You love your steamer and look forward to using it to save time and to get the job done without a lot of fuss or cost. It recently started tripping the circuit breaker when you use the appliance. Now what should you do?  

There are common reasons, and sometimes unexpected reasons, why the circuit may trip when using a steamer. What steps should you take to stop it? Let’s find out right now before the situation potentially gets more serious, and possibly results in a dangerous situation. 

Different Types of Steamers 

There are a variety of steamers, including garment steamers, steamer mops, carpet steamers, and small cooking steamers that may contribute to shorting the circuit in your home. These steamers may seem very different, but in the way that you use them, they do have some similarities.  

You plug the steamer into an outlet and turn the steamer on to get it to work. You use water to create the steam that is required for your steamer to function as indicated in the description of the features or in the product instructions. The steamer potentially performs a function or solves an issue in less time compared to a traditional appliance. 

Although these steamers collectively have similar features and functions, they also serve completely different purposes. These specific features and functions may also contribute to electrical issues that can lead to shorting the circuit. 

Let’s take a look at the different types of steamers, and why they may contribute to shorting the circuit. 

Garment Steamer 

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Garment steamers typically come in two styles. One garment steamer consists of a small, hand-held unit that you move across your clothes to steam out the wrinkles so that it looks freshly steamed right from the cleaners. Many individuals own this type of convenient steamer in their homes. It is also ideal when traveling because it easily fits inside of a suitcase. 

The second type of garment steamer consists of a unit that has attached hoses. This allows for reaching higher, and for standing at a further distance away from the clothes or draperies that you want to steam. Individuals own these steamers, along with people that work in the fashion industry, the dry cleaning industry or people that want to steam draperies or other items. 

A garment steamer may stop working or short circuit, the same as other types of small appliances.

Steamer Mops 

Steamer mops recently became popular because of the premise that the steam offers a deeper cleaning and sanitizing of floors, compared to traditional mop heads or sponge mops. They come in a variety of sizes and styles, and generate different amounts of steam or power. A powerful jet of steam goes into the mop pad on the steamer mop.  

The steamer mop is for maintenance cleaning of sealed floors. Following instructions for use and safety procedures can potentially help maintain the life of the steamer mop and may help lessen the risk of tripping a circuit breaker. 

Carpet Steamers 

Carpet steamers provide the opportunity for owners and renters of these steamers to thoroughly steam clean their carpets without worrying about the cost of hiring professional carpet cleaners. They come in a range of brands and sizes, and have a variety of features across the different models.  

Steam penetrates deep into the carpet when you use the carpet steamer. The detergent in the detergent department helps with the cleaning process. The carpet steamer softens and loosens dirt and stains on the carpet. Vacuuming after the carpet dries helps to provide the look, feel and smell of a perfectly cleaned, perhaps even a new carpet. 

Small Cooking Steamers 

Using a small steamer pot probably seems like it would be simple, with very little need for special instructions. Yet, sources indicate that you may be surprised how many people do not know how to properly use a food steamer.  

Although some people opt for a steamer basket, many people choose the electric food steamer. You get to choose from a variety of settings, which provides you with more control over steaming your food. 

Is Your Steamer Shorting the Circuit? 

Steamers, like any other kind of appliance, may trip the circuit, blow a fuse, or repeatedly short the circuit every time that you use your steamer. One question that users often ask when this happens includes, “Why does my circuit breaker trip every time that I use my steamer?”  

There are several reasons that may cause tripping or shorting the circuit. The steps that you take to stop it often depend on the cause and potential risks and safety issues. Let’s take a look at common causes for a steamer shorting the circuit. 

Tripped Circuit Breaker 

How do you know when a steamer trips the circuit breaker? The first clue is that it only happens when you plug in your steamer or turn the steamer to the “on” position. The second clue that you have a tripped circuit breaker is the fact that the power went out only in certain areas of your home, not in the entire house. 

Resetting a tripped circuit breaker is an easy process, even for someone that has never opened the door to their electrical panel box.  

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  • Step 1: First, unplug the steamer 

  • Step 2:  Now, open the electrical panel or circuit breaker box 

  • Step 3: Look for the switch labeled for the room or area where the power went out when you used your steamer 

  • Step 4: Turn the breaker or handle completely to the “off” position 

  • Step 5: Turn the breaker back to the “on” position 

This process resets the circuit breaker. Close the panel door. 

Circuit Overload 

A circuit overload generally occurs when there are too many appliances or devices plugged into it. Another reason that this occurs is when you plug something like a steamer into the same outlet where there is a large appliance plugged in that uses a lot of power. 

Do not plug your steamer into the same outlet as your refrigerator, microwave, or other major appliance or device. Do not plug your steamer into an extension cord. 

Another reason for circuit overload is because of corroded connections. Check your steamer cord. Is it in perfect condition? Check the outlet cover. Do you see brown marks or smell something similar to burnt wiring? Do you see sparks when you plug in the steamer?

Do not use any outlet that seems to have burn marks. https://www.123rf.com/photo_100407386_white-household-socket-has-burned-from-short-circuit.html?vti=nw85jiu2t9bdvo2mad-1-45

Never use a steamer that produces sparks when you plug it into an outlet. If you do, you may be risking more than shorting the circuit. You may risk electrical shock or a firehttps://www.123rf.com/photo_168474292_burning-switchboard-from-overload-or-short-circuit-on-wall-close-up-circuit-breakers-on-fire-and-smo.html?vti=obc4rpxf7q4nd6gesb-1-81

Call a qualified electrician or the property owner if there are signs of corroded connections or faulty wiring.

Is It Dangerous if a Fuse Keeps Tripping? 

A fuse that keeps tripping is dangerous to individuals and to the home. Do not continue using your steamer or anything else that results in repeated fuses or circuits tripping when you plug it in or turn it to the on position. 

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions when using any type of steamer. Failure to do this one simple step can potentially result in damage to your steamer, the steamer shorting the circuit, or electrical shock to yourself. One example is that an article in Spruce informs readers to plug the steamer mop in as the last step. This is because a steamer mop heats up very fast. Waiting until after you plug in the mop to attach the pads or to fill the water reservoir is potentially dangerous. 

The Electrical Safety Foundation International indicates that an appliance that “repeatedly blows a fuse or trips a circuit breaker could indicate a defect that may cause a fire or electrical shock.” The foundation also indicates that home electrical fires cause 51,000 fires in the U.S. every year. 

Your steamer should stop shorting the circuit once you follow these steps. If your circuit keeps tripping, do not use the steamer. Contact a qualified electrician or your landlord to determine the cause. Stay safe, not sorry. 

Does your circuit breaker trip every time you use your steamer? Found out why it happens and how to stop it today.