The only reason I find homes dangerous is the presence of a powerful force called electricity. When the electricity or power malfunctions, it is a frightening experience.
Indeed, modern-day lifestyles cannot do without electricity. It is a boon when handled well. Unawareness, lack of respect, and uncaring attitude can damage our appliances and our homes.
Lately, my oven has been tripping the circuit breaker. I wonder why this happens and what I can do to make everything alright.
Why Does My Oven Keep Tripping the Circuit Breaker?
Most commonly, the cause could be due to any of the following:
- A Short Circuit
- Circuit Overload
- Damaged Heating Element
A Short Circuit
To understand this, we need to refresh a bit of school science.
The electricity or power supply has three features: Current, Voltage, and Resistance.
The current refers to the rate of flow of the charge inside the conductor. Voltage refers to the pressure applied to move the electric charge.
A conductor offers resistance to the flow of electric charge movement. The amount of resistance depends on the quality of the conductor.
Voltage divided by resistance gives you current. The current flow will increase when you increase the voltage or decrease the resistance.
Current likes to flow in the path of least resistance. An oven has a circular flow of energy from the electric circuit to the appliance and back to the electrical service panel.
The flow is unbroken and constant. When a hot and neutral wire comes in touch with each other, the current seeks this shorter route as it is also the path of least resistance.
The reason for the wires to come together could be overheating, melting, exposure to metals, loose connections, deterioration of wire sheathing, etc.
A sign of a short circuit is that you will never be able to reset the circuit breaker. When you go to reset it, it will automatically trip again.
A Circuit Overload
If the electrical demands increase from a particular outlet, your oven can trip the circuit breaker.
This happens when you try to run two or three electric devices together at one time.
This is because the demand for electricity supply is more than what your outlet can provide. In older homes where you have 15 amps outlets, this can be an issue.
If you want the oven and microwave to work together, You need to install 20amps outlets.
Sometimes there is no other electric device connected to the outlet. But the outlet is insufficient to provide enough power load to the oven.
In such scenarios, an amp reading should be done and the outlet should be upgraded according to the electrical demand of the oven.
Damaged Heating Elements
At times, your heating elements can be damaged. A telltale sign is when the oven reaches a particular temperature, it trips the circuit breaker.
As the heating element is damaged, the control board will try to send more current to heat the food inside.
Drawing of excess current will alert the circuit breaker and it will trip.
Let us take a quick peek at how the circuit breaker works before delving into a detailed explanation of the reasons why the oven keeps tripping the circuit breaker.
How a Circuit Breaker Works
A circuit breaker is like a lifeguard. It protects your homes from potential fires resulting from equipment failures and wire issues.
How does it do that? When it detects an unsafe current flow, it breaks the power by opening the circuit.
The fuse does the same thing, except that the fuse wire disintegrates when it detects excessive currents.
A power breaker trips and can be used again and again. Think of a circuit breaker as a resettable fuse.
The Possible Reasons for the Oven to Keep Tripping the Circuit Breaker
Let us now look into the finer details of possible reasons for the oven to keep tripping the circuit breaker.
A Short Circuit Created By Relays of the Control Board
The relays at the back of the control board direct the currents to the components inside the oven.
Once you enter your choice of setting, it increases the voltage to the heating element.
This makes the heating element heat up and cook food inside the oven.
After the cooking time is over, the relays will stop sending power to the heating elements. Your elements will cool down, and there will be no further cooking.
These relay wires can sometimes get stuck to each other due to overheating. A typical example of overheating would be during the self-cleaning cycle.
Once the wires become welded together, it can cause the wires to short circuit.
If your circuit breaker trips each time you turn your oven on, the likely reason is a dead short or an earthy leakage.
When a short path is provided, it is natural for the current to seek this route.
When the circuit breaker senses more than normal electric current flow, it trips to cut the power supply.
How to Resolve
Fixing the relays in the control board is not possible for you. You need an expert or professional.
If you are from a technical background, I would advise you to go through the company manual before attempting to correct the issue.
You may not be able to correct individual relays and would most likely need to replace the control board.
Once you remove the panel access and reach the control board, don’t forget to click a photo of the circuit board.
You will find electrical connectors attached to the board. Clicking a picture will help you reattach all the connectors back the same way in the new control board.
Once you are done replacing the control board, reattach the panel and test the oven to make sure it is working well.
The Heating Component has Burnt Out
Sometimes, the circuit breaker trips only when you change the temperature or when a certain temperature is reached.
This indicates the heating component of the oven is damaged.
The dysfunctional component is the heating element. Under normal working conditions, as soon as you enter your desired cooking settings, the relays increase voltage and send the electric charge to the heating element.
Appliances like ovens are designed to create high resistance.
The electric current has to work hard. This creates heat which helps to cook your food. The control board will keep sending a constant voltage for whatever duration you have entered.
If the heating element burns out, the relays will continue to send power. Once the circuit breaker detects this abnormal power flow, it will trip to protect the circuit.
A telltale sign here can be a burning smell or burnt appearance of the heating element or oven plug etc.
How to Resolve
The damaged part will need a replacement. If you are not a professional, I would suggest you get technical help and do not try to replace the oven parts by yourself.
If you are qualified enough to replace the dysfunctional part, read on. Read the manual that comes along with your particular model.
Search online or offline for replacements of heating elements.
Remove the screws from both sides of the heating element and disconnect carefully. Replace with the new heating element.
The Wire Connected to the Heating Element Created a Short Circuit
As I have mentioned, the control board sends power with the help of relays or wires to the heating element.
When the wiring connected to the heating elements unsheathes or becomes exposed, a short circuit will be created.
Short circuits occur when a direct link has been made between the wires and the oven body.
This can happen if the sheathing of the wire is made of low quality or become loose and comes in contact with the oven cavity.
Whenever there is a short circuit, there will be more electric demand as the unit tries to complete the action of sending heat to the component.
The circuit breaker will sense the excess electric demand from the oven and trip as a protective mechanism.
Apart from heating elements, other oven components like the fan, thermostat, internal lamp, and selector switch can also be damaged with time and cause the circuit breaker to trip.
Only a qualified technician will be able to assess that with specific tools. You may not be able to distinguish if these components get damaged.
How to Resolve
If the wire is exposed, do not attempt to repair or replace it.
Call a qualified technician. The wiring of your oven needs expert hands. Otherwise, you may end up worsening the situation, electrocuting yourself, or even creating a fire.
You may also need to replace the heating element if it has burnt out due to the short circuit.
The Final Take
Handling electrical issues should always be done by an expert. Attempting to replace or repair without technical knowledge can be hazardous to yourself and the appliance.
Fidgeting with the circuit breaker without correcting the issue will cause repeated tripping. It can damage the electric circuit. You may even end up burning the house down!
I have mentioned above all the likely reasons for the oven to keep tripping the circuit breaker. I have also told you about how to resolve the issues.
The takeaway is to call a professional and replace the burnt, damaged, exposed part.
In case of an overloaded circuit, remove all other appliances or upgrade the outlet to meet the power load of your oven.
Once you have corrected the issue, reset the circuit breaker from the tripped position to the normal position.
The fear is always about the unknown. Sit back and relax. You are now aware of possible reasons for the constant tripping and can get it corrected. Happy repairs and cheers!
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