Dryer Keeps Tripping Your Circuit Breaker? Here’s Why

Woman screaming for smoke coming out of her dryer

Stuck trying to figure out why your dryer keeps tripping your circuit breaker?

I know how annoying it can be to have this happen. After all, dryers should make our lives easier, not the opposite.

If your dryer keeps tripping your breaker, chances are the breaker itself may be weak, the appliance has a short or a component is drawing more amps than it should, the heating element is faulty, or the drive motor is damaged.

But don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place to get this problem fixed.

Keep reading to learn more about why your dryer is constantly tripping your breaker and forget all about this issue!

6 Reasons Why Your Dryer Keeps Tripping Your Circuit Breaker (With Fixes)

#1 Weak Circuit Breaker

First and foremost, 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.

Please use extreme caution when testing these wires. It’s best to turn off the power to the unit or unplug it before attaching your amp meter to the L1 or L2 circuits.

Then, restore power to run the dryer to monitor the amp draw.

During the test, the amperage reading should not be above 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.

Call a professional
If you do not have experience working with electricity, it is highly recommended to call a professional.

#2 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.

If this happens, the terminal block can suffer damage, potentially causing the wires to short to the ground against the dryer cabinet, causing the circuit breaker to trip.

While this doesn’t happen frequently, you should check the terminal block, especially if you’ve tried the fixes above, but your dryer keeps tripping the breaker.

In order to check the condition of your terminal block, you will first need to unplug the dryer from the power source and locate the component. Check to see if any of the wires appear loose. If they do, please tighten them.

Next, check to see if any of the wires appear as if they’re arcing. If they do, you’ll need to replace them.

Once you’ve followed the steps above, you can switch your dryer on and see if the dryer trips the circuit breaker again. If you’re having issues, please move on to the next possible problem.

#3 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.

If this part is defective, it could potentially short out the housing, resulting in the dryer tripping the breaker.

To tell whether the heating element is good or bad, use a multimeter tool to check for continuity. To do this, first, turn off the 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, please keep reading.

#4 Shorted to Ground Element

If you do have continuity for the heating element, now you should confirm that the element itself is not shorted to ground. In this case, the ground can be the metal casing of the element itself.

When this happens, it can cause electrical current to flow uncontrollably through the circuit, leading to a sudden surge in electrical power. This can cause the breaker to trip.

A grounded element will need to be replaced to solve the issue.

#5 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 your dryer tripping the breaker.

To tell whether the drive motor is your issue or not, switch off the power to the dryer and pull it out from the dryer if it isn’t already. Then, remove the panels so that you’re able to access the part.

Once you’ve done that, please locate the drive motor, and use a multimeter to test the component for continuity and short ground as 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.

One of the most common models of dryer motors
To replace a motor with these characteristics, it is important to have the knowledge, if not, we recommend calling a professional.

#6 Internal Short

If your issue 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 your dryer that could cause an internal short, such as a faulty door switch, a defective time, a bad motor, the on/off switch failing to operate properly, pinched or broken wiring, rodent damage, etc.

A multimeter can be used to test each of these components to determine if they are good or if there is a shortage with one of them. If you find a faulty component, it will need to be repaired or replaced.

In the event that you have a short in the wiring harness, these can be more difficult and/or time-consuming to trace. 

However, one tip to identify which component or wiring circuit is causing the breaker to trip is to isolate each branch of the circuit by unplugging suspected components from the dryer.

If the short is resolved once unplugged, this should help you more quickly focus your attention on the affected circuit.


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!

Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more