Around 6 months ago my bathroom breaker kept tripping, even with nothing plugged in. Sometimes it wouldn't trip for a day or two, and other times it would trip within hours of flipping it back on. I ended up replacing the breaker and everything has been fine since.

2 months ago, the same thing started happening to my upstairs kitchen refrigerator. Same scenario - it would trip at different time intervals. I replaced it and everything has been fine with it since then.

Now, my down stairs refrigerator is now doing the exact same thing (completely different circuit).

Does anyone know what is going on? Surely I don't need to replace this breaker as well only for another random one to behave in this way.

My panel is an Eaton, and the breakers I have are afci/gfci.

Any help would greatly be appreciated!

Edit to add: my house is only 3 years old.

  • A fast search seems to say they have a life span of 15 plus years(15 to 35 range).
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 15:13
  • I should have added: this is a new construction build and my house is about 3 year old.
    – Corey
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 15:16
  • 1
    Three newest breakers acting weird in a short time period would lead me to believe you might have gotten a defective batch, but more information is needed. Is the panel outside and what kind of weather do you get? If the panel is inside, is the humidity high in that area?
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 15:23
  • 2
    afci/gfci. Aha! When they trip, is the trip code (typically flashing lights or colored lights to tell you what type of trip) AFCI, GFCI or overcurrent? The process of diagnosis/repair will be different for each type of trip. Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 15:55
  • 1
    @manassehkatz-Moving2Codidact - thanks for the information! I googled a code diagram and will see what the led code says when it trips again. I didn't realize that was a thing, thanks!
    – Corey
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


A 3 year old Eaton breaker should have a little round button. If so, it will have a robust diagnostic display, shown either as a flashing LED, or there's a short procedure you do to get it to flash out the code. I strongly encourage you to google the model number of that breaker and find the installation instructions, and see what it says about getting the diagnostic readout.

For instance, in some cases of a house with good bonding and soil conditions, a "lost neutral" at the house can be really subtle, and not present obvious problems except during odd moments of extreme load on one phase. That will trigger high voltage on the other phase, and Eaton's newer breakers detect that.

Also, Make sure you are talking to Eaton support and not just forking out $50 for a new breaker everytime. We have many reports of Eaton cheerfully replacing those breakers, even when I suspect the problem is elsewhere.

  • I appreciate your response! I will wait for it to trip again and then see what the code is and follow up here once I do! Thanks again!
    – Corey
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 22:57
  • Can a home DIY test for a lost neutral in these conditions or would they need the power company/electrician with better(expensive) testers? Will the regular 0v neutral to ground test be enough?
    – crip659
    Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 23:10
  • @Corey you don't need to wait. You can go interrogate it right now if it supports those codes. It stores the reason for last trip indefinitely (though some will erase the code 2 hours after you manually query it; this varies because Eaton has been trying to figure out a good UX for this feature: store the code long enough to be useful but don't bother people with a code from 6 months ago (e.g. when it was tested at the factory). Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 23:14
  • 1
    @crip659 yeah, they need to voltmeter their two 120V legs. If they're lopsided 135/105, that's a lost neutral. If turning on a hair dryer makes this worse or better, that's a lost neutral. The best novice voltmeter is a Kill-A-Watt (useful for so much more). Commented Jul 4, 2023 at 23:16

Your Answer

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

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