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My Eaton dual function 20A breaker provides power to the gas stove outlet. It trips frequently, every 1.5 hours, after resetting and even if nothing is loaded.

I bought and installed a new one. I connected the hot wire to hot load, neutral wire to neutral load, and pigtail neutral wire to neutral bus bar as instructed. It trips immediately even if nothing is plugged in.

To troubleshoot, I unscrew all wires (2 hots, 2 neutrals, 1 ground) from the receptacle. There was paint on some parts of ground wires. The house was rebuilt 7 years ago. The new breaker still trips.

My last attempt is to remove the pigtail neutral wire from neutral bar (hot and neutral wires are still connected to the breaker). It did not trip this time, so I reconnect all wires to the receptacle and turn on the breaker. No tripping occurs but has no power at the outlet.

Any ideas what happened and how to fix it?

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  • 1
    Are you saying that you plugged your gas stove into a gfci circuit? Tripping is very common because many gas stove igniters can leak their arc to ground.
    – Matthew
    Jan 15 at 6:20
  • 1
    Are you able to extract the diagnostic code from the breaker after it trips? Jan 15 at 12:27
  • I don't see red light flashing after the breaker trips.
    – Tom Le
    Jan 15 at 17:08

2 Answers 2

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A GFCI/AFCI breaker watches for a difference between hot and neutral (ground fault, which is why neutral from the protected circuit goes to the breaker instead of the neutral bar) and for certain other things that can indicate an arc fault.

The exact troubleshooting process will vary a bit depending on the type of fault. Most GFCI/AFCI breakers have some way of determining whether the fault is GFCI (ground fault, which can be a problem between neutral and ground or a less-then-complete short between hot and ground), AFCI (lots of problems with wires) or a complete short circuit.

Connecting neutral to the breaker but not the pigtail to the neutral bar results in the circuit being incomplete. The pigtail is not only to power the breaker (a few mA) but primarily to complete the circuit. No pigtail = no neutral at the receptacle.

Trouble-shooting always needs to be one step at a time, working outward from the breaker.

  • Install the breaker with only the pigtail connected to the neutral bar (no wires connected to the protected circuit). If that doesn't work then you have a bad breaker or a serious problem with your panel.
  • Connect the hot and neutral wires from the circuit to the breaker. Confirm that there is a problem (because if there is no problem then you're all done.)
  • Find the first receptacle or device (light, fan, etc.) in the circuit. You have two hot and two neutral wires at the stove receptacle, so there is at least one other receptacle or device.
  • Identify which cable is from the panel. Turn off the breaker. Disconnect both cables and separate the wires. Turn on the breaker and use a non-contact voltage tester (NCVT) to see which wire is hot. If nothing is hot because the breaker tripped immediately then:
  • Disconnect the hot and neutral wires from the breaker. Connect them together with a wire nut. Go back to the first receptacle and use a multimeter to determine which cable has continuity between the black (hot) and white (neutral) wires - that is the cable to the panel.
  • Connect the wires back to the breaker (if disconnected). Connect only that cable to the receptacle. Turn on the breaker. If it trips then you either have a bad receptacle (easy to replace, get a $3 one with screw-to-clamp instead of a $1 one with regular screws, and never use backstabs) or a problem with the wires inside the walls - rodent or water damage.
  • If the circuit works with the receptacle connected, plug in a simple device (radio, lamp, etc.) and see if that circuit trips. If it does then there may be a wiring problem that is only seen under load - e.g., a neutral-ground short. If it does not trip then try the gas stove. If it trips when the stove is plugged in and/or when it is turned on and/or when it is used for a little while then the problem is most likely something inside the stove.
  • If everything is OK with the stove, then connect the other cable to the receptacle and repeat the troubleshooting process. Note that a gas stove circuit could serve several other receptacles in the kitchen, and possibly lights, exhaust fan or receptacles elsewhere in the house.

The key is to work through this one receptacle or device at a time.

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Check your gas stove's manual. My GE range expressly recommended against using a GFCI circuit. The dilemma is the 2023 NEC now requires GFCI protection on everything in the kitchen. The only workaround for my fridge dedicated 20 amp circuit was to use a single receptacle without GFCI and make the argument when you have to. (see Thread on this site) (no one is going to move the fridge away from the wall, unplug the fridge from the only receptacle and plug in their am radio temporarily! You may face a similar choice)

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