Ceiling fan and afci

Last Edited By Krjb Donovan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 05:22 PM GMT

Question

QUESTION: Installed new Hunter ceiling fan in new condo bedroom. Works fine. While installing a Hunter remote in this fan, with the fan wall switch off I connected the two white wires. When I connected the two black wires the AFCI (Siemans) tripped. Tried another new remote with the same result. Bad remote, incorrect wiring or AFCI problem?

ANSWER: If it tripped while you were putting the wires together the power must of been on and it detected the arching. Turn the breaker off and then try it.

If it tripped after you put it all together and turned it on then it is probably detecting the switching relay arch.

Your lighting circuit is usually not on an AFCI, so I am wondering if this circuit was pulled from the outlet circuit.

The AFCI breakers are designed to detect arc-fault, meaning an arc in the circuit. As far as I know they are not designed yet to be on circuits with appliances. Your fan motor may be producing an arc or signal that the AFCI is detecting and does not like.

Check local code to see if your lighting circuit is required to be on an AFCI protected circuit. If not, then consider taking this fan off of your outlet circuit and onto a lighting circuit.

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: When I connected the black wires the wall switch was off and the AFCI was on. Checked wires and wall switch several times. With wall switch off touched black to white, black to ground, and white to ground - AFCI did not trip. Only the black and white wires for the remote receiver we connected when the AFCI tripped. How is this possible?

I thought the AFCI code applies to all bedroom receptacles and ceiling light switches. Waiting for a call back about local code requirements. Wouldn't I need an electrician to take this fan off of my outlet circuit and onto a lighting circuit. What do I do if the code doesn't allow this?

The ceiling fan works perfectly without the remote control installed. Only when I try to connect the remote receiver does the AFCI trip.

Answer

You are right about the code, I was thinking of the older codes.

Try wiring the fan without the ground and see if that trips the AFCI.

It may be that the ground and neutral are tied together internally in the fan which will cause you problems with the AFCI. Or, the ground and neutral are tied inside the receiver.

You may need to check with the manufacture and see if they have a fan remote that is approved for an AFCI circuit.

I am not saying to keep the ground disconnected, just disconnect to see if that keeps the AFCI from tripping. My guess is that a regular breaker will not trip with the remote.

There must be data somewhere on how many lives AFCI breakers have saved, but they can be a nuisance sometimes.

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