First time posting.

I'm doing some upgrades to our house electrical. We live in a 1950s home. An electrician recommended I replace the old breakers on ungrounded circuits off the house sub-panel with combination GFCI/AFCI breakers. Here are the ones I've purchased: http://w3.usa.siemens.com/powerdistribution/us/en/product-portfolio/circuit-breakers/residential-circuit-breakers/Pages/Dual-Function.aspx. We have a mix of 15A and 20A breakers.

Generally, I haven't had any issues replacing the breakers. I've done several and they all work as expected. However, one breaker slot on the sub-panel is behaving strangely. The slot works as expected with the old breaker. But when replacing the old breaker with the new GFCI breaker, it won't flip into the ON position. It seems that nothing is wrong with the new breaker itself: two new breakers of the same type exhibit the same behavior in that slot, but work as expected in another slot. The instructions that come with the new breaker suggest this issue happens when no power is getting to it, but that doesn't make sense to me since the old breaker works fine in that position.

To be clear, the new breaker doesn't appear to be tripping. It never is able to switch on to begin with.

Does this ring any bells? Any troubleshooting tips appreciated.

EDIT: I was using Seimans Breakers when I should have been using GE Breakers approved for use in my particular panel. After replacing with the correct type of breakers, everything works as expected in all the original positions.

1 Answer 1


Sounds like a ground fault or arc fault is being detected on the circuit, remove the load and see if it will turn on. If it turns on without the load connected you have a problem on that branch circuit. Make sure if you install 3 prong outlets to label them GFCI protected no equipment ground.

  • 1
    Yes, you could also try moving that branch circuit's hot+neutral to a GFCI that is in a different breaker space. Jan 26, 2018 at 19:17
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    Good suggestions, will attempt later today and update. Thanks!
    – Nathan G
    Jan 26, 2018 at 19:45
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    So I moved the breaker and the circuit's neutral and hot to a different position and everything is working as expected. What could that mean about that other position?
    – Nathan G
    Jan 26, 2018 at 23:43
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    I have not had this problem on a Siemens panel , can you remove the bkr and take a photo of the contacts that connect to the breaker. I have seen problems with older brands no longer available but not with this brand. The only thing I can think of is a eroded or damaged contact area could cause an AFCI to trip.
    – Ed Beal
    Jan 27, 2018 at 1:31
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    Happy to report that with the correct breakers installed, everything is working as expected in all of the original positions. Woohoo. Thanks for your help.
    – Nathan G
    Feb 3, 2018 at 1:34

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