Hey this is less of a question than a problem I was able to trouble shoot, but I have a feeling other people might be going through the same situation and might have come up with other solutions to add.

I have a newly built home in southern Ontario and I purchased a LG washing machine. After only a few days the breaker started to trip. It's a Siemans combination arc fault and GFI breaker. Unfortunately it started to trip more and more. I thought it might be a faulty breaker so I plugged it into a different line, which had the same type of breaker and it started to trip too. It turns out that my washroom has an old style breaker so I plugged it in there and the machine worked fine. After a little research on how sensitive arc fault breakers are I talked to a friend of mine who happened to have an identical machine in a new home that wasn't tripping his arc fault breaker (also a siemans). He sent me a picture and there was a subtle difference.

His breaker had a small sticker with N on it and only had one light. Mine had a green and black sticker with two lights. I thought my builder had cheaped out, but it turns out his are the cheaper breakers and the breaker doesn't have the built in GFI (which is what the second light is for).

It turns out the machine is not compatible with the dual breaker and I was able to test it on a plug I have for my boiler that has the arc fault breaker with the N and only one light. It worked, what I need to do is put the cheaper breaker in (the one without the GFI light) and then install a GFI plug in the laundry room in order to meet code.

I tried to insert a photo, but it wouldn't let me, but here is a link to a picture of the breaker that worked. In the photo there is no N sticker, but at homedepot the breaker costs $92 and has the small N sticker (the more expensive one has two lights $150 and the green sticker).


The breakers on amazon were a lot cheaper, but I wanted to see it before I bought it.

However, of maybe more interest is that I can't shut my panel down and have to go through my builder to make the appropriate changes and before I discovered which breaker I needed I ordered a serious surge suppressor from amazon in the hopes it might help. Everything I read on the net said surge protection won't help with nuisance trips, but what I found is that a real Surge suppressor (about $80 and up on amazon) has transistors that regulate surges. Those transistors should work both ways and it turns out in my case they do. Since I started using the surge suppressor the machine hasn't tripped the original breaker. Here is a link to a similar one (the price seems to have gone up)


I think this could help a lot of people who need a temporary or quick fix to a new appliance tripping a sensitive arc fault and it's something you can try for under a hundred dollars.

I'm wondering if anyone else has had a similar experience with surge suppressors?

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    I'd be cautious of getting any breakers on Amazon. – JACK Sep 23 '19 at 16:05
  • Might be best to write this up in the Question/Answer format so that the question can be marked off as answered, etc. and it fits in with how things work here better. – Greg Nickoloff Sep 23 '19 at 16:08
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    Specifically, Amazon has a huge problem with counterfeit products. Not even buying directly from Amazon, as opposed to a seller on Amazon, is safe, because they tend to co-mingle their products. – user3757614 Sep 23 '19 at 16:09
  • Welcome to the world of AFCI. These breakers have problems with motor loads, they also have problems with speed controllers or anything that changes the waveform creating harmonics, I am in the US and my state has an exemption to our national code that allows devices or loads that cause unwanted tripping to change to a standard breaker. As far as a surge suppressor they limit spikes caused by the motor and may help but if the device was working properly it should detect the spikes because they have to travel through the breaker to the suppressor. – Ed Beal Sep 23 '19 at 17:43
  • If you don't yet know how to spot the difference between an AFCI trip and a GFCI trip, I would hold off on buying any products until you have climbed the learning curve a bit more. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Sep 23 '19 at 20:17

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