Why Is My Dryer Tripping?

Jul 25, 2023, 15:15pm

If your dryer trips, the power jumps as soon as you start a drying cycle, there are several things you can test to solve your problem:

  • Test the power outlet
  • Check the electrical panel
  • Test the continuity of the dryer power cord
  • Test the resistance of the dryer
  • Test the dryer motor
  • Check the cold air fan
  • Test the water pump
  • Test the electronic board of the dryer

In the busy flow of home life, a malfunctioning appliance can cause significant disruption. One of the most perplexing problems can occur when your dryer starts tripping the circuit breaker or the RCD (Residual Current Device). This can be alarming, frustrating, and confusing. However, there are several common reasons why this might happen. This article will explore these issues and provide some potential solutions.

Why Is My Dryer Tripping?

Overloading the Dryer

Much like overloading can cause your dryer to mangle clothes, it can also cause the machine to work harder than it should, potentially tripping the circuit breaker. When the dryer is stuffed to the brim, the motor has to exert more power to spin the drum, which can increase electrical demand and lead to a trip.

Tip: To prevent this, avoid filling your dryer more than three-quarters full.

Faulty Wiring

Poor or faulty wiring is one of the most common reasons for tripping. Wiring issues can lead to electrical shorts, causing the circuit breaker to trip as a safety measure. Faulty wiring can occur within the dryer itself or in your home’s electrical system.

Tip: If you suspect a wiring issue, it’s crucial to get a professional electrician to check your dryer and your home’s electrical wiring.


When a dryer is not properly ventilated, it can overheat, causing the circuit breaker to trip. This can occur if the vent that expels the hot air from your dryer to outside your home is blocked with lint or debris, or if the internal air duct within the dryer is blocked.

Tip: Regularly clean the lint filter, and ensure the external vent is not blocked. Periodically, it’s wise to also have the internal air duct professionally cleaned.

Faulty Components

A defective heating element or a malfunctioning motor can also lead to your dryer tripping the circuit breaker. If the heating element has a short circuit, it may draw too much electricity. Similarly, a motor struggling to turn the drum due to wear and tear or a mechanical issue can overdraw power.

Tip: If you suspect an internal component is the cause, call a professional technician to inspect your dryer. They can test the parts in question and replace them if necessary.

Circuit Overload

If your dryer shares a circuit with other appliances, especially other large appliances, the combined demand may exceed the capacity of the circuit, causing the breaker to trip. This is more likely in older homes with fewer circuits and less overall electrical capacity.

Tip: Try to ensure your dryer has its dedicated circuit. If it isn’t possible, avoid using other large appliances on the same circuit simultaneously.

Ground Fault

If your dryer is experiencing a ground fault, it will cause the RCD to trip. This situation occurs when there’s an unintended electrical path between a power source and a grounded surface. These faults can be caused by damaged insulation, conductive dust, or water, among other things.

Tip: Ground faults can be dangerous and should be addressed by a qualified electrician immediately.

Why Is My Dryer Tripping?


The motor is located at the bottom of one side of the dryer: it can be mechanically blocked or jammed if there is too much moisture or rust.

  • The motor is powered by several plugs with connectors: remove the connectors, if necessary with a screwdriver.
  • Set the multimeter to the lowest resistance value, 200 or 600 ohms.
  • Position the multimeter leads on the motor connectors.
  • If the multimeter reads 1 or OL, the motor is bad and needs to be replaced.


The water pump, also called the drain pump, is usually located at the bottom of the unit. It can be accessed from the side or rear.

  • Remove tubing and connectors from pump. Check if its propeller rotates freely and if the float is blocked.
  • Then set the multimeter to the minimum resistance value, and then place the multimeter probes on the pump motor terminals.
  • If you find a value of zero ( 1 or OL ), then the pump is off and needs to be replaced.

In conclusion, a dryer that keeps tripping can be symptomatic of several issues, from overloading and faulty wiring to overheating, malfunctioning internal components, circuit overload, and ground faults. Most of these issues are best dealt with by professionals due to the inherent risks in working with electrical appliances. So, if your dryer continues to trip the circuit breaker or RCD, it’s advisable to get in touch with a qualified electrician or technician.