First, check the circuit breaker that’s tripping. Does it have a “TEST” button and the letters AFCI displayed on it?
If so, what you have is an “Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter” circuit breaker. These breakers are specifically designed to protect your circuits from electrical “arcing” (more on what that is later).
Note: If you have a normal circuit breaker (not AFCI), you either have an overloaded circuit, an electrical short, or a worn-out breaker. Here’s a helpful article that details what to do when you have a breaker that’s tripping.
So why is your AFCI breaker tripping when you run the vacuum? Well, it depends on how often the breaker trips:
We’ll explain both situations in more detail below. But first, let’s look at what “arcing” is and what it has to do with your vacuum cleaner.
Want an electrician to inspect your circuit? Just contact us and we’ll send a professional right over.
An electrical “arc” happens when electricity jumps a gap between two conductors, usually two exposed pieces of wire.
This sort of electrical “leak” typically doesn’t trigger a normal circuit breaker, but AFCI breakers are designed to trip in fractions of a second at the first sign of arcing to prevent electrical fires.
Now that we know what arcing is, let’s take a look at the difference between an AFCI breaker that trips occasionally and one that trips every time your vacuum runs.
Vacuums often cause “nuisance tripping” with AFCI circuit breakers because vacuums produce a small amount of sparking as they run.
And because sparks are essentially small electrical arcs, they’ll occasionally trip your AFCI breaker.
Other devices that are prone to “nuisance tripping” include:
How to fix this problem: Have an electrician inspect the breaker and replace it with a newer model if possible.
Signs that indicate your AFCI breaker is tripping due to an electrical problem include:
If you’re still not sure why your vacuum is tripping your AFCI breaker, we can help. We serve communities in and around Sarasota, Tampa, Orlando and Naples.
Just contact us and we’ll thoroughly inspect the breaker, circuit wiring and your vacuum to find the problem and correct it.