Why Your Tumble Dryer is Tripping the Electrics

figuring out why a tumble dryer is tripping the electrics

When a tumble dryer starts to trip the electrics, it can be difficult to figure out what’s going on and what you can do to fix it.

Most of the time it comes down to a few parts on the machine that can be responsible for causing the electrics to trip in your home.

We will be going through every reason that a tumble dryer causes the electrics to trip or fuse in your home.

It’s important to remember that before you inspect your machine or try to carry out any repairs you isolate it from the electrical supply for safety reasons.

The heating element is faulty

Low electrical insulation and water damage can cause a heating element to fail and start to trip the electrics in your home.

replacing the heating element on a tumble dryer

When a heating element gets a crack or a break in the circuit then the electricity will leak out and touch the cabinet. This is called low electrical insulation and causes the electrics to trip.

You can test a heating element by running an insulation test with an electrical multimeter. If you don’t have access to one, it might be best to just replace the heater.

Replacing the heating element on a tumble dryer is usually quite straightforward and can be done by removing the back panel.

It’s also worth mentioning that if the dryer has been exposed to too much moisture or there has been a blockage in the condenser that’s causing water to go onto the heater then this can also cause a heater to fail. This is more common in condenser tumble dryers.

The motor has broken

Similar to when the heating element fails, the motor can also have an electrical insulation breakdown. This is more common on older tumble dryers.

motor from a tumble dryer

An indication that there has been something wrong with the motor recently is if the machine has been making any loud noises when operating or the drum doesn’t seem to be turning properly.

You might have even experienced your tumble dryer making a noise but not turning which is a sign that the motor has failed and needs to be replaced.

Too much moisture

It seems obvious that electricity and water don’t mix well together. The same goes for your tumble dryer even though they are designed to remove moisture from your clothes.

If you have recently had a leak in your home or your dryer is in an area that suffers from dampness, then it might be causing the electricity to trip.

A sign that there is a high moisture content near your dryer is if the display has steam or condensation dripping from it.

It’s also a good idea to pull the dryer out and check the wall near the back of the dryer for signs of condensation.

If you think that the dryer has gotten wet and it’s causing the electrics to trip, then you should move it to a different location where it can dry out and leave it for a few days before trying to operate it again.

Long-term water damage can cause parts of your dryer to break including the heater, motor, and control board.

The mains filter has failed

The mains filter or otherwise known as the suppressor is what the power cable connects to inside your dryer.

mains filter from a tumble dryer

If you remove the lid, then you should be able to see the filter where the lead goes into at the back of the machine.

They are known for failing and sometimes will even trip the electrics when they do.

You can sometimes see physical damage to the mains filter which explains the electrical problem because more often than not the wires will be exposed and sometimes touch the cabinet.

If the mains filter looks to be damaged, then it will need to be replaced with a new one because it can’t usually be repaired.

It’s worth inspecting the electrical cable at the same time because if the cable has got caught or trapped then it might have damaged the wiring inside which can also lead to the electricity tripping.

The control board has failed

The final thing that you should investigate is the main control board. This will usually be the one behind the display of the machine.

It is rare for the control board to cause the electrics to trip, but it does happen sometimes.

This is usually when it has been damaged by water or has had physical damage to the circuits.

Sometimes by visually inspecting the board, you can sometimes see the problem, especially if there has been an electrical short because it will leave burn marks.

It might be worth considering the value of the machine if the circuit board has failed because some manufacturers and models aren’t worth repairing if the control board has failed.

The part can often outweigh the cost of a new machine. The best way to find this out is by entering the model number of your dryer into an online spare parts retail website to check.


That’s everything you need to know about a tumble dryer that is tripping the electrics in your home.

Here is a quick summary of everything you should be looking out for:

  • Check the heating element – Water damage and electrical insulation breakdown on the heater can cause the electrics to trip
  • Check the drive motor – Older dryers can have faults with the electrical insulation of the motor breaking down and this is usually paired with trouble spinning the drum
  • Make sure the machine is not damp – Too much moisture in the area where the dryer is located can cause electrical faults and can lead to more serious problems
  • Investigate the mains filter – This is where the mains cable connects to and sometimes can get damaged leading to electrical faults
  • Make sure the control board is in good condition – If it has been wet or has had an electrical short it can sometimes cause the electrics to trip in your home

Some of these faults are similar to when a tumble dryer is not starting the cycle and just buzzing so you might want to go and check out our guide on that.