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I recently had my basement remodeled by a general contractor. This included a bathroom, family room, wet bar, and home theater. The electrician added 4 circuits in total, all of them using arc fault breakers from GE. I've had lots of trouble with the breakers tripping, seemingly unrelated to the circuit's load. Replacing one of the AFCI breakers with an older style GFCI breaker makes the problem go away, though this isn't a long term solution since the electrical code where I live says we need AFCI breakers for remodeling work.

My electrician has contacted GE and says they are aware of problems with their AFCI breakers and are working on a revised design. Has anyone else had trouble with GE breakers? These breakers are installed in a GE panel.

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GFCI and AFCI are completely different things, but the reasoning behind the GFCI is just to check if there is a ground fault instead of an arc fault. Like you said it's not a long term solution. I take it that it is a GE panel these are going in. If not a GE panel, try matching the panel with the breakers. –  lqlarry Mar 19 '12 at 1:01
@lqlarry yes this is a GE panel. My electrician claims he has not had trouble with other vendor's AFCI breakers such as SquareD. Just problems with these GE breakers. –  Sam Miller Mar 19 '12 at 2:29
The "official" place to report false tripping is afcisafety.org/report.html –  Bryce Feb 16 at 22:19

1 Answer 1

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Your electrician could add a SquareD sub panel that would have the four SquareD AFCI breakers, fed from the GE panel with a standard two pole breaker.

AFCI breakers can be sensitive to certain loads. I've experienced problems with florescent lighting, power tools, and vacuum cleaners tripping the breaker.

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In 2yrs I've never had a nuisance trip with Square D AFCI's –  Steve Mar 19 '12 at 13:15
@Steven - I edited my answer, specifically I have found tripping with vacuum cleaners and florescent lighting. I've seen this with Square D and other brands. I'm not saying Square D is garbage, I still think they are top notch. I believe it is a flaw with all AFCI's . –  SteveR Mar 19 '12 at 17:06
I guess there is a fine line between "flaw" and "your house is burning down" :) My point was more so that I don't think nuisance trips should be expected frequently regardless of brand. –  Steve Mar 19 '12 at 17:16
@Steven - I agree, my original answer was to broad:) –  SteveR Mar 19 '12 at 17:30

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