AFCI breaker trips when turn on shower

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Immsquared

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1930s house with no ground in wiring. Electrician installed AFCI breakers on all circuits with water. I.e., kitchen, bathrooms etc. Upstairs bath would intermittently trip for no apparent reason. Electrician said it could be faulty GFCI outlet and installed new. Nope! Then said could be older electric toothbrush? Got rid of that. Did seem to stop for a few weeks. Then in the last two weeks, it has started tripping (some of the time) when you turn on the shower and engage the tub to shower diverter. Not every time but trips as soon as you pull the diverter. No time for any steam to build up. And trips even if nothing is in use on the circuit. Which is three overhead lights and 4 or 5 outlets. Nothing but lamps and night light on those outlets. Now a bit leary of showering in my lovely cast IRON tub! Help!
 

Snoonyb

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Welcome.

Perspective on laws of probability. Is the service panel grounded to a cold water line, and not to a driven grnd rod?
 

Immsquared

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Welcome.

Perspective on laws of probability. Is the service panel grounded to a cold water line, and not to a driven grnd rod?
It is. And I wondered if that was a factor. It is grounded to the main incoming waterline. Is the shower causing the pipe to vibrate and disconnect temporarily at times? Or some other electricity voodoo I don't begin to understand?
 

Snoonyb

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Understand, that I'm just wandering through possibilities.

There could also be a loose connection.

If the water main, from the street, is PVC, or has been changed and a driven grnd rod not added, you may not have an effective grnd.
 

Eddie_T

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GFCIs are not referencing anything to ground.
 

Immsquared

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Wandering through possibilities is my specialty!
I have lived here for two years and there has been no change in the water lines. All galvanized that I can seein the basement. However, I dont know about any changes from the house to the street. Nor do I know if there is a ground rod, but will definitely check. Does seem weird that this issue related to the shower has just popped up. But some ground problem was my thinking as well
 

Eddie_T

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I suppose they are dual function if used in a bath. The arc detection circuitry is looking for arc spectrum frequencies. Neither ground fault or arc fault should relate to your situation so it's a mystery for sure. A loose connection affected by vibration could cause it but I wouldn't think a diverter in a shower could vibrate wire connections
 

billshack

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is it possible that there is a leak on the shower and the water leaks on to electric wires, I saw this once a toilet that flushed would open a garrage door , no bs.
 

Eddie_T

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I think I would try some wall and ceiling bumps in search of a loose connection on that circuit.
 

Immsquared

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is it possible that there is a leak on the shower and the water leaks on to electric wires, I saw this once a toilet that flushed would open a garrage door , no bs.
LOL, that could be entertaining! But no, their is no wiring anywhere near the shower. And the bathroom is on the second floor. Breaker box is in the basement.
 

Immsquared

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I think I would try some wall and ceiling bumps in search of a loose connection on that circuit.
By bumps do you mean literally tapping or bumping the walls? If so, unfortunately they are solid 1930's plaster.
 

Snoonyb

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Electrical is aways fun, and while aggravating, can have the simplest of solutions.
 

afjes_2016

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..Electrician installed AFCI breakers on all circuits with water. I.e., kitchen, bathrooms etc...
Are you comfortable working in the panel? If not then ask the electrician to do this. If you are comfortable then you can do this. Take this circuit's hot wire out of the AFCI breaker and swap the wire to another AFCI protected circuit since we know you have more than one. Be sure you match up the neutral wires with the proper hot wire to the breaker. The pigtails on both AFCIs attaching to the neutral bar should not have to be moved.

If you get the same results over time then you know it is not the breaker as the breaker you swapped with is now tripping instead. This will indicate for sure there is an issue with the circuit and not the breaker is faulty and you have been chasing your tail all this time.

If this is a dual function AFCI/GFCI breaker then be sure you swap it with an identical one.

This is a starting point at least. Since you can't recreate the tripping at will we have to find some other way of troubleshooting.
 

Immsquared

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Are you comfortable working in the panel? If not then ask the electrician to do this. If you are comfortable then you can do this. Take this circuit's hot wire out of the AFCI breaker and swap the wire to another AFCI protected circuit since we know you have more than one. Be sure you match up the neutral wires with the proper hot wire to the breaker. The pigtails on both AFCIs attaching to the neutral bar should not have to be moved.

If you get the same results over time then you know it is not the breaker as the breaker you swapped with is now tripping instead. This will indicate for sure there is an issue with the circuit and not the breaker is faulty and you have been chasing your tail all this time.

If this is a dual function AFCI/GFCI breaker then be sure you swap it with an identical one.

This is a starting point at least. Since you can't recreate the tripping at will we have to find some other way of troubleshooting.
Thanks! This is something I can definitely do. Will try it in the a.m. and report back. Update from earlier today is the breaker now will not stay on at all!
 

Immsquared

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Are you comfortable working in the panel? If not then ask the electrician to do this. If you are comfortable then you can do this. Take this circuit's hot wire out of the AFCI breaker and swap the wire to another AFCI protected circuit since we know you have more than one. Be sure you match up the neutral wires with the proper hot wire to the breaker. The pigtails on both AFCIs attaching to the neutral bar should not have to be moved.

If you get the same results over time then you know it is not the breaker as the breaker you swapped with is now tripping instead. This will indicate for sure there is an issue with the circuit and not the breaker is faulty and you have been chasing your tail all this time.

If this is a dual function AFCI/GFCI breaker then be sure you swap it with an identical one.

This is a starting point at least. Since you can't recreate the tripping at will we have to find some other way of troubleshooting.
Good morning! So, it isn't the actual breaker. The problem occured after making the switch. So, seems clear it is in the circuit. But, to eliminate further, could this be related to the ground, which is only connected to the house plumbing and there is no ground rod ? Thank you in advance for your help!
 
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