If a washing machine keeps tripping breaker, it’s often due to a number of reasons. Usually, it could be because of an uncomplicated easy to solve issue such as poor connection.
The problem can also stem from the washing machine itself, as in the cases of malfunctioning motors, timers, control switches, leakages, damaged drain pumps, and safety locks and door latch assemblies. You also shouldn’t rule out a broken circuit breaker.
To know the most complete answer to the question, “Why does my washer keep tripping the breaker?” Please take the time to read the information below for it expounds on these causes.
Table of Contents
- The Most Common Causes of Washing Machine-Related Circuit Breaker Problems and Why They Happen
- What Are the Signs That the Circuit Breaker Is the Issue?
- Could It Be Due to Faulty Wiring, Too?
- What Causes a GFCI Trip?
- Is There a Quick, Effective Fix for a Washing Machine that Trips a Circuit Breaker?
The Most Common Causes of Washing Machine-Related Circuit Breaker Problems and Why They Happen
1. The motor has gone out of commission or has become wet.
Washing machine motors that malfunction can trigger a circuit breaker trip. The same goes for motors that rotate too quickly, to the point that they cause a fault to occur.
Why does this happen? It could be because of its age. It no longer has the capability to draw the right amount of power without spinning at a faster-than-normal rate causing excess heat on the coils. A trip can also be triggered by an aged motor that ends up drawing too much power just to fulfill its purpose.
Since washing machines have varying designs, we can’t rule out the possibility of water making its way to it, causing the trip, too.
2. Leaks happen.
Have you ever witnessed a leaky washing machine? Homeowners that ignore this will more than likely have a circuit breaker tripping problem soon. Leaks themselves already have a handful of causes.
You may be dealing with clogged drain holes or loose or disconnected components, particularly drain holes and drain pumps. The hoses themselves may have been damaged, causing water to seep out. These may not trigger a trip instantaneously, but if left unresolved, you’ll more than likely encounter it over time. Besides, why bother using a leaking washer?
Incidentally, washing machine leaks aren’t limited to water. Did you know that its heating element may leak electricity, too? This causes a breaker to trip if it continues.
3. The timer is out of whack.
A washing machine tripping the circuit breaker can be down to a busted timer as well. The timer coordinates how the machine functions. What if it results in prolonging a specific cycle, for example, to the point that it triggers a trip as a result of the motor drawing too much power? That can be a possibility.
Another thing to consider involves the timer’s wiring melting or becoming welded and the possibility of causing a short circuit. While rare, there’s always a chance for this to happen in various brands.
4. Safety locks and door latch assemblies fail.
Another component-related cause of a washing machine that trips a circuit breaker, sometimes, you have no control over this happening. Why? Because you can never tell when electricity in your area may be cut off. There’s always that possibility.
When that happens, it may cause the safety lock to get stuck. Once stuck, it may trigger a short circuit or for the foam to easily get to it, especially if you use too much detergent or any applicable soap.
As for faulty door assembly latches, one of the main reasons why they trigger trips are loose connections. Exposed, poor wiring may cause short circuits as well.
5. Control switches malfunction.
Though relatively rarer than the other issues mentioned here, I can’t completely ignore the possibility of this causing a trip. I’m specifically talking about the control switches that measure water levels found in most washing machines.
These switches are responsible for directing power to components that require them. Once it begins to lose that capability, it may end up drawing too much power or attempting to send electricity to all parts at once, forcing the breaker to trip.
6. Drain pumps become damaged.
Since these drains fulfill the essential action of removing excess water from your washing machine, this may also cause leaks that trigger trips. The pump may have been damaged, to the point that it no longer drains the water. However, don’t cross out the possibility of a simple blockage causing it.
Other scenarios to consider include the pump triggering a short circuit or that it’s actually the one that’s leaking.
What Are the Signs That the Circuit Breaker Is the Issue?
Circuit breakers are not immune to wear and tear. If the washing machine trips the breaker when turned on, it could be because a short circuit has occurred. This problem needs to be confirmed from the get-go simply because it’s a warning sign that you can’t ignore.
Short circuits can cause fires, and if they’re due to a circuit breaker that has malfunctioned, then you have to replace it as soon as possible.
Could It Be Due to Faulty Wiring, Too?
Possibly. Of course, this is strictly taking into consideration the washing machine’s wiring only, and not the home’s electrical wiring, even though that can also be a problem.
You’ll have to open up the washing machine if this is the case. Remove the panel then check for damages on the wires. There may be some that have been cut, burnt, damaged, or melted by heat. Even water can be a factor since it can cause rust on the connectors.
I’m willing to bet that the wiring is also an issue based on when the trips occur. If it always happens when the pump empties, for example, that’s commonly the case.
What Causes a GFCI Trip?
Another common issue that homeowners encounter is when the washer trips the GFCI on spin cycle. Anyone using a GFCI outlet for their washing machines obviously has a chance to encounter this issue at any given time.
Oftentimes, the washer will work fine, at least, until it starts the spin cycle, which causes the trip. Why does it occur during that step only? It could be because the capacitor can’t draw adequate power since it’s been damaged. It’s a component that’s essential in building up the torque necessary for the motor to start up properly.
Normally, the washing machine trips the breaker during the spin cycle because the capacitor no longer has the capability to perform its main function. Other causes depending on the brand of the washer include:
- Damaged, melted wiring
- Blow fuses in the washing machine
Is There a Quick, Effective Fix for a Washing Machine that Trips a Circuit Breaker?
Considering the myriad problems that can cause it, the most reasonable step to take is to pinpoint the issues then fix them. Arguably, that’s how you solve most circuit breaker problems in the first place. The tricky part stems from certain problems that are too complex to solve and will require professional help.
Unless you have the time, skills, and knowledge to conduct electrical diagnostics and repair, I highly advise you to rely on an electrician or technician to do them for you. A majority of the issues tied to breaker trips stem from worn-out, broken parts. In most cases, these can only be fixed by buying and installing a replacement component altogether.
Due to the number of possible causes tied to washing machine keeps tripping breaker, it’s important to take the time to pinpoint it first before deciding on anything. There are too many variables involved, to the point that it’s better to rely on professional services to diagnose and solve the problem for you. Unless you’re feeling adventurous, I don’t recommend DIY with something as technical as repairing a washing machine’s electrical system.