There are few things in life more frustrating than wanting to use your stove, only to find that it trips the circuit breaker.
Unfortunately, that’s a reality for many people who have stoves in their home, regardless of whether it’s an electric or gas type of appliance. But what could cause this?
Your breaker might be tripping because your stove has damaged wiring, a bad terminal block, or one or more problematic burner switches. It’s also possible that your stove is fine but your breaker is undersized to work well with that particular model or just weak and requires replacement.
In this article, we’re going to explore a few key possibilities that may be causing your stove to keep tripping the breaker.
What it is: Whether you have a gas or electric stove, you’ll find that there are plenty of wires running throughout the appliance.
They’re usually kept out of sight, so you’ll probably need to reposition the stove and remove some panels to gain access to them.
These wires deliver an electrical current to all of the stove’s components, including the digital displays, heating elements, and even the igniter.
To locate and identify these wires, it’s always best to refer to the user manual or any technical sheets included with the appliance.
These documents usually have detailed diagrams that will map out all of the wires and explain each one’s purpose.
Why it fails: Despite being hidden away, the wires for your stove can sometimes suffer damage and break.
Those wires may have suffered from some kind of impact, or they experienced a massive surge that caused them to burn or break.
How does this lead to tripping the breaker? Well, damaged or exposed wires may come into contact with other hot wires or the metal surfaces inside the stove. As a result, that creates a short circuit.
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The breaker will sense that the stove is drawing far too much electricity and trip as a way of protecting the stove from further damage.
Simultaneously, a tripping breaker also prevents fires and injuries like electrocution.
How to fix: Fixing damaged wiring can be time-consuming. First, you must disconnect any power or gas connections to the stove.
You’ll then want to remove any necessary panels to gain access to the inside of the stove.
There, it’s essential to check not just for one damaged wire but any additional ones as well.
You have the option of replacing the wire or cutting out the damaged part and splicing the wires back together again.
As always, keep the user manual and technical sheet nearby for easy reference.
Terminal Block Connection Is Burnt
What it is: The terminal block is basically where the power supply is distributed to the various parts of your stove.
In simple words, the terminal block is where the power supply cables from the socket meet with the supply cables leading to the stove’s many components.
Like many other parts, that block will usually be hidden away at the back of the stove, behind one of the rear access panels.
To locate and identify the terminal block quickly, be sure to refer to the diagrams in your user manual or technical sheets.
That way, you’ll know what it looks like ever before you remove the stove’s back panels.
Why it fails: Sometimes, parts of the terminal block may experience burns, arcing, or other types of heat damage.
That may come as a result of one of the wires grounding out when being exposed and coming into contact with other metal parts.
When any of these types of things happen, the circuit will draw much more of a current than it should.
The breaker will sense this and trip to prevent any severe damage to the appliance or injury to any person using the stove.
That kind of situation will probably require you to replace the terminal block and any wires or electrical connections that were also damaged.
How to fix: First and foremost, it’s essential to select the correct replacement part for your particular stove.
The best thing to do is refer to the user manual, technical sheet, or to call the manufacturer. That way, you’ll get a part that matches your stove’s brand and model perfectly.
Before doing anything, you must disconnect the stove from its power and gas supply (if it has one).
Then, you’ll need to gain access to the existing terminal block by removing the stove’s rear panel.
Once you do that, you should see the terminal block mounted onto the inside of the stove.
They’re relatively straightforward to identify; you’ll notice the power supply wiring going towards the terminal block, which is also connected to other wires supplying power to the stove’s components.
Before removing the existing terminal block, be sure to take note of the connections.
On some models, the connections will be colour-coded to make things easier for you.
Taking a ‘before’ photo will also be helpful, or you can refer to any diagrams provided on the stove or in the user manual.
Put the new terminal block in place and reconnect the wires the same way as before.
Stove Burner Switch Is Burnt
What it is: These days, most stoves rely on burner switches, which are also known as ‘infinite switches’.
In simple terms, they are variable switches that deliver power to each burner based on how far you turn the knob attached to it.
The switch will allow power to continue pulsing to the heating element until the desired temperature is reached, after which the power will be shut off.
When things cool down below a certain range, the entire process will repeat itself to ensure that the burner stays in the desired temperature range.
On your stove, the number of burner switches will depend on how many heating elements there are.
Usually, each switch will work for a single heating element. However, that might differ depending on the brand and model of the stove you have.
Why it fails: Burner or infinite switches are known as bi-metal switches. What that means is that the switch itself goes through a repetitive process of heating and cooling.
Unfortunately, that can lead to several problems if that heating and cooling process doesn’t happen as it should.
Typically when an infinite switch fails, the stove will either fail to heat up or it will be stuck at the maximum heat output it can manage.
In worse cases, that can lead to the stove drawing far too much current from the power supply, causing the circuit breaker to trip as a way to protect the stove and your home from further damage.
How to fix: A faulty burner switch can’t be fixed, so it needs to be replaced for you to use the stove safely again.
To do that, you’ll want to begin by sourcing the correct type of burner switch for your stove model.
You can find this information in the user manual, tech sheet, or by contacting the manufacturer to identify the correct replacement part.
Once you have the necessary parts, you should always disconnect the stove from the power supply first.
The existing switch will be behind whichever knobs you use to control the stove. However, you’ll need to remove the correct panel to gain access to those switches.
Once you have access to the switch, remove any screws keeping it in place as well as its electrical connectors.
You may notice burn marks or smells on the old switch; clear indicators that the switch is damaged and faulty.
Connect the new switch and mount it back in place. Then, replace any panels that you removed earlier.
What it is: A circuit breaker is as the name suggests: it breaks an electrical circuit when it senses danger.
By ‘sensing danger’, what we mean is that the breaker can detect when an appliance like your stove is drawing far too much power than it should.
So, the circuit breaker reacts by tripping and breaking the circuit to prevent damage to the appliance, overheating which could lead to fires, or even injuries like electrocution to people in the house.
What many people tend to overlook is that their breaker must be the correct size for the appliances that it’s connected to.
Some appliances, like stoves, ranges, and ovens, draw a lot of power. So, they need to be connected to a breaker that can handle those kinds of appliances.
Why it fails: Suppose your circuit breaker trips the moment you turn on your stove.
If that’s the case, then that’s a tell-tale sign that the problem is somewhere in the stove itself.
However, if you’re using the stove normally and the breaker trips a little later, then that’s a sign that your breaker is the one with the problem instead.
Quite often, the problem here is that the breaker is too weak or undersized to keep up with the energy demands of the stove.
That’s especially true when you’re using several burners on the stove, or maybe even an oven, simultaneously.
How to fix: To fix this, you’ll need to ensure that your home has a breaker that’s correctly sized for the stove you’re using.
For example, you may have a 30 amp breaker, even though your stove pulls in 41 amps.
If that’s the case, then you’ll need to upgrade to something like a 50 amp breaker instead.