I recently moved into a brand new home. After a few weeks, the circuit breaker in my office would trip every week or so, but recently it began to happen every night. I figured all my office equipment was using too much power and I need to have an additional circuit installed. It seemed odd, however, that it only happened at night when power usage was at its lowest. Another thought was that maybe a device was shorting, so I tried to narrow it down by unplugging every nonessential device. Still, the breaker would trip.
My office is on the same circuit as the outside lights, but it never dawned on me they could be the culprits. I had replaced the two porch lights with some motion sensor LED flood lights, and bulbs in the two sconces with night sensor LEDs. I also installed a Ring doorbell which has IR LEDs. Surely, these low-power LEDs couldn’t be causing the problem, right? Well, apparently, the answer is yes they can.
I didn’t know this, but I’ve learned that when LED lights are turned on, there is a short but large electrical surge (called the inrush current) and, according to this article, can be 253 times the LED’s rated current! My theory is that when some combination of the motion floodlights and Ring doorbell simultaneously sensed motion, it would trip my breaker. It sort of makes sense. As more and more people moved into the neighborhood, night activity like car headlights, roaming cats, etc. would increase. To test this, I replaced the floodlights with regular LED bulbs and the breaker has not tripped once in the last several days.
I suppose I could try a different brand of motion floodlights, but I think I’m going to just install a solar powered one and avoid the problem all together.