I just changed out eight 15 amp receptacles that were all horribly backstabbed. Now when I have the ceiling lights on and plug in TV and/or sound system it trips the new afci/gfci breaker for the living room. Entire room is on one breaker for lights, receptacles, outside light and gfi by the door. I don’t think it’s overloaded. One switch is a switched outlet. Might go back to remove the tab on that receptacle. But any advise would be great.

  • 2
    Changing back stabs to to screws is good, changing the receptacles probably not needed. What is the breaker saying the problem is? AFCI problem or GFCI problem? Should have lights saying. If tab was removed before, it should be removed now, but single breaker might not matter, two breakers(MWBC) it will.
    – crip659
    Commented Feb 24 at 21:16
  • If you replaced an outlet that previously had the tab removed and didn’t remove the tab, that is very likely the reason for the trip.
    – DoxyLover
    Commented Feb 24 at 23:05
  • What make and model is the breaker, and can you pull trip codes from it? Commented Feb 25 at 1:01

2 Answers 2


There are several reasons a GFCI circuit could trip when something is plugged in, even if there's nothing wrong with the appliance.

A GFCI expects to see exactly the same current in the hot and neutral wires. If they aren't for any reason, it trips.

  • Neutral-ground fault. An accidental short between neutral and ground means that some current returns through the ground and not the neutral, tripping the GFCI.
  • Neutral-neutral fault. If two neutrals are accidentally joined, then some current returns through the wrong one, tripping the GFCI.
  • GFCI on multi wire branch circuit. Installing a GFCI on a MWBC requires sime care, as both hots will return current through the shared neutral. See Installing GFCI outlets in multiwire branch circuit

You'd have to ask the breaker. Most breakers have a procedure for reading out whether the trip is for AFCI, GFCI, overcurrent or short circuit. Google up the breaker instructions and see.

Historically the narrative was backstabs bad, side screws good, but this does not include recent science about the importance of torquing terminals to spec, and trade show testing that showed electricians do not, in fact, have calibrated arms and can't set torques any more accurately than their spouses lol.

So, you say the TV did not trip the AFCI before? One possibility being a loose terminal causing arcing.

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