Last Updated on October 24, 2023 by Kevin Chen
Photo by Family handyman
Arc fault breakers (AFBs) are electrical devices that monitor the voltage levels of an electricity circuit and trip the circuit if unsafe levels are detected. When an arc fault occurs, the device trips to prevent any potential fires from damaging property or endangering people.
A tripped arc-fault breaker often indicates a problem with your electrical system and not necessarily a problem with the breaker itself.
It’s important to identify the cause of your tripped AFC so you can fix it as soon as possible. Below we list some common reasons why your arcing breaker keeps tripping before we discuss specific solutions for each case.
How does Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter Breaker work
An AFC breaker works by monitoring the flow of electricity through the circuit it’s connected to.
Whenever the flow of electricity increases beyond a certain threshold, the breaker trips, cutting off power to the circuit.
AFC breakers are designed to trip when they sense high-frequency arcing within the circuit, which often indicates a dangerous short circuit.
The breaker trips because arcing creates excess current in the circuit that could cause a fire.
By detecting arcing and tripping the circuit, the AFC breaks the current flow and prevents any damage from occurring.
Damaged of faulty wiring
Since the AFC breaker is designed to trip at the first sign of arcing, it’s often the wiring of equipment rather than the breaker itself is faulty.
If the AFC is being triggered even while the equipment is turned off, it’s probably the wiring conducting electricity.
To fix this issue, you’ll have to rewire the circuit and use a new cable.
If you’re not comfortable doing electrical work, it’s best to call an electrician to handle the repairs for you.
Damaged device or incompatible appliance i
Like with faulty wiring, if the arcing is coming from a faulty device or an incompatible appliance, the AFC will keep triggering even when the device is turned off.
Once you’ve replaced the faulty equipment or replaced the device with one that can handle the circuit, the AFC will stop triggering and normal use should resume.
It’s important to note that while an AFC will trip when it senses arcing, it won’t trip if the device is drawing too much power.
If a device is incompatible with your circuit, it may be drawing too much current, which will cause the AFC to trip even if there is no arcing.
Loose or Faulty Electrical Components
If the AFC is being triggered by loose or faulty components, it will trip even while the circuit is turned off.
You can check the condition of your circuit components by turning off the circuit and removing the AFC from the circuit.
After the circuit has been turned off for at least 20 minutes, check for loose or faulty components.
If you find any, tighten the components or replace the faulty ones. Once the circuit is repaired, turn the power back on and re-install the AFC.
If the AFC trip stops, the circuit is fixed.
If the trip persists, there is another issue in the circuit.
Arcing often occurs when there is too much current flowing through a circuit, causing the AFC to trip.
If the AFC trips and resets itself, again and again, it indicates that there is too much current flowing through the circuit.
To solve the issue, first check to see if there is a short circuit somewhere in the circuit; arcing is often the result of a short circuit.
If there’s no short circuit, reduce the load on the circuit by unplugging appliances. If the arcing continues, you may need to install a larger AFC on the circuit or upgrade your electrical panel.
Image source JadeLearning
Arcing in the circuit can damage the AFC and cause it to trip even though there’s no issue with the circuit.
If the AFC fails to reset itself, there is a problem with the device. It’s possible that the AFC has been damaged by the arcing and can’t reset itself.
It’s also possible that the AFC is faulty and needs to be replaced.
If you’re certain that the circuit is not overloaded and the AFC is new, the AFC is most likely faulty.
In this case, you’ll need to replace the AFC with a new one.
Incorrect AFC settings
If you’ve set the AFC to the wrong setting, it may be triggering even though there is no arcing in the circuit.
If the AFC is set to trip at 15 A, it will trip if there is any arcing in the circuit, even if minimal.
If the AFC is set to trip at 15 A, but there is no arcing in the circuit, the AFC will trip for no reason and reset itself when there is no longer any arcing in the circuit. To fix the issue, reset the AFC to its lowest setting and see if it trips.
If the AFC trips, raise the setting a bit until the AFC no longer trips.
Buy a new Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter Breaker
If you’ve checked the circuit for faulty wiring, incompatible appliances, or loose or faulty components, and you’ve reset the AFC to its lowest setting and the AFC is still triggering, it’s possible that the breaker itself is faulty.
If the AFC is triggering even when the circuit is turned off, you’ll need to replace the AFC.
Ensure that the new breaker is of good quality and suitable for your circuit.
Arc fault breakers are designed to protect your home and family from electrical fires, and they do a great job of it.
However, that doesn’t mean that you should ignore the cause of an AFC trip.
If an AFC keeps tripping, there is a problem with the circuit, so you should find the source of the issue and fix it as soon as possible.
If you know the source of the issue, you can identify and fix it faster. If you don’t know the cause of the issue, you may spend hours trying to fix the circuit without success.
There are a lot of reasons why your arc fault circuit interrupter keeps tripping. Some of these reasons are due to a fault in the circuit, while others are due to a fault of the AFC itself.
And when it comes to buying a new breaker or any other related components, ensure that you buy from a reputable and reliable supplier or manufacturer.
As a sourcing agent, we can connect you to reliable electric component manufacturers in China.
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