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I have a BedJet device that I run at night that keeps tripping the ARC-fault breaker in my bedroom after about 30 minutes of running nearly 70% of time (other times it works just fine). I have tried moving it around to another circuit (also AFCI) but it trips there as well.

I contacted the manufacture and they said that ARC-fault breakers are just sensitive and I should have it replaced with a non-ARC fault breaker. I also was thinking of buying a surge suppressor to see if that stops it from tripping. Could this potentially be dangerous? I don't want to increase the risk of a fire if something is indeed wrong with the device.

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    If a manufacturer told me to replace a required AFCI breaker with a non-AFCI breaker, I'd return their product (expecting a full refund) and take my business to a competitor who makes a compliant product. I'd also find out if it was the companies policy to recommend such a modification, or if it was the advice of a rouge employee. In either case I'd file a formal complaint against the employee, or the business. – Tester101 Mar 30 '16 at 12:51
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    Does the breaker indicate whether it's tripping due to overload, or arc-fault? Is it a 15, or 20 ampere breaker? Reading through BedJet documentation, it looks like these things may draw over 1500 watts (12.8 amperes for model 1222NA). – Tester101 Mar 30 '16 at 13:13
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    I'd be surprised if a surge protector did the slightest good, it solves a different problem than either of the two solved by an AFCI breaker. The surge protector prevents high voltage from something like a lightening strike nearby from damaging your electronic devices (incoming voltage spike). The AFCI detects arcing in the electrical lines, which would be highly dangerous (fire risk). And the breaker half of the AFCI detects excessive current usage, which would result in the wiring inside the walls overheating, melting insulation, and again, starting a fire. Seems like a smart code to me. – BMitch Mar 30 '16 at 14:01
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    @CarlWitthoft Modern AFCI devices are quite intelligent, and should handle most properly designed equipment. Most manufacturers understand AFCIs, and can take steps to reduce or eliminate nuisance tripping. – Tester101 Mar 30 '16 at 14:02
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    @CarlWitthoft Maybe recommend upgrading to a newer AFCI, but recommending the removal of AFCI protection is negligent. I know loads of people who live in new homes, and they all vacuum without tripping breakers. – Tester101 Mar 30 '16 at 15:41
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we are the manufacturer of this device. We've never recommended to a customer to replace an AFCI with a non-AFCI breaker. What we recommended is simply to get your AFCI circuit breaker replaced with a new AFCI. Our BedJet is in 9000 bedrooms and we've had a total of 3 customers experience issues with an AFCI breakers flipping. In every case changing it to a new one fixed the problem, which means the AFCI was faulty or too sensitive. In my own home with new wiring my Dyson vacuum cleaner flipped our breaker in the bedroom all the time until we had it replaced. It seems the consistency of these AFCI's is not very good.

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Read the MFG sheet on your AFCI you will find out that they cannot tell the difference between a high harmonic load like a dimmer and an arc fault. Your pumps have speed controllers and probably are the cause. My state exempts AFCI for this situation. Verify your local code and ask for an exemption if there is not one. You may end up being required to pull a dedicated circuit with GFCI protection.

  • A dedicated circuit for a cord connected bed heater? You'd probably have to label it, use a special plug, or something so you can't connect anything other than the heater – Tester101 Mar 30 '16 at 15:44
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    Sound like cheap AFCIs. An AFCI depends on software doing signal analysis to distinguish arcs from routine load switching. Like encryption or Bitcoin mining, CPU power and algorithms evolve rapidly. That leaves an opening in the marketplace for "too cheap to license good tech", builder-grade junk only meant to get the closing papers signed. – Harper Mar 30 '16 at 16:22
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    These are not cheap or knock off brands they are Eaton and square D. Their spec sheets show that with dimmers and a moderately loaded circuit they may trip especially as they are loaded in the 12A range. The NEC is pushing for them before there are really good ones available. The same happened with GFCI's they were total Junk for the first few years and many home owners removed them. I expect the same to happen unless they come up with models that work better. – Ed Beal Mar 30 '16 at 17:16
  • @EdBeal I think AFCI technology is maturing quite rapidly. Where UL requires AFCIs to hold with less than 1000 watts of dimmed load, newer devices that hold at 2000 watts of dimmed load are available. However, as with GFCIs, the manufacturers making equipment that connects to these circuits, need to do their best to design devices that reduce nuisance tripping. You can't blame it all on AFCI manufacturers, especially when the technology has been around this long. – Tester101 Mar 30 '16 at 17:51
  • AFCI have been in development since the 90's. If a device is on a 20A circuit it should hold the full rated load. The standard is tungsten not the newer LED and Florescent lamps. These have switching supply's that generate a very high harmonic that looks like an arc fault so it is not really an apple to apple comparison. Variable speed motor controls are even worse since they draw high currents. For this reason the state of Oregon has several exemptions per ORS 918 table 1E, not required for optional dedicated outlets that supply equipment known to trip AFCI. Out of room but there are more. – Ed Beal Mar 30 '16 at 18:55

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