Dealing with a dryer that continually trips the circuit breaker can be frustrating and inconvenient. Not only can it be a hassle to keep resetting the breaker, but it can also be a safety hazard.
Luckily, it’s simple to diagnose and solve the problem. In this article, we’ll explore the possible causes of a dryer continually tripping the circuit breaker and provide you with steps to follow to solve the problem.
Whether it’s an overloaded circuit, faulty circuit breaker, or motor and heating element issues, we’ll give you all the information you need to identify the issue, so you’ll be able to fix it fast and get back to using your dryer safely and efficiently.
Why Does Your Dryer Keep Tripping the Breaker?
Before trying to fix anything, first, take a look at what might be the root of the problem.
1. Overloaded Circuit
One of the causes we see most is very simple – an overloaded circuit. Basically, this is what happens when too many appliances are connected to the same circuit, and the total current exceeds the circuit’s capacity.
If your dryer is connected to a circuit that’s also powering other high-powered appliances like air conditioners or electric heaters, it could overload the circuit, causing it to trip unexpectedly.
2. Weak Circuit Breaker
You might also just have a faulty breaker, which is another common issue. Circuit breakers, like most electrical units, can wear out over time and may not be able to handle the current load.
If your dryer is constantly tripping the circuit breaker, it could be a sign that the breaker itself needs to be replaced. You would have to contact an electrician to confirm this.
3. Faulty Electrical Wiring
Faulty wiring could also cause your dryer to trip the circuit breaker. Over time, wiring can become damaged, loose, or corroded, which can cause an electrical short circuit.
If you suspect faulty wiring is the cause of your electrical issues, you can inspect the cords, but it’s important to have them checked and repaired by a licensed electrician.
4. Faulty Heating Element or Assembly
The heating element in a dryer is in charge of generating heat to dry your clothes. If your heating element has become damaged or worn, it could cause a short circuit, leading to the breaker tripping.
If you have the right skills and equipment, you can check if the heating element is faulty by using a multimeter to test the element’s resistance. If it has no continuity, it might be time to replace it.
Additionally, if the heating element stops working properly, it could cause the heating element assembly to short out. You can use the same steps with the multimeter to assess whether this is the problem.
5. Drive Motor Issues
The motor in your dryer is responsible for spinning the drum and running the blower. A faulty drive motor could be the cause of the tripping problem.
You can test the motor by unplugging the dryer and manually spinning the drum. If the drum doesn’t spin easily or makes a humming noise, it could indicate that the motor has an issue that needs to be repaired or replaced.
6. Loose Electrical Connections
Over time, the electrical connections in your dryer can loosen, causing resistance and overheating in the wiring. As you might expect, this can cause a power trip and other long-term issues.
On top of this, loose wires can be a safety hazard, so if you notice any issues, it’s essential to have them resolved by a professional as soon as you can.
How to Fix a Dryer That Keeps Tripping the Breaker
Now that you know the possible causes of your problem, it’s time to diagnose the issue with your dryer and start taking steps to get it back in working order.
1. Check the Circuit Load
The first step you should take when your power keeps tripping is to assess whether the circuit load might be the issue. Try unplugging other appliances or electronics on the same circuit and see if this resolves the problem.
Alternatively, you could have an electrician add a dedicated circuit for your dryer to avoid overloading the circuit.
2. Test the Circuit Breaker
If you suspect that the circuit breaker is faulty, you can test it using a multimeter, assuming you have the right tools available.
Begin by turning off the main power switch and then locating the circuit breaker for your dryer. Use your multimeter to test the voltage across the two terminals of the circuit breaker.
If you don’t get a reading at all or a reading of zero, the circuit breaker is probably faulty and might need replacing. When replacing the circuit breaker, first turn off the main power switch.
Remove the circuit breaker from its panel, and install the new one carefully. Make sure to only do this yourself if you’re confident in your abilities and have some experience.
3. Inspect the Electrical Wiring
Over time, the electrical wiring in your appliance (and your home) can become damaged, leading to shorts and overloads.
To inspect the electrical components, first disconnect the appliance from the power and remove the access panel to inspect the wiring at the back. Check for any signs of frayed or damaged wiring, loose connections, or even signs of burning or scorching.
Call a professional electrician for repairs or replacements if you notice any of these.
4. Check the Outlet
You might also be experiencing your problem because of a faulty outlet. You can check the outlet by unplugging the dryer and testing the voltage using a multimeter (if you have one).
If the voltage is lower than expected or you don’t get a reading, the outlet may be the problem. You could also check by running your dryer from a different outlet and monitoring whether the problem persists.
You might want to replace the outlet yourself or get in touch with a professional to do it for you safely.
5. Replace the Heating Element
If the heating element in your appliance is faulty, it can cause a short circuit, and many other related problems could follow. You can check for continuity here using a multimeter.
However, if your element has an issue, the only solution is to replace the faulty component. To do so, you’ll need to access it by removing the access panel and carefully replacing the element with a new part.
6. Replace the Motor
If the motor malfunctions, it can cause a circuit trip and other frustrating issues. A broken motor will also need to be replaced.
To replace the motor, you should first unplug the dryer and remove the access panel to access the motor. Disconnect the wiring harness and remove the motor from the dryer, then install a new one and reconnect the harness before replacing the access panel.
Unfortunately, this can be an expensive part to replace, and you might want to weigh up your options before committing to this repair job.
7. Consider a Gas Dryer
If you’ve tried all the above steps and your electric dryer is still tripping the circuit breaker, you may consider switching to a gas dryer. Gas dryers use a different energy source, meaning they don’t draw as much current as electric dryers.
However, switching to a gas dryer will require professional installation and a gas line connection.
8. Spread Out Your Laundry
Finally, if you’re frequently encountering problems with your dryer tripping the circuit breaker, you might also want to consider spreading your laundry.
Instead of doing multiple loads in one day, try doing fewer loads over a few days of the week. This can help reduce the load on the circuit and prevent the circuit breaker from tripping.
If your dryer is continually tripping the circuit breaker, there could be several possible causes, including an overloaded circuit, a damaged heating element, or loose electrical connections.
By following the steps outlined in this article, you can assess, diagnose and hopefully solve the problem with your dryer. Remember to always prioritize safety when dealing with electrical issues and to call a professional electrician if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with any of the steps involved in solving the problem.