your home Grumpy Remodeling 0 07-07-2004 08:43 PM




Top of Page | View New Posts