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I have a new house (about 9 months old) and recently the dishwasher circuit has started tripping. It trips while the dishwasher isn't running. I believe it's code that the dishwasher must be on its own circuit so I'm not sure what else could be causing the trip.

Some facts:

  1. Dishwasher completes its cycle (with heated dry so pulling some current) no issue. Sometime between then and the next time I go to start the dishwasher (typically 2 days), the circuit trips.

  2. The dishwasher has a switch under the sink. I've tried turning the switch off just after the cycle completes and I've verified that the power is still on. Next time I go to start it I turn on the switch and the circuit is off. So I don't think the dishwasher is doing anything to cause this.

  3. The breaker that trips is labeled "Disposal". The "Dishwasher" one is next to it and stays on. The disposal has always had power. The dishwasher circuit does not appear to trip related to when the disposal is run. Not sure if this is a simple mislabel or a sign of something more sinister.

  4. Last note and this may be completely unrelated or might not. After a few months of running just fine, the fridge in my utility room started to trip the breaker daily, then getting more often and eventually tripping it every few hours. It is also on a GFCI/AFCI combo circuit. I plugged it into another circuit which had an AFCI-only breaker and it was fine. After reading about the 2015 regulation changes and how many people were having trouble, I replaced the G/A combo breaker with an AFCI-only and it has run fine ever since. A few weeks after this the dishwasher trouble started.

I'm stumped. Before I start disconnecting things, monitoring currents, etc, does anyone have ideas as to why this could be happening? The house is under warranty for another few months but I'm just not the type to call them in without some idea of whats wrong.

The breaker that trips is an Eaton type that has the diagnostic LED. It does not blink after resetting. Just in case that means anything to someone...

  • It is not necessarily Code that a dishwasher must be on its own circuit... – ThreePhaseEel Jul 29 '16 at 2:06
  • Also did the utility room fridge produce any diagnostic codes when its breaker tripped? – ThreePhaseEel Jul 29 '16 at 2:06
  • I'll have to try to verify that the dishwasher is on its own circuit. Luckily I took pictures before the drywall went up so I'll take a look. Also, the fridge sometimes displayed a diagnostic code, I believe it was 5 (ground fault) though I'm not 100% certain. – user1259576 Jul 29 '16 at 2:09
  • It goes up from the kitchen to the attic without any other endpoints. Can't trace it all the way to the panel but I think it's likely that the only thing on the circuit it the DW. – user1259576 Jul 29 '16 at 2:18
  • What junction boxes are on the circuit? And I take it the DW circuit is wired using NM all the way, or does it change wiring types/use some other wiring type than NM? – ThreePhaseEel Jul 29 '16 at 2:21
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I have had tons of problems with dishwashers & garbage disposal units in the past. Motor loads eat these "protection devices" regularly. My state has exempted from protection because of this issue. Make sure to check local code and if required replace the AFCI / GFCI unit and complain to the state electrical board! This is the only way the rules will be changed or manufacturers be held to standards that "normal motor loads or mandated CFL lighting can handle without tripping"!

  • Interesting. That would be one explanation for why it was ok for a while and then this started. Short of a better explanation maybe I'll swap a couple of identical breakers and see if the issue follows. – user1259576 Jul 29 '16 at 2:44
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The trips without fault codes lead me to believe this isn't an RFI problem -- the lack of any fault code means the regular breaker mechanism was tripped instead of the electronics triggering a trip. I suspect that there's an intermittent, rather firm ground fault somewhere in the wiring -- a wire that had its insulation skinned off or nicked excessively can do this in conjunction with a grounded metal box, or if it's contacting another bare/bared wire, terminal screw, or other such thing. I'd check the junction boxes for wiring damage -- it happens, as Ed Beal can attest.

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