I have four upstairs bedrooms with each bedroom running off an Eaton 20 Amp Arc Fault Breaker. When my 12 Amp vacuum cleaner is plugged into any outlet in three of the bedrooms, it works just fine. However, when plugged into an outlet in the master bedroom, the breaker trips immediately. After several hours of troubleshooting, here is what I have done: 1. Isolate the outlet that is the first one in series from the breaker box from all the other switches and outlets in the master bedroom. I've inspected the wires and replaced the outlet with a new one. 2. I swapped out the current breaker with one from the other bedrooms that works fine with the vacuum -- it still tripped the breaker immediately. 3. I purchased a new Eaton 20 Amp Arc Fault Breaker and same thing --- trips immediately. I'm at a loss...what could I possibly do next?

  • 1
    Turn the breaker OFF, then hold TEST while turning it back ON, and count how many times it blinks the indicator LED at you. Post that number of flashes here -- it's a diagnostic code that can be used to ID why the breaker tripped. Mar 5, 2017 at 4:55
  • I did exactly what you told me to do and when I hold the TEST button down while turning it back on...it will not come back on. It stays tripped. However, when I turn it back on without holding the TEST button....it resets/turns on.
    – Phil
    Mar 5, 2017 at 5:08
  • Is it a type BR or a type CH breaker? Mar 5, 2017 at 5:15
  • It is Type CHAF
    – Phil
    Mar 5, 2017 at 5:17
  • 1
    ...get a CHCAF and swap it for the CHAF for the master bedroom, then try the vacuum again. (Your house was built during a transition period in the Code -- in current Code, branch/feeder AFCIs such as the CHAF can't be used standalone. Only a combination AFCI such as the CHCAF can be used by itself -- a branch/feeder AFCI requires supplemental protection in the form of an outlet branch circuit AFCI to be Code legal nowadays) Mar 5, 2017 at 5:23

1 Answer 1


Honestly, with these kinds of protective-device trips, the problem is often exactly what says on the tin.

An AFCI breaker is designed to look for arc faults, principally in the building wiring. You've swapped breakers around, the problem does not move with the vacuum, it does not move with the breakers, it has stayed with the bedroom. Occam's Razor: it's in the bedroom wiring.

Since wiring problems are almost always at wire ends or devices, I'd preemptively swap every receptacle with a nice contractor grade screw-and-clamp type.

  • So you are telling me the wiring from the breaker to the first outlet in series is faulty? Remember, I stated that I have disconnected every outlet, light switch on that particular circuit breaker except the one.
    – Phil
    Mar 5, 2017 at 6:32
  • I've inspected the wires on the breaker and in the receptacle box...all look brand new...no marred wires, etc. And I did replace the outlet with a brand new one.
    – Phil
    Mar 5, 2017 at 6:35
  • How are the wires connected to the outlet? Back stabs look good from the outside but could be the cause. How many other things are on the same circuit I know I usually put more lighting fixtures in masters if the lights are on the same circuit this could really be causing a over current situation and the breaker is doing its job.
    – Ed Beal
    Mar 9, 2018 at 19:07

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.