A dishwasher is usually connected to a GFCI breaker or a GFCI-protected outlet. It is not uncommon for the breaker to trip repeatedly, often interrupting the dishwasher’s washing cycle.
While you may be able to occasionally complete the wash cycle by resetting the breaker, you can’t always be there to reset it when it trips.
It is important to understand the underlying cause and find a permanent fix for why the GFCI breaker keeps tripping.
Why your Dishwasher’s GFCI Breaker may be Tripping
If the dishwasher GFCI trips, it may be because of:
#1. A ground fault in the dishwasher, where a live conductor gets into contact with the body of the dishwasher probably because of faulty wiring or damaged insulation.
Is the power cord damaged? Are there any burn marks or signs of frayed cables that may be responsible for the tripping of the breaker?
If so, replace the power cord or damaged cable and check if the tripping stops.
#2. A ground fault in the electrical circuit supplying electricity to the dishwasher. It is also possible the electrical circuit wiring supplying power to the dishwasher may be damaged- the insulation may be damaged.
Are you able to connect the dishwasher to another GFCI-protected outlet (separate circuit)?
Does it still trip? You can use this to determine whether the fault is limited to a particular circuit or elsewhere.
#3. The GFCI breaker is faulty. A faulty breaker can also trip repeatedly when there is no ground fault condition.
Connect the dishwasher to another outlet with a GFCI breaker and check if it still trips.
If it does not trip, it is probably an issue with the GFCI breaker. Replace it and check if the breaker stops tripping.
What it means when a GFCI breaker trips
It usually means there’s a ground fault -leakage of current to the body of the dishwasher or to the ground path that would otherwise pose a risk of injury or death from electrocution.
This may be because the power cord insulation is damaged, connecting wires are loose, or frayed.
Why the GFCI Breaker Trips Immediately?
Depending on the nature of the fault and whether it happens immediately or is delayed and initiated by say, the buildup of moisture, the breaker may trip immediately or after a while.
Does a Dishwasher need GFCI protection?
The importance of GFCI breaker
Likely yes, it is a requirement in several local electrical codes and is intended to offer protection to you in the event that there is a ground fault that may result in you or a member of your family being electrocuted.
Broken insulation from frayed power cables can spark or energize the body of the dishwasher posing a risk of electrical shock.
That said, depending on where you live and what the local electrical code specifies, the dishwasher may not need GFCI protection.
To be sure, contact a qualified electrician who is knowledgeable about the applicable electrical code requirements of your area.
If the GFCI breaker to which the dishwasher is connected trips repeatedly it may be that there is a ground fault in the appliance, the wiring, or that the GFCI breaker itself is malfunctioning.