punkdoc

12A vacuum cleaner causes 15A AFCI to trip

punkdoc
4 years ago

Whenever I try to use my 12A vacuum cleaner, it causes the 15A AFCI to trip. I understand that happens when the AFCI senses arcing. Will the AFCI still trip if it was a 20A instead? Thank you in advance.

Comments (7)

  • PRO
    Cancork Floor Inc.
    4 years ago

    Your vacuum pulls 12amps...but it isn't the only thing on the circuit. The other things plugged into the circuit are causing the overload when the vacuum is in use. This should stop once the OTHER THINGS are unplugged while vacuuming.

    The other reason this can happen is OLD WIRING. Some wires are very efficient and work just fine with the maximum current being pulled (without tripping the breaker) and other wires are low efficiency which means they carry their own "load" which can help cause a breaker to flip.

    Just for fun, unplug EVERYTHING on that circuit and then use the vacuum. You should be trouble free....if you are NOT, then your electrical really, really, really needs updating...ASAP. It means your wires/breakers are so old they can't handle 12amps on a 15amp system. That is some scary stuff.

  • punkdoc
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    It's a brand new house built 2015. Nothing else is plugged in. Spoke to the electrician who said it's nothing to do with overload but arcing. He said it would trip even if he installed a 20amp AFCI.

  • s c
    4 years ago
    if the wiring and breaker are both checked and found to be in working order then I would check the vacuum. does it trip while plugged in to a different afci circuit?
  • PRO
    Ellsworth Design Build
    4 years ago
    Arc fault breakers hate motors. They are very sensitive and trip easily, too easily in this case.
  • PRO
    Tighe Electrical LLC
    4 years ago

    It is most likely not overloading. The breaker should indicate what is happening so you can determine the cause, they have 3 different indicators on them for a short, overload and arc fault. The vacuum can create an arc when it stops or starts and can cause the arc fault breaker to trip, it is very common and can be solved as easily as swapping out a temperamental arc fault breaker for a new one. You could try the vacuum on a different arc fault circuit in your home to see if it holds, if it does that would work in your situation, If it continues to trip all your arc faults I would have the vacuum look at.

  • punkdoc
    Original Author
    4 years ago

    Vacuum cleaner is a Dyson DC21. No problem when I vacuum the rest of the house. The circuit to master bedroom is the only one that has 15A AFCI breaker - the temperamental one. Electrician contacted the supplier, and was told that's what AFCI is meant to do - trip when arcing is sensed. Therefore, electrician couldn't be bothered to come check at all. Should I be getting an electrical inspector?