Dryer Keeps Tripping Your Circuit Breaker? Here’s Why
You have a huge pile of laundry that needs to get done ASAP. They’re finally ready to go into the dryer, so you get the wet clothes out of the washer, throw them into the dryer, close the door, turn it on, and then POP! The circuit breaker has been thrown.
So, you head to the breaker box, flip the breaker, and head back to the dryer. You start the dryer again only for the same thing to happen again. You’re ready to pull your hair out! You need these clothes! Why is your dryer tripping your circuit breaker all of a sudden?
While the dryer may indeed be to blame, you must first take a closer look at the circuit breaker itself. They do wear out over time, causing them to trip easily. Once the circuit breaker has been examined, there are many components inside the dryer that can cause the breaker to trip repeatedly.
If you’re ready to learn more about why your dryer is constantly tripping your circuit breaker and how you can solve the problem, keep reading below to learn six different potential causes, how to test them, and what to do about them.
These Are The Most Common Reasons:
#1: Weak Circuit Breaker
First and foremost, as already mentioned, you need to check the circuit breaker itself. In many cases, the problem that you’re experiencing may be due to a weak circuit breaker instead of a defective component in the dryer.
Circuit breakers suffer wear and tear over the years and will wear out over time. As a result, they weaken and are unable to handle the same electrical load they once were. When this happens, they need to be replaced. This is particularly true if you live in an older home that has not had its electrical system upgraded in the last decade or two.
To test your circuit breaker, an amperage meter can be used. This tool is used while your dryer is turned on and running. You’ll test the voltage supply of lines one and two. During the test, the amperage reading should not be below 30. If it is, this is indicative of your circuit breaker potentially being weak and requiring replacement.
Without proper training, replacing a circuit breaker can be a dangerous task. Therefore, if you are not qualified, you should consult with a professional electrician to switch out your old circuit breaker with a new one.
#2: Heating Element
In the event the circuit breaker is fine, then the next component to look at is the heating element. This part is what heats the air that circulates through the drum of the dryer. In the event the heating element is defective, it could potentially short out the housing, resulting in the dryer tripping the breaker.
To tell whether or not the heating element is good (or bad), use a multimeter tool to check for continuity. To do this, first turn off power to the dryer. Pull it out from the wall/cabinet and remove the panels so you can access the element. Your owner’s manual can show you the location of the heating element.
Once you locate the heating element, use the multimeter to test each terminal for continuity. If there is continuity, then the heating element is faulty and must be replaced. In the event the heating element in the dryer passes the continuity test, then you can check the next part.
#3: Heating Element Assembly
In a number of instances, when the heating element stops working properly, it can often cause the entire heating element assembly to short out, which then results in the breaker tripping. In order to tell if the assembly is the problem, you can use a multimeter to check for continuity just like you did with the heating element.
Simply go through the same steps you did with the heating element. If there is continuity, the part is defective and needs to be replaced. However, if one part passes the continuity test, then you can check the next part.
#4: Drive Motor
The drive motor is responsible for ensuring that the drum turns while the appliance is running. While rare, a drive motor can fail. When it does happen, the part may be internally shorting out, resulting in the tripping of the circuit breaker.
To tell whether or not the drive motor is your problem, switch off the power to the dryer and pull it out from the dryer if it isn’t already. Remove the panels so that you’re able to access the part. Locate the drive motor, and use a multimeter to test the component for continuity like you have with the heating element and heating element assembly.
Again, if there is continuity, which shows that the part has shorted out, it will need to be replaced. If the drive motor is fine, though, then simply move on to check the next dryer component on the list.
#5: Terminal Block
If you have an electric-powered dryer, there will be a series of cords that are attached to a terminal block. In the event these wires ever become loose or deteriorate, they may arc. Should this occur, the terminal block can suffer damage, potentially causing the wires to short against the dryer and causing the circuit breaker to trip.
While this doesn’t happen frequently, you should check the terminal block if you have checked all of the aforementioned components and are still having issues with your dryer tripping the circuit breaker.
In order to check the condition of your terminal block, you will first need to locate the component. Check to see if any of the wires appear loose. If they do, tighten them. Next, check to see if any of the wires appear as if they’re arcing. If they do, replace them.
Once you’ve performed these steps, you can switch your dryer on and see if the dryer trips the circuit breaker again. If you’re having issues, move onto the next possible problem.
#6: Internal Short
If your problem isn’t with the circuit breaker or any of the aforementioned components, then it may be an internal short that is causing the dryer to trip the breaker. There are many components inside of your dryer that could cause an internal short, such as a faulty door switch, a defective time, a bad motor, or the on/off switch failing to operate properly.
A multimeter can be used to test each of these components to determine if they are good or if there is a short with one of them. If you find a component with a short, it will need to be repaired or replaced.
Hopefully, by the end of this article, you have successfully solved the solution to why your dryer is tripping your home’s circuit breaker. More often than not, it’s going to be one of the six reasons listed above. If, for whatever reason, it’s not, you’ll need to reach out to a professional for further assistance, as there could be a more serious underlying cause for what you’re currently experiencing.
When you’re experiencing trouble with your appliances, we hope you’ll check out some of our other troubleshooting articles. Thank you for reading, and again, we hope that we have helped you solve your problem!