Causes and Fixes for Nuisance Tripping at an AFCI

An arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) is a circuit breaker that responds to electrical arcs resulting from loose wiring connections by breaking the circuit. The fact is that electrical fires are a major but all-too-common hazard that result in $1.3 billion in losses annually. A functional circuit breaker will drastically reduce the odds of an electrical fire occurring at your home.

A nuisance tripping AFCI is a frequent problem. It could also be a sign of something worse going on. Read on to find out how to prevent this nuisance tripping.

Wiring problems

There are a couple of common wiring issues that could result in nuisance tripping. When AFCI circuit breakers are installed, the wiring needs to be done a bit differently, but it was common for electrical technicians to install them the same way. At the time of installation, it would appear to be fine, but down the line, improper wiring will cause nuisance tripping AFCI.

Another potential issue is related to incompatibility with multi-wire circuits. A licensed professional technician will be able to get to the root of the problem and identify a solution.

Circuit overloads

This is a leading cause for circuit board tripping. When the draw on electricity exceeds the actual capacity of the circuit, then the circuit breaker will trip. For example, if you’re trying to use a waffle maker, a coffee maker and a microwave in a kitchen, you might trip your circuit breaker. Also, old appliances tend to have higher power draws that could cause the circuit to overload. Watch out—overloading the circuits can be dangerous if not addressed.

Frayed wires

If you’re having consistent problems with nuisance tripping, it’s a smart idea to check all your wires. Wires aren’t immune to wear and tear, so check them frequently. Frayed, damaged or melted wires often lead to circuits tripping and can create very hazardous conditions.

Arc fault

AFCI breakers are a relatively recent addition to the country’s electrical codes. These breakers will trip whenever an electrical spark or arc is found in a wire. Arcs occur in the early stages of an electrical issue. This means the AFCI breakers will shut down the circuit before degradation leads to a dangerous situation. AFCI technology has been required on new construction since 1999.

Incompatible devices

An AFCI prevents electrical fires via detecting electrical arcs and tries to differentiate normal arcs from those that could cause a fire. But this isn’t quite perfect—there are some devices that the AFCI board may think are dangerous that are actually fine. Some devices that are common problems in compatibility with AFCI are TVs, fluorescent lights and treadmills.

We hope this guide on how to prevent nuisance tripping is helpful. Are you looking for a high-quality electrical contractor? Turn to the licensed professionals at Ham’s Electric Inc. For more than three decades, we’ve provided electrical services to our loyal customers, and we offer 24-hour emergency services to keep your facility’s electrical supply flowing. Contact us today to learn more about our services.