Why Does A Treadmill Trip The Breaker? (Reasons & Solutions)
By Simon Gould
Treadmills need a lot of power but the circuit should be able to handle them. They're designed so a standard circuit with the right amperage at home can power an electric one. However there are times when a treadmill may trip the breaker. Other appliances can do it, not just treadmills. You need to find out what causes the circuit to trip and I'll go through that here.
Reasons a circuit breaker can trip
There are 3 reasons a circuit breaker can trip. First is an overloaded circuit. This is where an appliance is attempting to draw too much power. The circuit trips to prevent the circuit overloading or igniting causing damage to the wiring. The trip is a good thing in this case and you just need to identify the appliance causing the overload.
The second reason is a short circuit where the black wire touches another wire but not ground wire. This can be in the appliance, plug or power outlet. It's normally accompanied with a burning smell and is more serious than an overloaded circuit. Make sure you unplug the appliance before you investigate. An electrician may be needed if you can't identify the location of the problem.
The final reason is a ground fault. This is where the black wire is touching the ground wire or the metal covering. An electrician is likely needed for this fault. The 3 reasons I've given are also in order of likeliness. So an overloaded circuit is probably going to be the most common reason. So I'll look at the treadmill next.
Likely issue with a treadmill
Of course if the trip happens when you start the treadmill, then you can be pretty sure that it is the problem. There are probable reasons for the treadmill to cause the trip. It's likely to be an overloaded circuit where the treadmill is trying to draw too much power in its usual function. There could be a few reasons it's doing this.
The problem is usually the motor is the part drawing more power than normal. This is more likely in older treadmills. Not because they're older as such but due to other issues making the motor try harder than normal. When there is too much weight on the treadmill then it has to try harder to turn the belt. The power cord needs to be checked to see if there's a problem there.
When the breaker trips is important. Does it happen when you switch on the treadmill? When the belt starts or when you stand on the belt? Further diagnoses can be found on this tripped circuit breaker page. An old belt can mean the motor needs to try harder to power itself and overloads the circuit and trips the breaker.
What can also overload a circuit is many appliances working at once with a high amperage. This is inconvenient and you may just need to turn the highest drawers on your circuit off. If there is anything you're not sure about then a professional is best called. Especially where live electrical wires are concerned. Better to be safe than sorry.
I'm not a qualified electrician but with a bit a bit of research you may be able to save a lot of time and money when it comes to diagnosing a fault. When looking for an electrician, look for one who is qualified in your state and or comes recommended by others. There are around 700,000 electricians in the US so you've a lot of choice.
Electric treadmills usually last around 10 to 12 years, so if yours is old you may want to consider getting a new one. Constantly repairing one can start increasing in cost and may make a new treadmill viable. If you do have an old treadmill you'll be surprised at the new technology and what they can do now.
Thinking of buying a treadmill? Here's my favorite, I always recommend it when asked*