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Old 08-26-2010, 01:19 PM   #1
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Bad Breaker?


I am an electrical novice so bear with me.

The outlets in our master bedroom (6 yr old house) no longer work because the breaker they're attached to flipped one night and will not reset. It is an AFCI breaker if that makes a difference. The breaker only controls the outlets in the room. The overhead lights and outlets in adjoining rooms still work. At the time there was a TV, alarm clock and 2 table lamps plugged into the sockets but the TV and lights were NOT on. I unplugged all appliances and proceeded to attempt to reset the breaker but it would still not reset.

My first questions was, does this type of circuit require a AFCI breaker?

Secondly, if it is a bad breaker, can it be replaced with a normal 15A breaker?

Is this indicative of a larger issue?

Thanks,
Lee

Last edited by Lee Bob; 08-26-2010 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:35 PM   #2
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A bedroom does not require a GFCI breaker. For new wiring, bedrooms require AFCI breakers. If you were to run a new circuit, you'd have to bring it up to code and use AFCI. I assume the same applies if you are swapping out a breaker.

AFCI (arc-fault circuit interrupter) are designed to prevent fires.
GFCI (ground fault) are designed to prevent shocks.

When breakers trip, they sometimes have to be turned OFF then back ON to reset them. Did you try that? Also, this is likely a 15A breaker, not 10A.

The only places that GFCI is required (be it via outlets or breakers) are: Outdoors, Bathrooms, Kitchens, basements, garages, and other wet areas.
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:38 PM   #3
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Just FYI, taken from Dave's sticky post - some images to help you figure out where you need AFCI.:

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Old 08-26-2010, 01:47 PM   #4
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Andy cover this very well. If this really is a GFI have you looked to see if something outside is still plugged in a causing the trip?

With the breaker refusing to reset sounds like you have a short in the wiring. This may turn into a easter egg hunt until you find the problem.
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:54 PM   #5
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Thanks for the help thus far. I just spoke to an electrician familiar with my subdivision and it is a AFCI breaker. My mistake. One thing I haven't looked into is whether the connection at all outlets are still tight and secure. I am going to look into this tonight.
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Old 08-26-2010, 01:56 PM   #6
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Thanks for the clarification. I would start with the most frequently used switches and receptacles.
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Old 08-26-2010, 02:58 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Bob View Post
it is a AFCI breaker.
Your electrician can probably save you a lot of money if he has a device that can troubleshoot AFCIs. Siemens' Intelli-Arc is the only one I know of.
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Old 08-26-2010, 07:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Bob View Post
Thanks for the help thus far. I just spoke to an electrician familiar with my subdivision and it is a AFCI breaker. My mistake. One thing I haven't looked into is whether the connection at all outlets are still tight and secure. I am going to look into this tonight.
So I unscrewed and pulled out each outlet in the bedroom and proceeded to check for loose connections and did not find any. If there was an issue at the receptacle, would this be readily visible when turning on the breaker? Would arccing be seen? I tried to have my wife observe each outlet as I switched on the breaker. She didn't notice anything at any of the 6 outlets.

Any other troubleshooting ideas?
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:13 PM   #9
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Were the receptacles backstabbed or were the screws used?
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Old 08-27-2010, 10:21 AM   #10
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Well, I decided to have an electrician stop in today to take a look. Turns out it was a bad breaker.

Thanks for the help guys.
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