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AFCI Started failing

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  • AFCI Started failing

    My house is about 2 years old now. No issues with electrical to this point. Just yesterday one of my AFCIs popped. Went down in the basement and switched it back on. No big deal.

    Went home for lunch and found that it had thrown again. Circuit is definitely not overlaoded. Has a few outlets, a 3 way switch down the the basement stairs with a light at the top and bottom and a single pole switched light.

    Do AFCIs go bad? Could this be from a light bulb going bad?

    I will likely switch the AFCI out with another one in my box tonight to see if that's the cause. Wondering how often these actually fail and what could cause and issue after all this time.

    BTW.. no new nails or screws in the wall. Nothing that would explain new arching.

    Thanks,

    Josh

  • #2
    Re: AFCI Started failing

    Afci Breakers don't like Motors ,vacuums.smoke detectors,hate power strips,. Please take a picture of all Your breakers. What brand panel? They are a nuisance at best ! Spread them out on each buss bar, not all on one. Do a search on Electricians talk for More info. The 2014 NEC Mandates more of these and folks will learn to HATE them. Especially when You come back from vacation and Your freezer and Refridge are full of ROTTEN MEAT ! RANT OVER
    I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: AFCI Started failing

      In this case they actually had a nice save. Worked my way down to isolating one light and found a definite issue. Cheap light fixture that the insulation had pulled back from over time. once question though. Whats up with the yellow moisture. is that just from the arching? definitely not leaking from anywhere.

      Click image for larger version

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      • #4
        Re: AFCI Started failing

        Looks like the wire casing melted inside fiberglass sheathing. I've seen this happen in fixtures that usually have a much larger watt bulb than the fixture is rated for.

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        • #5
          Re: AFCI Started failing

          Josh, I see rust on the metal fixture. What's above it? Possibly a plumbing leak getting things wet? Time to play detective.

          Rick.
          phoebe it is

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: AFCI Started failing

            Originally posted by Josh View Post
            In this case they actually had a nice save. Worked my way down to isolating one light and found a definite issue. Cheap light fixture that the insulation had pulled back from over time. once question though. Whats up with the yellow moisture. is that just from the arching? definitely not leaking from anywhere.

            Click image for larger version

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Views:	1
Size:	106.6 KB
ID:	17583
            Good work
            I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: AFCI Started failing

              I checked thoroughly above the fixture. Its actually chain hung and zero sign of moisture above. Nowhere near plumbing of any sort. Could the moisture be from arching?

              Also... could the insulation getting fried cause the moisture. Everything was very brittle around the place it was arching. Wondering if the arching pulled the oils out of the plastic and rubber.

              I will check again to see if there is any possibility of the roof leaking and dripping down through but again. it seems very unlikely for the water to get to where it was. A bit of a mystery.

              BTW... The builders installed 100W bulbs in the fixture which the fixture is rated to.
              Last edited by Josh; 05-31-2013, 08:44 AM.

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              • #8
                Re: AFCI Started failing

                Doesn't arcing create ozone? That would explain the rust, but not the moisture?

                Rick.
                phoebe it is

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: AFCI Started failing

                  With today's houses and the over the top requirements of making the houses air tight, you end up with moisture problems at any penetrations. If the light box was not sealed correctly and being on the ceiling of an insulated area, you can get condensation. Simply it looks like the fixture over heated for some reason or another.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: AFCI Started failing

                    Originally posted by toolaholic View Post
                    Afci 2014 NEC Mandates more of these and folks will learn to HATE them. Especially when You come back from vacation and Your freezer and Refridge are full of ROTTEN MEAT ! RANT OVER
                    Not mandated n kitchens so this is usually not an issue.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: AFCI Started failing

                      Originally posted by johncameron View Post
                      Not mandated n kitchens so this is usually not an issue.
                      How about back up garage Refrig., and Freezer full of food ?
                      I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: AFCI Started failing

                        Originally posted by toolaholic View Post
                        How about back up garage Refrig., and Freezer full of food ?
                        Garage should be GFI not arc fault

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                        • #13
                          Re: AFCI Started failing

                          Originally posted by Alphacowboy View Post
                          Garage should be GFI not arc fault
                          This was mentioned on Electrician talk .I don't have the 2014 NEC Just 2011 one
                          I can build anything You want , if you draw a picture of it , on the back of a big enough check .

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: AFCI Started failing

                            If that's a concern they do sell gfci receptacles that will give you an audible alarm when they trip.

                            Its worth noting that afci circuits also have (a lesser level) gfci protection already built into them.

                            I was told (by a hvac guy) its not a good idea to put a fridge in a garage because the colder ambient will screw with the defrost function. Then again... many say they never have a problem

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                            • #15
                              Re: AFCI Started failing

                              Originally posted by johncameron View Post
                              I was told (by a hvac guy) its not a good idea to put a fridge in a garage because the colder ambient will screw with the defrost function. Then again... many say they never have a problem
                              depends upon how the fridge controls the defrost function. electronic timers have no problem, temperature sensors sometimes have problems.
                              ~~

                              ... it was plumbed by Ray Charles and his helper Stevie Wonder

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