It is sure to cause inconvenience if your dryer keeps tripping breaker with a load of damp clothes inside. As you need an immediate solution, you can troubleshoot this problem easily, as indicated in this guide. But, first, you need to identify the root cause of the problem. So, check the following possible causes to restore the function of your dryer.
Use necessary safety precautions to avoid personal harm and injury while carrying out the repairs and replacements. If you are inexperienced with electrical appliances, make sure to get it done by a technician.
Possible Causes for Dryer Tripping Breaker
Start by checking the power outlet of the dryer. Next, plug another appliance in this outlet and check if the circuit breaker trips off. If the breaker trips, the possible fault would be in the electrical outlet and should be replaced.
If there is no problem with the power outlet, here are other possible causes that your dryer keeps blowing breaker. Check and compare them with your situation and determine the possible cause of the defect.
Heating Element Failure
A major reason the dryer keeps tripping breaker is a failing heating element. The function of the heating element is to heat the air that dries the clothes eventually. If it creates a short circuit by contacting the housing of the dryer, then the circuit breaker would trip immediately. So here’s how you can check the heating element of the dryer.
- Turn off the power supply to the dryer and pull it out from the wall so that you have enough room to access it.
- Remove the panels and locate the heating element. Get the help of the user manual if you cannot locate it.
- Then test each terminal of the heating element for continuity using a multimeter.
- If the test indicates the presence of continuity between the coil and the covering, it has been shorted. If so, you need to replace the heating element.
- After replacing the heating element, check it again for continuity.
- Finally, reassemble the dyer by reversing the order you disassembled to locate the component. Then you can check whether this solved the tripping issue.
Similarly, a defective heating element assembly can also cause the tripping of the circuit breaker. You can check the heating element assembly similarly as indicated above. Check each terminal of the heating element assembly using a multimeter for continuity. If the heating element assembly has continuity to the case, it is defective and needs to be replaced. Once again, check it after the replacement to confirm that it has solved the problem. If not, you need to check the other possibly defective components.
Electric dryers have a terminal block where the power cords are attached. Loosely connected wires can cause electric arcs and destroy a part of the terminal block or the whole power source. If this happens, the wires would short against the covering of the dryer, causing the dryer to trip immediately. This might be the reason your dryer keeps blowing breaker. Although this is a rare occurrence, it can be the cause if all other components are checked and found to be functioning well.
You can check the terminal block as indicated here.
- Turn off the dyer and disconnect it from the power supply.
- Locate the terminal block using the dryer’s user manual.
- Check whether there are any loose wires and tighten if there are any.
- Check any possible signs of damaged wires due to arcs or shorts and replace them.
- After checking everything and fixing them in place, turn on the dryer and check whether the problem has been solved. If the dryer keeps tripping circuit breaker, you can check the next possible defective component.
If the drive motor is faulty, the dryer will short circuit internally, causing the circuit breaker to trip. Like other parts, check the motor for continuity using a multimeter. Here’s how you can check the drive motor of the dryer.
- Turn off the dryer and disconnect the power supply before you start working.
- Pull the dryer out from the wall and remove the panels to access the motor.
- Locate the drive motor, and if you cannot identify it, you can refer to the user manual.
- Check the continuity of the drive motor windings using a multimeter.
- If the windings of the motor have continuity, then it is short-circuited, and you need to replace the drive motor. If this does not show any defects, the drive motor may not be faulty.
Internal Short Circuits
If any internal short occurs, the dryer trips breaker immediately to avoid any damage. This might occur due to defective components such as the door switch, timer, motor, or main switch. You can use an ohmmeter to check the resistance and determine any short-circuited internal component. If you find defects in the components, replace them and check whether the problem has been resolved.
Another possibility is that the dryer’s start switch might be stuck in the ON position. This will lead the motor to draw more current, resulting in the breaker tripping. So make sure to check this possibility when checking possible short circuits.
Sometimes the motor bearings of the dryer can wear out over time. It can happen either naturally or due to the accumulation of particles. Due to this, the bearings rotate with higher resistance. Hence, more current is drawn into the motor, causing the circuit breaker to trip. This problem keeps increasing, and thus, the dryer keeps tripping circuit breaker.
Weak Circuit Breaker
Sometimes the reason behind this problem is none other than the circuit breaker itself. Over time, circuit breakers can get weak and trip off if the amperage is below the draw limit. But to confirm that this is the issue, you need to check the wire connections, defective dryer components, and the current drawn inside. If no defects are found in these, you need to get the circuit breaker checked by an electrician.
Sometimes recent power surges might also have damaged the circuit breaker. You could try resetting the circuit breaker even if you didn’t lose power. If the circuit breaker is over 15 – 20 years old, it is more likely to be weak and might need replacement. The circuit breaker replacement should be carried out only by a qualified technician. Do not attempt to replace the circuit breaker, as it could be dangerous if not done correctly.
Why Does The Dryer Trip After 10 Minutes?
If your dryer keeps tripping circuit breaker after 10 minutes of operation, there are two possible reasons.
- Weak Circuit Breaker: This might happen if the circuit breaker is weak and does not pull the required amount of current. This should be tested while the dryer is running and must be performed by an experienced person only. Check the current drawn and test the two lines of the voltage supply. If the current is less than 30A, the circuit breaker is weak and should be replaced.
- Defective Heating Element: If the dryer trips off the circuit breaker, it could also be due to a problem in the heating element. Remove both lines and check the heating element for resistance using an ohmmeter. If the element is in good condition, the resistance should be 7.8 to 11.8 Ohms. If the reading from your heating element is not within these values, then the heating element is faulty, and you need to replace it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What will cause the air dryer to keep popping off?
If the current draw is greater than normal, it can cause circuit overloads on the dryer. A circuit breaker can also be tripped due to bad bearings, motor windings, or a defective start switch.
How many amps does a dryer pull?
Most residential dryers need a circuit breaker of 30A to support the current requirement. The NEC indicates that a dryer should have a 30-amp, double-pole breaker wired with 10 AWG wires for proper function and safety.
How do I reset my dryer breaker?
The circuit breaker for the dryer will be in the main panel of your house. It is a double-gang breaker consisting of two breakers connected by a bar. You can see the orange warning flag on both breakers if this is tripped. To reset it, flip the bar off and then flip it on again.
How much does it cost to replace a circuit breaker?
The average cost of a circuit breaker switch replacement is from $150 to $200. But this might be even as low as $5 to $40, depending on the type, and most of the cost is for labor. It will take up to 2 hours for the replacement to be done.
These are the possible causes that your dryer keeps tripping the breaker when turned on. Try to figure out the exact reason and fix it accordingly. However, if you have no experience or proper knowledge in replacing electrical components, you should contact a professional to get it done. Despite the circuit breaker tripping off, you may have other issues with your dryer. For example, here’s how you can troubleshoot if your dryer keeps shutting off after a few minutes.
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