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  1. #1
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    Mar 2007
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    Smile Vacuum Trips Breakers. Two homes Same Bldr?

    So Ladies and Gentlemen, today I have, or so at least I think, a really really crazy one. You decide. Two homes by same builder and electrician. One of the two subjects just happens to be that of the HI (yours truly). The other is that of my wonderfull neighbors Joe and Lori and their two little girls. In the home of the HI, when he plugs in his vacuum, in his office, the circuit trips. And this activity traspires regularly, or no less than once per year. This does not happen on any other circuit. Now then though, in the home of Joe and Lori, they have several circuits where same occurs and lighting issues as well. They just go out. Not all of these fixtures are recessed so the UL thermal switch as a cause was ruled out by me. A load calc was run by a licensed electrician who indicated his test showed no problems. There is no current on the ground path. So what's up with this??? Anybody got any idea at all??? I don't think it's hazardous, though I really don't know. In the case of the HI, this really isn't a concern anyway because he rides alone. But in Joe's case, of couse, Lori and his two cute little girls are of utmost concern. As usual, I appreciate your collective forensic knowledge and recognize it a the best in the world. Tommy (HI) FABI RPI 0051.

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Ormond Beach, Florida
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    Default Re: Vacuum Trips Breakers. Two homes Same Bldr?

    Quote Originally Posted by Tom McDonnell View Post
    they have several circuits where same occurs and lighting issues as well. They just go out.

    Tommy (HI) FABI RPI 0051.
    Tommy,

    In an effort to find out what city you were in, I searched the FABI site and could not find you listed.

    What part of Florida are you in?

    When you say the lights go out, and the lights are not recessed lights, you mean incandescent hanging fixtures, surface mounts, what type of fixtures?

    On your home "when he plugs in his vacuum, in his office, the circuit trips", have you taken amp readings at the conductor go to that breaker before you use the vacuum (i.e., 'normal conditions'), then have someone else turn the vacuum cleaner on while you are watching you clamp on ammeter?

    Curious as to whether it is an "overload" condition causing this. If so, that would provide your answer. If not, then ... do you plug the vacuum cleaner into the same receptacle outlet each time? Could it be something with that receptacle outlet causing a short or ground-fault?

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  3. #3
    Lee Nettnin's Avatar
    Lee Nettnin Guest

    Default Re: Vacuum Trips Breakers. Two homes Same Bldr?

    Hi Tom,
    Check to wattage of the light bulbs and make sure they are not over the recommended wattage for the fixture.
    Lee


  4. #4
    Ted Menelly's Avatar
    Ted Menelly Guest

    Default Re: Vacuum Trips Breakers. Two homes Same Bldr?

    Example

    A microwave might run on 10, 11, 12 amp. The start up is much greater. How many lights, receptacles, appliances are on these circuits. With a test on how much is being drawn on this circuit it may look fine. Again the start up of the 12 plus amp vacuum is more than likely much greater and all toll on the circuit at start up is much greater.

    Just a thought

    Ted


  5. #5
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    Mar 2007
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    Cool Re: Vacuum Trips Breakers. Two homes Same Bldr?

    Jerry

    I'm in Tampa or Land O Lakes. We've discussed First or 1929 elec code at a break. I'm the one who always is trying to bleed you for info because I respect you. I'll check wattages before and after Vaac plug in. I believe this is it. Fixtures are Florescent, Incandesent, and recessed. No commonality. It's wattage drop most likely. So now I need to figure the points that can be on the circuit and compare that. But wait, almost nothing is running on the circuit when HI plugs his vac in. That ain't right. Guys I don't know but I'll check it at joe and lori's.

    Lee
    Thank you. I thnk it might be overload or wattage. Only one LF (incandescant) on Hi's home. I don't know but thank you for your help. Stay with me on this. OK?

    Ted

    Thank you as well. Microwaves are not in use at time of trip, at least not in HI's home.

    Thanks all. I'll go to work on these thoughts.

    Tommy


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Vacuum Trips Breakers. Two homes Same Bldr?

    Tommy,

    If you have a clamp-on ammeter, check the amps in the circuit, the best place to check this is at the breaker because that breaker may supply things you don't know it does and all those things add up to tripping the breaker.

    Let us know what the current reading at the breaker is before the vacuum is turned on.

    Thanks, maybe that will help us help you.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
    Construction Litigation Consultants, LLC ( www.ConstructionLitigationConsultants.com )
    www.AskCodeMan.com

  7. #7
    Matthew Skowron's Avatar
    Matthew Skowron Guest

    Default Re: Vacuum Trips Breakers. Two homes Same Bldr?

    Was reading and didnt get an age of the home? Are there AFCI breakers installed if so have you tryed another vaccume? the other house same questions...there was some recalls on some types of AFCI breakers and also some counterfit ones as well. just a thought also the breakers if regular ones may have a recall or be defective. are they heating up if you touch them?

    Last edited by Matthew Skowron; 06-30-2008 at 10:05 AM. Reason: forgot to add some ?'s

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Dallas, Texas
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    Default Re: Vacuum Trips Breakers. Two homes Same Bldr?

    Bottom line (for me) is to determine the type of device that is tripping; standard breaker, AFCI, or GFCI. Standard breaker only regulates amperage flowing through, so nothing else needs to be considered. But each other type of breaker senses other conditions and those issues would need to be considered. I have seen GFCI protected outlet on the back side of a kitchen counter which the home owner used on a regular basis with an ancient "Kirby- (those things never wear out)" that tripped the GFCI. Recreate the situation that tripped the device with a meter in place.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Dallas, Texas

  9. #9
    Michael Greenwalt's Avatar
    Michael Greenwalt Guest

    Default Re: Vacuum Trips Breakers. Two homes Same Bldr?

    ummm,,,,have you checked the vacuum? Just a thought.


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Tampa, FL
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    Smile Re: Vacuum Trips Breakers. Two homes Same Bldr?

    Thanks to all for helping me this.

    Wattages, overload, breaker type, and the affected receptacles themselves are all possibilities.

    At this writing, I'm rulling out possible micro wattage draw and vacuum problems Problems are not on HI's micro circuit. Three vacs have caused condition and very improbable that all three are defective.

    Home ages are- HI's -2003. Joe & Lori's and family-2005.

    My next forensic Investigative actions will be to strap on my amp/volt meter and test. Re-test path to ground. Pull two receptacles, one that is affected and one that is not and compare the two.

    I guarantee you that I'm going to find it. And when I do, I'll report back to you all. Ani't it grand?

    Tom McDonnell
    Certified Home Inspectors, Inc.
    Direct-(813) 690-8319
    Office-(813) 996-3048


  11. #11
    Matthew Skowron's Avatar
    Matthew Skowron Guest

    Default Re: Vacuum Trips Breakers. Two homes Same Bldr?

    Home ages are- HI's -2003. Joe & Lori's and family-2005.
    I would REALLY look at a recall on the breaker for these time frames AND/OR a possable counterfit breaker.


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