Breaker #4 in the picture is wired to my kitchen lights and living room outlets. It keeps tripping every few days. I thought maybe we overloaded our living room at first, but it tripped this morning with only lights and TV on.

Now I'm thinking it might be a bad breaker, but when I went to Home Depot to buy another one, there were no Square D breakers with that little white button on top.

enter image description here

  • 1
    It looks like it might be a GFCI, AFCI or combo breaker. with the panel cover off, is there a white wire coming directly out of the base of the breaker?
    – bib
    Mar 24, 2017 at 20:36
  • 3
    The arc-fault breakers are in individual packaging and are much more expensive than regular breakers, which may be why you didn't notice them. They're required in new construction, so HD certainly stocks them. It's unlikely that you have a bad breaker. Some device is probably arcing current to the neutral.
    – isherwood
    Mar 24, 2017 at 20:52
  • @isherwood Some device is probably dropping current to the neutral. What does this mean?
    – Adam Johns
    Mar 24, 2017 at 20:53
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    @DragonYen -- that's a QO in the picture, not a HOM Mar 24, 2017 at 22:14

1 Answer 1


That is a Square D QO series breaker. The one in question is an AFCI, or arc-fault breaker.

The early incarnations of QO AFCIs had some issues. There were blue, green, purple and I believe another color "test" buttons. How old is this breaker? An AFCI can trip due to electrical "noise" on the line, motor brushes like in vacuums, etc, any kind of arcing or sparking in the circuit, frayed cords, and more.

Here is a good troubleshooting guide for AFCI breakers right from Square D: http://static.schneider-electric.us/docs/Circuit%20Protection/Miniature%20Circuit%20Breakers/Arc%20Fault%20Circuit%20Interrupters-AFCI/0760DB0204.pdf

Also, more from Square D: http://www.schneider-electric.us/en/faqs/FA125415/

Here is another very good answer to the same question: https://diy.stackexchange.com/a/74242/19875

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