This started happening last week. My Shark vacuum kept tripping my breaker. My wife smelled smoke coming from the vacuum so we assumed it had reached its end. I bought a new vacuum (same brand), thinking the problem would be fixed, but to no avail.

I've plugged it in everywhere in the house and it trips the different breakers. I plugged in other appliances, but they do not trip the breakers. I even plugged in an old Oreck vacuum, and it did not trip the breakers. Any thoughts?

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  • What's the nameplate rating of the vacuum? What size breakers are we talking about?
    – JACK
    Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 20:48
  • 1
    Do the breakers trip immediately when the vacuum is turned on, or do they take a little while to trip? Do they have TEST buttons on them? Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 22:49
  • They're 15s. The breakers trip immediately. they have test buttons on them and they trip when pushed, so they're working properly. Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 23:23
  • 120v, 60HZ, 10A on nameplate Commented Jun 6, 2020 at 23:26
  • 1
    Just tested the rest. Breakers 2 and 6 blink 5 times. All others 2 times. Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 22:40

2 Answers 2


In normal operation some electric motors like in vacuum cleaners can generate arcing that trips some arc fault breakers like yours. I have read that "newer" breakers are resistant to this but I have no experience.

You may need different or newer or better arc fault breakers. There are technical support numbers on the Eaton web site, maybe they can help you determine if they have a breaker that is compatible with your vacuum.

You may need to install one or two non-AF breakers for your vacuum.

  • This is a common issue with AF breakers and the reason many professionals think they should not have expanded beyond the original requirements for bed rooms to protect against electric blanket fires.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 19:46

I just moved in to a new house and have the same problem. I'd say it's not your vacuum, it’s lousy breakers from Eaton; they're good for commercial but not so good for residential. We had a problem with our brand new washing machine and electricians tried to tell me it was the unit. Funny, I ran an extension cord and it worked. The breaker flashed 6 times, I told him change it out. It was a bad breaker right out of the box, not like Seimen or Square D. Check the anode and make sure all the breakers are seated and all connections are tight.

I forgot to mention: go to Eaton's website and they will tell you what the flashing light code means, it goes from 1 blink to 6 and then you can go back and check what kind of fault you have.

  • 2
    Please edit this to apply proper punctuation to make sentences. It appears that your fingers maybe moved a bit too fast and applied some random punctuation. Also, you've got the makings of an answer in here, but it reads more as a story at the moment. Now that you've taken the tour, you'll know that we're looking for specific answers, not your standard forum running commentary...
    – FreeMan
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 14:44

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