Any issues with arc-fault circuit interrupter

Has anyone had any issues with using the GE z-wave 3-way switches on a circuit with an arc-fault circuit interrupter? I installed a pair of switches a couple of days ago, the first time I’ve put any on a circuit with an AFCI, and after working fine for a day, the breaker now keeps kicking off.

It seems like it must have something to do with the new switches, unless its just a coincidence.

Hi @obycode, My new home has AFCI’s on switches and outlets, and I’ve replaced every single switch in my home with GE’s without incident. Maybe something is awry in the box itself with a nicked wire coming in close contact with one of the terminals?

Thanks for the info John. I think you’re right, because I had given up and tried to put the old switches back and the breaker is still kicking off. Glad to know that someone else has these switches working with AFCIs. Now to figure out what is going wrong!

Anytime. Hope you figure this out!

I have some experience with these AFCI and GFCI devices. One has to be careful about the neutral connections. The neutral for all protected circuits must come from the load neutral terminal. Three wire circuits (two hots on separate phases and one neutral - often used for kitchen circuits) won’t work with these devices unless two pole breakers are used for them. You can’t put an AFCI or GFCI on one leg in an outlet box with these circuits. I have a two pole GFCI breaker but I don’t know if two pole AFCI breakers are even available.

So after spending way too long trying to figure this out, it turns out the stupid light bulb in the fixture was the problem! I had changed the bulb when I changed out the switches because I noticed one was out, and somehow, that bulb was tripping the AFCI. Basically, I spent 4 hours changing a light bulb :astonished:.

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@obycode, oh wow. That’s material in the making for a good joke!


This is an old thread but in case someone has this issue I thought I would put in my two cents as I am going through this now. I was searching for anyone who might have seen some thing like this before and came across this thread. I installed a number of fan and toggle switches along with add-on switches in a number of ganged boxes. When complete one of the ARC fault breakers started tripping intermittently. I had seen this before when I has installed a fan switch in one of these ganged boxes a while back. There were two bundles of neutrals in the box and I assumed it made no difference which one I used. As soon as I powered on that circuit it would trip. I decided to try the other bundle of Neutrals and the problem went away.

The new switches I recently installed were in that same ganged box along with two additional boxes. Two breakers needed to be shut off to kill power to these boxes. In the box I had already added the fan switch I added two Add-on switches and the masters were in another box in another room. In that box that did not bring over the other neutral from the other circuit so I could not separate them. It would not trip every time but over the last month it has tripped about three times.

I opened up the main box and both circuits are on ARC fault breakers and the neutrals were tied together right next to each other in the box, so I didn’t see why I would need to separate them in the switch boxes. I thought about just switching it out with a regular breaker but decided to try replacing it to see if that made a difference. That seems to have fixed it. Can’t be 100% sure yet as I will have to see what happens over the next few weeks, but with the original breaker I had to turn the two circuits on in a certain order. If I flipped one on before the other the one I replaced would trip every time. It’s not doing that now. So maybe that was it. The breakers have been in since the house was built so they are all about 12 years old now.

Long story short if you see this it might just be the ARC fault breaker might be going bad.

Bottom line with AFCI Breakers: in no way, shape or form can two separate circuits SHARE a neutral nor can separate circuit neutrals be tied together (such might happen when 2 separate circuit feeds are brought into the same switch box). You cannot combine (or tie) the neutrals all together. Afci breakers pick up on this and will ALWAYS trip (non-afci breakers will hold however). Simply separate and isolate the neutrals from separate circuits and tuck em back into the box. Afci breaker will then hold. You’ll see!