tumble dryer tripping

Tumble Dryer Keeps Tripping – Causes and Solutions

If your tumble dryer keeps tripping the circuit breaker, there are certain things you can check.

Below, we’ll cover everything that may be causing your tumble to trip the circuit and what you can do to fix the issues.

The best place to start identifying is with the most common issue, so that’s where we’ll start.


Cause 1: Faulty Heating Element

dryer heating element

One of the biggest causes of tumble dryers tripping the circuit is a faulty heating element, so this is the best place to start. 

The heating element heats the air that circulates around the tumble dryer and dries your clothes. When the element is faulty, it can short the circuit.

The check the heating element, you’ll need to:

  1. Unplug the tumble dryer
  2. Pull the tumble dryer out from the wall
  3. Remove the panels on the dryer
  4. Locate the heating element (check the manual for the tumble dryer, or look this up on Google if you aren’t sure)
  5. Once you’ve found the tumble dryer, use a multimeter to test each terminal. If the terminals have continuity to the case of the dryer, it means the element is faulty.
  6. If the heating element is faulty, you’ll need to replace it. This should be a case of removing a few bolts, unplugging the cables and installing a new one.
  7. With the new heating element in place, put the tumble dryer back together and give a test.

If the heating element did pass the continuity test, you can move on to other common problem areas.

The heating element assembly

dryer heating element assembly

Sometimes when the heating element has failed, it can short the heating housing unit. This then causes the tumble dryer to trip the circuit breaker. 

So, if your heating element is faulty, checking the heating element assembly is also worth doing, just in case.

To check the assembly, you need to:

  1. Unplug the tumble dryer
  2. Pull the tumble dryer out
  3. Remove the panels
  4. Locate the heating element assembly (this will be in the same place as the heating element you found earlier).
  5. Use a multimeter to test the terminals on the assembly for continuity. Again, if it has continuity to the case, it is faulty.
  6. If the assembly is faulty, it will need to be replaced. Replacing the assembly isn’t too difficult; there are plenty of videos showing how to replace the heating element assembly on a tumble dryer that will be really useful.
  7. Once replaced, put the tumble dryer back together and give it a test.


Cause 2: Faulty Drive Motor

If the drive motor of your tumble dryer is faulty, it can short out internally, and this will make the tumble dryer short out the circuit breaker repeatedly.

To check the drive motor, you’ll need to:

  1. Unplug the dryer
  2. Pull the tumble dryer out from the wall and remove the panels
  3. Locate the drive motor (again, videos and the tumble dryer manual can help here)
  4. Use a multimeter to test the drive motor for continuity.
  5. If the tests show that the drive motor windings are shorted out, you’ll need to replace the motor. These cost around £10 depending on the model, and are fairly straightforward to change. However, try and find a video of someone changing the drive motor on the model of tumble dryer you have for help.
  6. Reassemble the dryer and give it a test.

If you don’t find any faults with the drive motor, it’s time to move on to the next possible cause.


Cause 3: The Terminal Block Has a Faulty Wire

A tumble dryer has a series of power cables running all over the machine to different buttons, motors, sensors and things like that.

They all come together at the terminal block. If one of these wires is faulty, it can trip the entire circuit, so this is something to check too.

To check the terminal block, you’ll need to

  1. Unplug the dryer, pull it out and remove the panels
  2. Locate the terminal block (the manual will help here)
  3. Check all of the wires to see if there are any loose connections. If there are, tighten them.
  4. If any wires appear to be arcing, brittle or not in the best condition, replace them.
  5. Then, reassemble the dryer and give your handy work a test.


Cause 4: Circuit Breaker Is Worn Out

If you’ve checked over everything in the tumble dryer and nothing is screaming out that it is faulty or needs replacing, it could be the circuit itself.

Over time, circuit breakers can become worn out and weak. If this is the case, you’ll want to hire a qualified electrician to replace the circuit breaker.

circuit breaker repair


Less Common Causes

If you’re really struggling to find any faults with your dryer or the circuit, it is time to call in the big guns. There are many tumble dryer repair specialists around the UK that can help get your tumble dryer up and running again.

However, ask for a quote before work begins. Sometimes, you may find that it is cheaper to buy a new tumble dryer than have one repaired.