Nearly all of the GFCI and ARC Fault breakers trip when power returns after an outage . This is a home setting, 200 amp main with a 100 amp generator main. This has been wired with no problems since 2006. It has happened twice in a row in two weeks. Since we are gone alot, it posses a refrigeration concern. Any ideas?

  • Are you saying that when the generator picks up everything is ok but after transferring back to Grid power all the GFCI & Arc fault breakers trip? How is your grounding set up? Is your generator in cool down mode (still running but on grid power). Answers to these 2 questions may point us in the correct direction.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 9 '16 at 14:37
  • No the generator was not used in either incident Jun 9 '16 at 14:38

It is possible that the electric utility has a problem in their wiring. Specifically if the neutral or ground are not well connected, reconnecting the power from upstream could cause lopsided voltages due to a wandering ground.

The easiest diagnostic would be to request the utility to verify their wiring which they ought to do for free. If they won't or can't, you can rent a power quality analyzer and see for yourself. enter image description here

Be sure to test nominal power and during switching "off" and then "on" your main breaker. If the analyzer shows electrical problems, provide the details to your utility and they should fix it pronto.

If the test shows a ground problem, it might be on your end. Then it will be up to you to fix your grounding system


Some times when they recharge the lines there can be large spikes that will cause GFCI's and AFCI's to trip a "house" surge suppressor at your main panel may reduce the tripping like this the more expensive ones last longer as they are larger and can withstand more hits. This may solve your problem. Other than this type of protection there is not much that can be done.

  • Ok. I do have a surge protector that still shows it is working correctly. Could a surge still occur that would cause the tripping? I probably should cotact the power company to see why the power went out. No storms in the area. Jun 9 '16 at 14:55
  • I would contact them, they have been doing maintenance on switch gear and swapped feeds at a sub station. The switching causes big spikes and hammers most everything except UPS systems.
    – Ed Beal
    Jun 9 '16 at 18:43
  • Thank you all. I will contact provider. It makes sense based on all the answers. Jun 9 '16 at 20:24

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