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  1. #1
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    Default Breaker trips when using a vacuum cleaner

    Lady called today to say the breakers in living room and den tripped when she used her vacuum cleaner, she asked me to fix it. House was built in 2010, had 200 amp service panel (was fine 2 wks. ago) What's your take on it ?

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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Breaker trips when using a vacuum cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Morris View Post
    Lady called today to say the breakers in living room and den tripped when she used her vacuum cleaner, she asked me to fix it. House was built in 2010, had 200 amp service panel (was fine 2 wks. ago) What's your take on it ?

    Are the outlets ARC fault protected?

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
    www.inspectaz.com

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Breaker trips when using a vacuum cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    Are the outlets ARC fault protected?
    Yes in bedrooms only.


  4. #4
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    Default Re: Breaker trips when using a vacuum cleaner

    Someone needs to find out the load on the circuit when this happens. If they are also AFCI protected someone needs to start the Easter egg hunt for a loose connection.

    Has she tried the vacuum on other circuits with the same result?

    All answers based on unamended National Electrical codes.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Breaker trips when using a vacuum cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Port View Post
    Someone needs to find out the load on the circuit when this happens. If they are also AFCI protected someone needs to start the Easter egg hunt for a loose connection.

    Has she tried the vacuum on other circuits with the same result?
    I will check. TKS


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Breaker trips when using a vacuum cleaner

    She needs a new vacuum! Vacuums are notorious for tripping AFCI's and even normal breakers if the loads are high on the circuit.

    I would also let her know that we (home inspectors) do not test the circuits with a load to see if breakers trip. We check for proper wiring in the panel, outlets, etc.., and note abnormal items.

    Scott Patterson, ACI
    Spring Hill, TN
    www.traceinspections.com

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Breaker trips when using a vacuum cleaner

    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Morris View Post
    Lady called today to say the breakers in living room and den tripped when she used her vacuum cleaner, she asked me to fix it. House was built in 2010, had 200 amp service panel (was fine 2 wks. ago) What's your take on it ?
    I assume she uses the vacuum on other circuits and they do not trip, but you should confirm that. and, are the living room and den on the same breaker or is this two breakers. also, what do you mean by "was fine 2 weeks ago"? Is she saying this is a new problem or did you do the inspection two weeks ago?

    Possible a bad breaker or a bad vacuum. I always try to be helpful when I get a complaint, even if it is not my fault. It is also a good leaning experience. You could take an amperage reading with the vacuum on to see what load it draws.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Breaker trips when using a vacuum cleaner

    At what point in the usage "cycle" does this happen? Immediately upon turning on, sometime after? Presumening a two-prong cord cap therefore "double insulation" and thus suspect a failure in the device itself.

    What's the rating of the vacuum cleaner? The circuit? What else is on the circuit & on and what else is plugged in (but not thought of as "on" e.g., APS backup for computer, television & its myriad devices for same - big screen tv, sat box, dvd player, surround sound system, etc. etc.

    Ex. 12 Amp canister vac with power foot on 15 amp circuit already under (some) load, and the vac itself needs cleaning, maintenance or service. brush roller full of yarn, hair esp. at belt drive, clogs in the hose, dirt cup or bag full, and the intakes and multiple filters (intake & exhaust) are clogged, dirty and in need of washing/replacement - high inrush amps, or crud has previously fouled the motor/fan, in need of user maintenace or service, or possible problem/damage or defect. Defect to cord, connecton or cap causing direct short.

    I wouldn't recommend risking using the vac elsewhere, but taking it in for service, in addition to investigating the circuit.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Breaker trips when using a vacuum cleaner

    Bring in a different vac to test/isolate problem. Better yet, tell woman to borough another vac to see if she has the same problem. Will save you time and possibly a wasted trip just to say its your vac.


  10. #10
    Mbrooke's Avatar
    Mbrooke Guest

    Default Re: Breaker trips when using a vacuum cleaner

    As with AFCIs there are always 3 possible culprits. The branch wiring, the appliance being used and the AFCI itself.

    The first would be to check the branch wiring. If you own a mega-ohm meter this is where to start. Check for neutral to ground and hot to ground faults and not forgetting hot to neutral faults. A fault passing something as low as 30ma will trip an AFCI. Also check to see that back stabbed outlets are tight and that wire nuts have been pre-twisted/and or are tight. A very minor loose connection will trip an AFCI anywhere in the circuit.

    The easiest step then would be to change the AFCI with another one listed for the panel and see if this clears up the issue.

    The last and possibly the first would be to look at the vacuum. If the cord is frayed, mangled or the unit is older than 5 years its time for either repair/or replacement.


  11. #11
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    Default Re: Breaker trips when using a vacuum cleaner

    First and foremost AFCI and motors do not play well together at start up. Especially with some of the first AFCIs that came onto the market.


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