If Your Vacuum Keeps Tripping Your Circuit Breaker
Vacuuming is one of those chores that consumes quite a bit of time. And if you trip the circuit breaker every time you vacuum, it can increase your frustration levels tenfold.
If you have a normal circuit breaker, you either have an electrical short, an overloaded circuit, or a worn out breaker. If the circuit breaker has the letters AFCI displayed on it and a TEST button, you have an Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter (AFCI) circuit breaker.
Why would your AFCI circuit breaker trip when running the vacuum? It depends on how often the breaker trips.
If your vacuum trips the breaker on occasion, the breaker is most likely nuisance tripping. Because of how vacuums operate, they are notorious for causing AFCI nuisance trips.
If your vacuum always trips the breaker, the circuit most likely has an electrical arcing problem.
An electrical arc happens when electricity jumps between two conductors, which is usually two exposed pieces of wire. This sort of leak doesn’t trigger a normal circuit breaker, but with an AFCI circuit breaker, they are designed to trip at the first sign of arcing to prevent electrical fires.
Vacuums often cause nuisance tripping with AFCI circuit breakers because they produce a small amount of sparking as they operate. Because these sparks create small electrical arcs, they’ll occasionally trip your AFCI breaker. You’ll also often find it with other household items including flat screen TVs, computers, and treadmills. By upgrading the breaker to a newer model is often all it will take to fix the problem once and for all.
If your vacuum always trips the breaker, you most likely have an electrical problem.
Inspect your vacuum for things like frayed or deteriorating cords. You may also notice a burnt smell when it’s running, which could indicate burning components within the vacuum itself. Replace the vacuum if you suspect problems.
If your AFCI breaker trips even with nothing plugged in, it’s most likely faulty and needs replacing. AFCI breakers can be faulty due to age, poor wiring, or improper installation. If not repaired or replaced, it could increase the potential for dangerous arcing conditions, increasing your risk for electrical fire.
Have questions about your circuit breaker? We can help.