AFCI breaker are HOT!

I was in a 3 year old house with Eaton AFCI breakers. The house was vacant an no load was being appled to the AFCI circuits. When the panel was off there was about a 30 degree difference on the temp of the breakers. I have never noticed this before and have no idea of the possible cause. Any info?


Thanks in advance.


AFCI’s will be hotter than your average breaker, most of the time. Please be careful when utilizing infrared imaging to detect anomalies in Electrical panels because most of those hot spots are not an issue whatsoever.

The only time I would call out an electrical hot spot on an electrical panel is if the temperature was anywhere over 100 degrees.

They were about 130 degrees. The 94 was on the COLD part of the panel. But thanks for the reply.

I have found 15 amp GFCI’s to run about eight to ten degrees hotter, as well.

Hey David
I had a question on electrical inspections with IR. I wondered if IR could (for instance) detect a loose connection, even if the house is vacant, with no load applied to the circuit?

It has been my thought that a poor connection would not reveal itself until loaded. Or is that incorrect?

Ir can only detect temperature differential. If you had a live loose connection and it was not arcing or building up heat, then IR would not detect the loose connection as there must be a heat build-up in order for the IR camera to detect the fault.

Even in a vacant house, with no load. No load means no heat which means that the IR camera is useless in this particular situation.

not uncommon to see them 15-30 degrees hotter and the manufacturer ( eaton anyway ) has tested their AFCI’s to function properly at I believe nearly 40-50 degrees hotter than normal…

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Paul, with the new AFCI code infect what would be the added cost to include these breakers in an average size home?

Say a 200 amp service on a 1200 sqr. foot ranch. Basic home.

Your help is appreciated.

Thanks, Pete

Well peter…hard to say because it depends on the house and the circuits the electrician chooses to run beyond the minimum required. But for craps and giggles…lets figure probably 18 MAX @ roughly $ 42.00 each = 756-900 bucks I would venture…

Now thats electrician numbers…figure mark up for resale to consumer at about 1,200 - 1,400 additional cost…Honestly it is a small price for enhanced safety.

Just what does the car manufacturers charge for those fancy air bags…from what I hear it adds about $ 2,000 a BAG in your car…

The industry will absorb it…because it is an “ACROSS THE BOARD” type of change…

Now…in your house example…40 CK panel…on that small of a house probably less…like 12 or so…AFCI’s…so just figure on about a 1,200.00 buck increase.....or about the cost of a better grade counter surface, or thicker shag carpet ( did I say shag....ewwww )....sad to say everyone equates cost to electrical and they have no idea people will WASTE 5,000 bucks on a counter top…then put in a poor electrical system…guess it is a priority thing…

Paul, I realize this is an older thread, but how hot is too hot? I recently shot a thermal of a panel with 16 AFCI/GFCI breakers stacked on one side of the panel an it measures 131 degrees. At what point does the heat degrade these breakers/wiring?

Tony Cavaliero
Houston TX

According to Eaton the normal operating temperature will be 80-120° F.,d.dmo&cad=rja

Nice link Robert