Why Does My Whirlpool Washer Keep Tripping the Breaker? (6 Causes & Step-by-Step Fixes)

Imagine you’re at home, trying to complete your laundry tasks, but your washing machine is causing problems by repeatedly tripping the breaker. Worry not, we’re here to help you explore the different possible reasons behind your washer’s behavior so you can get back on track with your laundry routine.

The most common reasons for a Whirlpool washer to trip the breaker are an overloaded circuit, an electrical short, a ground fault, a problem with the drain pump, or a problem with the motor, a control switch, the control board, or the timer.

Read on to learn more about how breakers work and what normally causes them to trip. Then, we’ll cover the most common issues and tackle them step-by-step to fix them!

Why do breakers usually trip?

There are really only three main causes of a tripped breaker:

  • Overloaded circuit
  • Short circuits
  • Ground faults

Overloaded Circuit

An overloaded circuit occurs when there are too many electrical devices drawing power from the circuit simultaneously. This raises the amperage, which causes the circuit breaker to trip to protect your electrical system from overheating and causing a fire. To solve the problem, try:

  • Unplugging unnecessary devices.
  • Spreading the electrical load across various circuits.

Short Circuits

A short circuit happens when a live wire comes into contact with a neutral or ground wire, leading to a sudden surge in current. The increased current flow can trigger the circuit breaker to trip and protect your home from potential electrical fires. To address a short circuit:

  • Check for damaged or exposed wires.
  • Inspect all outlets, switches, and appliances for signs of damage.
  • Consult with an electrician for further diagnosis and repair.

Ground Faults

Ground faults are similar to short circuits but involve the live wire coming into contact with a grounded object, like an appliance or metal conduit. These faults cause an imbalance in the electrical circuit and lead to the breaker tripping. To deal with ground faults:

  • Ensure all appliances are grounded properly.
  • Check for water leaks or moisture issues near your electrical system.
  • Consider installing ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI) outlets in your home for added protection.

The Most Common Reasons for a Whirlpool Washer to Trip the Breaker

Your Whirlpool washer may be tripping the breaker for several reasons. Let’s explore some of the most common causes:

  • Motor issues: If the motor becomes wet, goes out of commission, or has worn-out brushes, it can trip the breaker. Keep an eye on your washer’s spin cycle to identify potential motor problems.
  • Leaks: Water leaks can lead to electrical short circuits and tripping of the breaker. Regularly check your washer for any signs of leakage.
  • Timer malfunction: A faulty timer can cause issues with your washer’s operation and lead to tripping the breaker. If your washing cycle durations seem irregular, the timer might be the culprit.
  • Door latch assembly: A bad door latch assembly can prevent your washer from operating correctly and trip the breaker. Ensure that the door latch is functioning properly and firmly securing the washer door.
  • Control switches: Malfunctioning control switches like the water level control switch can cause your washer to trip the breaker. If you notice unusual water levels or inconsistent washer operations, check the control switches.
  • Drain pump: A damaged drain pump can cause electrical issues and trip the breaker. Listen for any unusual sounds from the pump or water not draining properly as these might indicate a problem.

Below is a table that summarizes the various problems your Whirlpool washer may face that could cause it to trip the breaker, along with the associated potential causes and suggested solutions.

Problem AreaPotential CausesSuggested Solutions
Overloaded Circuit BreakerToo many devices plugged in, loose wires, faulty water level control switch, malfunctioning door latch, faulty motor boardCheck for loose wires, inspect water level control switch, examine door latch assembly, evaluate motor control board, inspect drain pump, check switches
Electrical Short in Washer or OutletDamaged wiring, faulty motor, defective water level control switch, malfunctioning door latchIdentify the source, check the motor, inspect water level control switch, examine door latch assembly, review motor control board, assess drain pump
Ground FaultFaulty wiring, moisture intrusion, damaged componentsUnplug the appliance, check door latch assembly, inspect water level control switch, examine motor control board, check the drain pump
Drain Pump IssuesClogs, mechanical failure, electrical issuesCheck drain hose, clean drain pump filter, inspect door latch assembly, examine motor control board, check water level control switch
Motor IssuesOverheating, worn-out brushes, electrical failures, bearing issues, mechanical jams, control board issuesCheck the motor, inspect water level control switch, check motor control board, assess door latch assembly, evaluate drain pump
Control Switch/Board/Timer IssuesWear and tear, moisture exposure, electrical surges, software glitches, manufacturing defects, incorrect installation, corrosionTurn off power, check door latch assembly, inspect water level control switch, examine motor control board, assess the timer

Remember, for any complicated or hazardous issues, it’s always best to consult a professional to diagnose and repair your appliance safely.

The breaker’s circuit is overloaded

An overloaded circuit occurs when more electrical current is drawn than the circuit can safely handle, often due to too many devices being plugged in. This can cause overheating and potential fire risks.

How to fix a breaker’s circuit that is overloaded

When your Whirlpool washer keeps tripping the breaker, it might be due to an overloaded circuit. This can happen when there’s an electrical imbalance, causing the motor, control board, or other components to work harder than they should.

Let’s discuss how to fix an overloaded breaker’s circuit to avoid this issue in your appliance.

  1. Check for loose wires: Loose wires can come into contact and cause a short circuit, leading to an overloaded circuit breaker. Ensure that all wires are properly secured and positioned correctly.
  2. Inspect water level control switch: The water level control switch is responsible for regulating the water level in your washer. A faulty switch may lead to an increased workload on the motor, causing it to trip the breaker.
  3. Examine door latch assembly: The door latch assembly ensures your Whirlpool washer door is securely closed during the spin cycle. If it’s malfunctioning, the motor may struggle and trip the breaker.
  4. Evaluate motor control board: The motor control board governs the various functions of the motor. If it’s damaged or faulty, the motor could experience an overload and trip the breaker.
  5. Check drain pump: A malfunctioning drain pump can also lead to an overloaded circuit; examining and repairing or replacing the pump, if necessary, can help alleviate this situation.
  6. Inspect the switch: Check for any signs of wear and tear on the switch that trips the breaker – a worn-out switch may not work efficiently and could cause an overload.

By addressing the potential causes of an overloaded circuit, you can help to prevent your Whirlpool washer from consistently tripping the breaker, ensuring a safe and functional appliance for your household.

There is an electrical short in the washer or the outlet

An electrical short in the washer or the outlet occurs when electrical current bypasses the intended circuit pathway, usually due to damaged wiring or faulty components. This can lead to overheating, sparks, and potential fire hazards.

How to fix an electrical short in the washer or the outlet

  1. Identify the source of the issue: First, unplug the Whirlpool washer and try plugging another appliance into the same outlet. If the circuit breaker does not trip with the other appliance, the issue likely lies within the washer itself. Otherwise, the problem might be with the outlet or switch.
  2. Check the motor: Inside the washer, there could be an electrical short in the motor, causing it to trip the breaker during the spin cycle. Visually inspect the motor for any visible damage or signs of overheating.
  3. Inspect the water level control switch: The water level control switch could be defective and causing an electrical short. Examine the switch for any signs of damage or wear.
  4. Examine the door latch assembly: The door latch assembly, which ensures the door is securely closed during operation, might be faulty and causing the short. Check the door latch assembly for damage or wear.
  5. Review the motor control board: Motor control board issues might be responsible for tripping the breaker. Inspect the motor control board for any visible damage or signs of malfunction.
  6. Assess the drain pump: The drain pump is responsible for removing water from the washer during the drain cycle. It might be malfunctioning and causing the short. Inspect the drain pump for any visible damage, debris, or signs of malfunction.
  7. Hire a professional: If none of these steps resolve the issue, it is best to consult with a professional technician who can diagnose and repair the issue with your Whirlpool washer or outlet. They will have the expertise and tools necessary to ensure the washer is repaired safely and correctly.

There is a ground fault in the Whirlpool washer

A ground fault in the Whirlpool washer occurs when electrical current strays from its intended circuit and flows to the ground, usually through the appliance’s casing or other unintended pathways.

This happens due to faulty wiring, moisture intrusion, or damaged components and poses risks of electric shock or fire.

How to fix a ground fault in a Whirlpool washer

  1. Unplug the appliance: Always disconnect the appliance from the power source before attempting any repairs.
  2. Check the door latch assembly: A common issue related to ground faults in a Whirlpool washer may involve the door latch wires being exposed and shorted to the ground or an internal short circuit in the door latch assembly. Replace the door latch assembly if you find these issues.
  3. Inspect the water level control switch: Faulty wiring connections to the water level control switch may also cause your Whirlpool washer to trip the breaker. Examine the connections, clean any corroded terminals, and replace any damaged wires.
  4. Examine the motor control board: The motor control board might have a fault that could lead to a ground fault. Look for any burnt or damaged components and consider replacing the board if necessary.
  5. Check the drain pump: Verify that the drain pump is functioning correctly, as an issue with the pump may lead to a ground fault. Inspect the pump for visible damage and test its electrical connections. Replace the pump if necessary.
  6. Evaluate other components: In rare cases, other components of your Whirlpool washer, such as the motor or control board, may be responsible for the ground fault. Consult an appliance repair professional for further examination of these components.

There is a problem with the drain pump

A problem with the drain pump on a washer can occur for several reasons such as clogs from debris or small clothing items, mechanical failure due to wear and tear, or electrical issues like a malfunctioning motor.

Such problems prevent the washer from draining water effectively, leading to operational issues and potential water damage.

How to fix drain pump issues in a washer

A Whirlpool washer may trip the breaker if there is a problem with the drain pump. When the drain pump isn’t working correctly, excess water can remain in the washer and cause a malfunction in other internal components.

To fix drain pump issues, you can try several steps listed below:

  1. Check the drain hose: First, you should ensure that the drain hose isn’t kinked or clogged. Pull the washer away from the wall, inspect the hose, and straighten out any kinks or pinched areas.
  2. Clean the drain pump filter: Locate the drain pump filter by opening the dispenser drawer at the base of the washer. Remove the drawer, place a pan under the drain pump filter to catch water, and then remove the black hose from its clip. Drain the remaining water into the pan and clean the filter.
  3. Inspect the door latch assembly: Make sure the door latch switch is working correctly. If it’s faulty, the washer may not drain properly as the appliance can’t recognize that the door is closed. Replace the door latch assembly if necessary.
  4. Examine the motor control board: If the drain pump motor isn’t receiving power, it could be an issue with the motor control board. Confirm that all connections are secure and replace the motor control board if needed.
  5. Check the water level control switch: A malfunctioning water level control switch might cause the washer to think it’s full of water even when it isn’t, making the drain pump run continuously. Inspect the switch and replace if faulty.

When fixing the drain pump, it’s important to remember that additional components, such as the motor, appliance switch, and control board, can play a role in the proper draining of the Whirlpool washer.

There is a problem with the motor

Common motor problems in a washer and their typical causes include:

  1. Overheating: Often due to prolonged use, obstructed ventilation, or faulty wiring.
  2. Worn-out Brushes: Normal wear and tear can erode the carbon brushes, affecting motor performance.
  3. Electrical Failures: Shorts or open circuits can develop due to age, moisture, or faulty components.
  4. Bearing Issues: Bearings can wear out over time, causing noise and reduced efficiency.
  5. Capacitor Failure: A faulty or blown capacitor will affect the motor’s starting capability.
  6. Mechanical Jams: Foreign objects or misaligned parts can cause the motor to jam or stall.
  7. Control Board Issues: A malfunctioning control board can send incorrect signals, causing motor issues.

How to fix motor issues in a washer

Motor issues in a Whirlpool washer can cause the machine to trip the breaker. Let’s take a look at how to identify and fix motor issues in your washer.

  1. Check the motor: Unplug the washer and carefully remove the back panel. Put your hand inside and feel around the motor. If it seems flimsy or unsteady, the motor is likely damaged and needs to be replaced. In this situation, get in touch with a professional appliance repair technician.
  2. Water level control switch: The water level control switch can cause motor issues if it isn’t working properly. Make sure the washer isn’t overfilling or under-filling with water. If the water level doesn’t reach the appropriate level, it may need to replace the water level control switch.
  3. Motor control board: The motor control board is responsible for regulating the washer’s spin cycle. If it malfunctions, the washer may not spin or could trip the breaker. Test the motor control board by running an empty spin cycle. If the washer doesn’t spin, you may need to replace the motor control board.
  4. Door latch assembly: If the door latch assembly is damaged or not securely closed, the washer may not spin or could trip the breaker. Inspect the door latch for any visible damage and ensure that the door firmly closes. Replace the door latch assembly if necessary.
  5. Drain pump: A clogged or malfunctioning drain pump can cause the motor to overheat and trip the breaker. Check the drain pump for any obstructions and ensure it is functioning properly.

There is a problem with a control switch, control board, or timer

Problems with a control switch, control board, or timer in a clothes washer can occur for various reasons:

  1. Wear and Tear: Over time, mechanical switches and timers can degrade, affecting their functionality.
  2. Moisture Exposure: Humidity or water leaks can damage electronic components on the control board.
  3. Electrical Surges: Sudden voltage spikes can fry circuits or electrical components, leading to malfunctions.
  4. Software Glitches: For digital control boards, firmware issues can cause improper operation.
  5. Manufacturing Defects: Sometimes components are faulty from the factory, leading to early failure.
  6. Incorrect Installation: If these components were not installed correctly, they may not function as intended.
  7. Corrosion: Over time, metal contacts can corrode, affecting electrical conductivity and leading to faulty operation.
  8. User Error: Incorrect settings or operation can also cause apparent malfunctions, which might not actually be a hardware issue.

How to fix issues with a control switch, control board, or timer

If your Whirlpool washer keeps tripping the breaker, it might be due to a problem with a control switch, control board, or timer.

These components are essential in regulating the appliance’s functions, such as the motor, water level, and spin cycle, among others.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to fix issues with a control switch, control board, or timer:

  1. Turn off the power: Before you start working on your washer, disconnect the power supply for safety reasons, either by unplugging the appliance or turning off the circuit breaker.
  2. Check the door latch assembly: A faulty door latch assembly can cause the circuit breaker to trip. Inspect the door latch for any visible damages, and if necessary, replace it.
  3. Inspect the water level control switch: The water level control switch regulates the water volume in your washer. If it’s faulty, it may cause the circuit breaker to trip. To check it, remove the switch and examine it for any signs of damage or wear. You may need to replace it if it’s defective.
  4. Examine the motor control board: The motor control board manages the motor’s operation. A malfunctioning motor control board can lead to the circuit breaker tripping. Access the motor control board and inspect it for any signs of damage or burned areas. If damage is detected, replace the board.
  5. Assess the timer: A damaged timer may result in the circuit breaker tripping. Locate the timer in your appliance and check for any loose connections or damage. Establish proper connections if necessary, or replace the timer if it’s malfunctioning.

Should you use a GFCI with a Whirlpool washer?

The use of a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlet for a washing machine can be a subject of debate. GFCIs are designed to protect against electrical shocks by detecting ground faults and quickly cutting off power. This is especially useful in areas where electrical equipment is near water, like bathrooms and kitchens.

However, for a washing machine, some experts and manufacturers may not recommend using a GFCI outlet.

Here is why.

Common GFCI Issues

It’s essential to consider if a Whirlpool washer should be plugged into a GFCI outlet. A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is designed to protect you from electrical shock by quickly cutting off the power when it detects a problem. However, there can be some issues with using a GFCI for a Whirlpool washer:

  • Nuisance tripping: A dedicated circuit for your washing machine might be better to avoid nuisance tripping. GFCI outlets can sometimes trip due to sudden changes in electrical currents, such as during a washer’s initial fill cycle or other parts of the cycle.

If your Whirlpool washer is tripping the breaker, it could be due to a GFCI outlet being overly sensitive or the washer itself having electrical issues. To address this problem, you can try the following:

  1. Check the washer’s electrical connections and ensure they are secure.
  2. Inspect the GFCI outlet for any signs of damage.
  3. Consider using a non-GFCI outlet for your washer if it is on a dedicated circuit and allowed by your local electrical code.
  4. Consult a professional electrician if the issue persists or if you’re unsure about your home’s electrical system.

When should you call in a professional for a Whirlpool washer that keeps tripping the breaker?

You should consider calling a professional for your Whirlpool washer that keeps tripping the breaker in the following situations:

  1. Recurrent Tripping: If the circuit breaker trips repeatedly, even after you’ve ensured that the washer is the only major appliance on that circuit, it’s time to call a professional.
  2. After Basic Checks: If you’ve already checked for obvious issues like an overloaded circuit, a damaged power cord, or a visibly damaged outlet, and the problem persists, a professional should be consulted.
  3. Complex Components: Issues involving internal components like the motor, control board, or internal wiring should always be handled by a qualified technician.
  4. Water and Electricity Issues: If you suspect that water leakage might be causing an electrical hazard, immediate professional attention is needed.
  5. Inability to Diagnose: If you’re not comfortable with or capable of troubleshooting the problem yourself, it’s better to call a pro to accurately diagnose and fix the issue.
  6. Old or Outdated Hardware: Older washers may have components that are worn out or outdated, making them more complex to diagnose and repair. A professional can provide a more accurate assessment in such cases.
  7. Electrical Concerns: If other electrical issues are suspected, like problems with your home’s circuitry or the need for a dedicated circuit for your washer, an electrician should be consulted.
  8. When Manual Suggests: Always refer to your washer’s user manual for guidance. If the manual suggests professional service for the symptoms your washer is exhibiting, follow that advice.

Ignoring a problem that continually trips a circuit breaker can lead to more serious issues or could be a fire hazard, so professional intervention is strongly advised.

Consulting the User Manual

Before calling a professional technician to fix your Whirlpool washer that keeps tripping the breaker, it’s essential to consult the user manual. The user manual contains helpful information and troubleshooting steps to identify and resolve common issues.

  1. Locate the user manual that came with your Whirlpool washer. If you misplaced it, you can usually find a digital copy on the manufacturer’s website or by conducting an online search.
  2. Look for the troubleshooting section in the user manual. This section typically includes common problems and solutions for your washer.
  3. Check for issues related to your washer tripping the breaker, such as loose connections, dampness, malfunctioning motors, or faulty circuit breakers. Follow the recommended troubleshooting steps provided in the manual.
  4. If the issue persists after trying the suggested solutions, or you suspect a more complex problem, such as a short circuit or ground fault, that requires expert knowledge and tools, it’s time to call in a professional technician.

In summary, make sure to consult your Whirlpool washer’s user manual and attempt the troubleshooting steps provided before calling a professional. If the issue persists or you suspect a more significant electrical problem, it’s best to have a technician handle it to ensure your safety and the protection of your appliance.

Preventive Maintenance for Whirlpool Washers

Proper Installation

A crucial aspect of preventing issues with your Whirlpool washer is proper installation. Incorrect installation can lead to a variety of problems, such as tripping the circuit breaker or causing electrical connections to become loose or damaged. Follow these tips to ensure correct installation:

  1. Check the power source: Ensure that the power cord is securely plugged in and that your laundry room’s electrical circuit is turned on at the electrical panel.
  2. Remove lingering shipping bolts: If your washer is new, remove any leftover shipping bolts. These are used to secure the wash basket during shipping and can cause vibrations or shaking if not removed before operation.
  3. Inspect hoses and connections: Regularly check for wear and tear, installation issues, and poor water quality that may cause the hoses and connections to leak or fail.
  4. Avoid overloading: Overloading your washing machine can cause it to become unbalanced, leading to extra stress on the machine and potentially tripping the circuit breaker.
  5. Keep it dry: Prevent moisture buildup around the wiring and electrical connections to reduce the risk of short circuits.

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