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Why Does Your Refrigerator Keep Tripping the Breaker? 3 Reasons

Written by Edwin Jones / Fact checked by Andrew Wright

why does your refrigerator keep tripping the breaker

A refrigerator is an indispensable appliance in modern households. The importance of refrigerators cannot be understated as, without them, our food products will surely perish and rot easily.

Due to its vital duties in households, refrigerators tend to consume much electricity.

Issues such as when your refrigerator trips breaker when plugged in, or even freezer tripping breaker are prevalent in the homes of people who are not electrically savvy.

Why does your refrigerator keep tripping the breaker? If you’re unaware, some of the reasons why your refrigerator keeps tripping breakers are the following: busted internal mechanism of the fridge, bad circuitry, and an aging breaker.

Hence, if your refrigerator breaker keeps tripping, then this article guide might be for you. Read more below to find out the reason why your cooling appliance might constantly be tripping your circuit breakers.

Primary Causes Why a Refrigerator Keeps Tripping Circuit Breaker (Circuit-Related)


Before delving into and investigating whether the tripping problem is due to the internal mechanisms of the refrigerator, we should first check prominent circuitry issues.

You see, unchecked circuit line problems can lead to electrical fire and electrocution, hence the reason why we should first check our refrigeration circuitry — to prevent the escalation of electrical-related accidents.

To outline, I have listed below the leading circuitry-based reasons as to why your fridge breaker might constantly be tripping.

1. Overloaded Circuit


An overloaded circuit happens when an appliance draws a significant electrical load through a lower-rated line. The inability of the circuit line to handle the electrical load demand by an electricity-hungry appliance places undue stress on the circuit, which could result in constant breaker tripping.

In the case of fridges, you should check whether the refrigerator itself is the reason for the constant tripping by disconnecting all other appliances within the circuit line one by one. If the line still continues to trip despite other appliances being unplugged, then you may need to conduct a further in-depth investigation.

2. Short Circuit

Simply speaking, a short circuit happens when a “hot” wire comes into contact with a “neutral” wire, creating an electric surge. Heat is then produced, which could melt the insulation of these wires, exacerbating the issue, which could eventually lead to fire.

In the case of fridges, if you plugged in the refrigerator directly just before the breaker tripped, disconnect it and plug in a different electrical appliance. If the second appliance works without any issues, then the cause of the short circuit could most likely be from the fridge itself. Learn more details how to fix short circuits here

3. Ground Fault Surging


A ground fault surging is quite similar to a short circuit, the only difference being with how the electrical issue is generated. For this type of electrical circuit issue, the “hot” wire contacts with the ground wire of a circuit or the breaker box, creating a tremendous electric surge.

Check your electric switches for any discoloration to determine whether a ground fault is your line’s problem. Any burnt markings near “hot” and neutral wires are a telltale sign of ground fault surging.

Common Refrigerator Problems that Cause a Breaker to Trip


Now that we’ve sorted that out, we can now head onto the common refrigerator mechanical issues that may cause constant breaker trippings.

I advise that you do carefully inspect the refrigerator’s mechanisms to prevent any damage to the fridge’s parts.

1. Faulty Compressor

The refrigerator’s compressor is mainly responsible for receiving low-pressure gas from the evaporator, directly converting it to high-pressure gas through mechanical compression.

Hence, if there is an earthing problem with the compressor, the fridge may constantly trip the circuit breaker. When this happens, you must examine the circuit lines to check whether it is indeed an earthing problem with the compressor.

To check the compressor, you may unplug the compressor’s power hookups. If the breaker no longer trips when you plug in the refrigerator, then the tripping problem may be due to a faulty compressor.

2. Defrost Heater Issues


For the sake of brevity, a refrigerator’s defrost heater’s duty is to prevent the accumulation of heavy ice inside the fridge.

The most common issue for defrosters is grounding or earth leakage. To check for this specific issue, you can disconnect the defroster from the main electrical components of the refrigerator.

If the tripping stops when the defroster is disconnected, then this part may be mainly responsible as to why the fridge keeps tripping circuit breaker.

Moreover, you can also check this part by resetting the defrost timer, forcing the defrosting cycle to begin. If you notice that the breaker begins tripping when the defroster starts to perform the cycle, then the latter may be compromised by being water-damaged (a common problem) or shorting through damaged insulation.

3. Broken Fridge Fan

The fridge’s fan helps distribute the produced cold air throughout the refrigerator. It is an important mechanism, and also among the common problematic internal components due to its constant movement.

Like with the defrosting heater, the fan may be experiencing earth leakage. Moreover, you can also choose to either clean or replace the fan if you think that this is the reason why your fridge constantly trips the circuit breaker.

4. Broken Thermostat


Though it is rare for a thermostat to break, this part remains to be a mechanism of interest when it comes to tripping breakers.

As you see, the thermostat is solely responsible for dictating the amount of power the fridge will gather from the circuit line. If the thermostat is faulty and is set at a high rating, then it may overload the circuit, causing a tripped breaker.

To determine whether it is the thermostat causing the issue, you can check by conducting a temperature test within the unit.


A constant headache, the question of “why does your refrigerator keep tripping the breaker?” remains an important question for us homeowners.

Evidently, we all don’t want our important appliances — specifically, our refrigeration unit — to trip our breakers due to unknown reasons constantly. In this case, I have written this article to help you further understand the reason as to why your fridge constantly trips breakers.

If you have any questions or you just want to add something to our discussion, then accordingly do so in the comment section below.

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