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Thread: Electrical

  1. #1
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    Default Electrical

    Have a new home and it has served as a model for 2 years....In the master bedroom the breaker will trip in the middle of the night and to my knowledge there is no electrical activity going on... what could be the cause?

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    Default Re: Electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross Boyes View Post
    Have a new home and it has served as a model for 2 years....In the master bedroom the breaker will trip in the middle of the night and to my knowledge there is no electrical activity going on... what could be the cause?
    With a former model home it could be just about anything. Model homes tend to have more problems simply because they were the first and in some cases problems were worked out with the model so they would not be in the other homes. Also many things are covered over or changed so that they can put in an office, etc...

    Hire a good home inspector or an electrician if the breaker is your only issue that you know of.

    The breaker is tripping because that is what is suppose to do when it detects a problem. Also the breaker could be bad and just needs to be replaced, but that is not all that common.

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

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    Default Re: Electrical

    Does it only trip in the middle of the night, or does it trip at other times as well?

    Michael Thomas
    Paragon Property Services Inc., Chicago IL
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    Default Re: Electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by Michael Thomas View Post
    Does it only trip in the middle of the night, or does it trip at other times as well?
    Well it has only done it 3 times and one was in the middle of the night some time....... other times not sure ...you go in to turn the light on and it doesn't work ....... you find the breaker tripped....I have owned the house for 11 months....shouldn't have to hire an electrician on a new home...should there not be some recourse.......if so I want to have some idea of the problem .....could it be a loose connection somewhere on that circuuit?......


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    Default Re: Electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross Boyes View Post
    Well it has only done it 3 times and one was in the middle of the night some time....... other times not sure ...you go in to turn the light on and it doesn't work ....... you find the breaker tripped....I have owned the house for 11 months....shouldn't have to hire an electrician on a new home...should there not be some recourse.......if so I want to have some idea of the problem .....could it be a loose connection somewhere on that circuuit?......
    Do you have ARC Fault breakers ?

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
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    Default Re: Electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Harris View Post
    Do you have ARC Fault breakers ?

    not sure but the breker says a "Branch Type AFCI Breaker"....does tell you?


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    Default Re: Electrical

    Not trying to be mean here, but given the level of your questions and answers: you really should have an electrician/qualified person look at this issue if you want it solved.

    I know it is your new home, but that is the reality of it.

    I know, it sucks. Sorry dude.


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    Default Re: Electrical

    Yes, that is an arc fault breaker "AFCI" is Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter.
    This is a safety device designed to prevent house fires from Arcs (sparks) in the wiring or devices connected to the circuit such as a frayed cord. The repeated tripping means you have a problem, get an electrician to check it out. If you are still under warranty then call them or get your own but don't delay and don't keep resetting the breaker. Once or twice is an anomaly, but this is a pattern that needs investigation.

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Electrical

    Your problem is AFCI circuit breakers. The technology is way behind the manufacturers lobbying efforts and approval for use. AFCI circuit breakers are experiencing the same issues that GFCI circuit breakers did in their infancy - - - nuisance tripping. The only legal advice I could offer is to have it checked by a pro. Personally; I would replace it w/ a normal or GFCI C/B until the technology is more reliable. I look forward to circuit breakers that will trip before the sky falls on us.


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    Default Re: Electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    Your problem is AFCI circuit breakers. The technology is way behind the manufacturers lobbying efforts and approval for use. AFCI circuit breakers are experiencing the same issues that GFCI circuit breakers did in their infancy - - - nuisance tripping. The only legal advice I could offer is to have it checked by a pro. Personally; I would replace it w/ a normal or GFCI C/B until the technology is more reliable. I look forward to circuit breakers that will trip before the sky falls on us.
    So, you can automatically say it is a faulty AFCI breaker?

    Ya know that AFCI breakers also trip on overcurrent and GFP, not to be confused with GFCI,, not just arcs?

    Replacing the AFCI with a standard or GFCI breaker is a violation-you should know that.


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    Default Re: Electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    Your problem is AFCI circuit breakers. The technology is way behind the manufacturers lobbying efforts and approval for use. AFCI circuit breakers are experiencing the same issues that GFCI circuit breakers did in their infancy - - - nuisance tripping. The only legal advice I could offer is to have it checked by a pro. Personally; I would replace it w/ a normal or GFCI C/B until the technology is more reliable. I look forward to circuit breakers that will trip before the sky falls on us.
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Guridi View Post
    So, you can automatically say it is a faulty AFCI breaker?

    Ya know that AFCI breakers also trip on overcurrent and GFP, not to be confused with GFCI,, not just arcs?

    Replacing the AFCI with a standard or GFCI breaker is a violation-you should know that.
    And recommending replacing it with a non-AFCI breaker without first actually investigating what is going on with the circuit is ... well ... idiotic at best.

    Kind of like amputating your leg because it hurts when you walk ... instead of first checking to see if there is a stone in your shoe.

    Jerry Peck, Construction / Litigation Consultant
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    Default Re: Electrical

    11 month old house should have a warranty in which case you need to call the builder. If it doesn't you likely bought it as a bank owned at a great discount and these are the types of things that come up that you are on the hook for.

    The most logical step is to just replace the CB. FWIW, I wired an addition in my own house a few years ago and the AFCIs tripped a couple times for no apparent reason. I reset them and kept a close eye one things (made sure the smoke alarms were working ) Thinking about it after reading your post it's been at least 2 years and they haven't tripped again. AFCIs have had some growing pains... I'd consider them overall minor.


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    Default Re: Electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by Jerry Peck View Post
    And recommending replacing it with a non-AFCI breaker without first actually investigating what is going on with the circuit is ... well ... idiotic at best.
    .
    Heck that was a common thing I found on new/1 yr warranty inspections a few years ago.

    When I noticed the home didn't have ARC faults on some of the bedroom circuits I asked the home owner if they had problems with power in some of the bedrooms. The answer was almost always yes but the builders electrican said he fixed it by installing a regular breaker.

    Phoenix AZ Resale Home, Mobile Home, New Home Warranty Inspections. ASHI Certified Inspector #206929 Arizona Certified Inspector # 38440
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Electrical

    "Replacing the AFCI with a standard or GFCI breaker is a violation-you should know that." "And recommending replacing it with a non-AFCI breaker without first actually investigating what is going on with the circuit is ... well ... idiotic at best."

    You guys need some glasses. The post you refer to first said "The only legal advice I could offer is to have it checked by a pro." I said I would "personally" get rid of it. I have in my own home, ( please don't give me up ), and I would again for the reasons I specified. I do not know for sure what the warranty period would be, but usually one year. After that you pay the electrician to keep replacing those mal-functioning circuit breakers. The technology is not there yet. Close, but not there. How ever did we all make it to the ages we have achieved w/o AFCI circuit breakers ? A miracle we should all give thanks for.


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    Default Re: Electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross Boyes View Post
    I have owned the house for 11 months....shouldn't have to hire an electrician on a new home...should there not be some recourse.......if so I want to have some idea of the problem .....could it be a loose connection somewhere on that circuuit?......
    Call the builder now before your 1 year warranty period expires. Check whatever lamps or devices are plugged into that circuit for starters.

    In Canada, AFCI's are required on bedroom circuits only, starting about 2006.
    Yes, it could be a loose wire. The breaker could be overly sensitive, or it might be detecting a fault.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Luttrall View Post
    Yes, that is an arc fault breaker "AFCI" is Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter.
    This is a safety device designed to prevent house fires from Arcs (sparks) in the wiring or devices connected to the circuit such as a frayed cord. The repeated tripping means you have a problem, get an electrician to check it out. If you are still under warranty then call them or get your own but don't delay and don't keep resetting the breaker. Once or twice is an anomaly, but this is a pattern that needs investigation.
    Best answer so far.

    Well, Scott was right on, too, of course.

    PS, Maybe a drywall screw nicked a wire. The AFCI might be detecting that, where you may be convinced nothing's wrong with the circuit.

    Last edited by John Kogel; 06-20-2012 at 03:33 PM.
    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

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    Default Re: Electrical

    Killing the messenger (AFCI Breaker) is seldom wise.
    Have an electrician check the connections and wiring. You may just have the type of fault that the breaker is intended to react to.
    I tell clients that the AFCI is there to protect them from fire and the GFCI is there to protect them from shocks.


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    "Replacing the AFCI with a standard or GFCI breaker is a violation-you should know that." "And recommending replacing it with a non-AFCI breaker without first actually investigating what is going on with the circuit is ... well ... idiotic at best."

    You guys need some glasses. The post you refer to first said "The only legal advice I could offer is to have it checked by a pro." I said I would "personally" get rid of it. I have in my own home, ( please don't give me up ), and I would again for the reasons I specified. I do not know for sure what the warranty period would be, but usually one year. After that you pay the electrician to keep replacing those mal-functioning circuit breakers. The technology is not there yet. Close, but not there. How ever did we all make it to the ages we have achieved w/o AFCI circuit breakers ? A miracle we should all give thanks for.
    The problem is this, this what you wrote:

    Your problem is AFCI circuit breakers. The technology is way behind the manufacturers lobbying efforts and approval for use. AFCI circuit breakers are experiencing the same issues that GFCI circuit breakers did in their infancy - - - nuisance tripping. The only legal advice I could offer is to have it checked by a pro. Personally; I would replace it w/ a normal or GFCI C/B until the technology is more reliable. I look forward to circuit breakers that will trip before the sky falls on us.
    This what an average HO or DIYer sees:

    Your problem is AFCI circuit breakers..... I would replace it w/ a normal C/B.....
    See my point?


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Guridi View Post
    The problem is this, this what you wrote:

    This what an average HO or DIYer sees:

    See my point?
    No. How do you know what anyone is going to selectively pluck out as take home info. I think it is important for people to know that these circuit breakers have an unreliable history. Hopefully; it is some comfort to the OP that his mystery has a likely history. How to go forward with that knowledge is fortunately his decision to make. There are limits to what Big Brother can protect us from. Next are mandatory sprinkler systems,, ( can't wait to test all those sprinkler heads to insure they are functioning properly ), mandatory emergency power for all your life safety systems, back-up for the back-up, followed by the falling sky circuit breakers I earlier mentioned. I believe AFCI circuit breakers are more about money than safety, but they are now the law, so I defer to a licensed Pro.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    No. How do you know what anyone is going to selectively pluck out as take home info. I think it is important for people to know that these circuit breakers have an unreliable history. Hopefully; it is some comfort to the OP that his mystery has a likely history..
    After over 20 years in this business, I can tell that in general, people selectively hear, read, and see what they want to: not what was said, written, or portrayed.

    I have learned to just present the facts and keep opinions out of it.

    Stating that AFCI breakers have been problematic is fine, it is a fact, and that is fine. Saying you swapped it out in your house, a violation, implies that that would be okay.

    I have many issues with AFCIs as an electrician, but I just have to deal with it.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Guridi View Post
    After over 20 years in this business, I can tell that in general, people selectively hear, read, and see what they want to: not what was said, written, or portrayed.

    I have learned to just present the facts and keep opinions out of it.

    Stating that AFCI breakers have been problematic is fine, it is a fact, and that is fine. Saying you swapped it out in your house, a violation, implies that that would be okay.

    I have many issues with AFCIs as an electrician, but I just have to deal with it.
    Copy that Derek. In my case I built and wired a bungalow for my Mom. I do not mix lighting and receptacle circuits because I want to know any receptacle overload is likely whatever is/was plugged in and I use only 20 amp wire for receptacle circuits, ( 15 is just not enough w/ today's loads ). The 14ga wire I use exclusively for lighting loads or dedicated circuit loads like a disposal because it's easier to work on a ladder splicing in light fixtures, smoke detectors, etc and easire splicing up three & four way switching. Her bedroom has one isolated circuit on an AFCI for all the receptacles. The bedroom ceiling circ fan / light fixture was on a lighting circuit. Inspector made me put an AFCI breaker on that circuit because it was a "bedroom outlet". The breaker kept tripping and after trying another w/ the same results I ditched the AFCI. All the bedroom receptacles are still AFCI protected - - - one bedroom lighting "outlet" is not.


  21. #21
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    Default Re: Electrical

    Quote Originally Posted by Ross Boyes View Post
    Well it has only done it 3 times and one was in the middle of the night some time....... other times not sure ...you go in to turn the light on and it doesn't work ....... you find the breaker tripped....I have owned the house for 11 months....shouldn't have to hire an electrician on a new home...should there not be some recourse.......if so I want to have some idea of the problem .....could it be a loose connection somewhere on that circuuit?......
    If your having electrical problems it doesn't matter the age of the home. Its far better to hire an electrician now, than after the fire.

    Rick Hurst


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    Default Re: Electrical

    Incidents/Injuries: Thomas Lighting has received 11 reports of defective fixtures which resulted in the home's Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) tripping. No injuries have been reported to the firm.

    Ceiling Mounted Light Fixtures Recalled by Thomas Lighting Due to Fire and Shock Hazards, Ceiling Mounted Light Fixtures Recalled by Thomas Lighting Due to Fire and Shock Hazards

    come off a few $$$ & consult a qualified electrician

    badair http://www.adairinspection.com Garland, TX 75042 TREC # 4563
    Commercial-Residential-Construction-EIFS-Infrared Thermography
    life is the random lottery of events followed by numerous narrow escapes

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