hairdryer-outlet-trippingIf you or someone in your family regularly uses a hairdryer, there’s a good chance that you’ve tripped a breaker at some point. Generally, this happens at the most inconvenient time—probably when you’re getting ready for work or a night out. There are a lot of electrical devices in your house, so why does the little ole’ hairdryer cause so many problems? Part of the problem is the way hairdryers work, but your power outlets and wiring could also be the culprit.

When the Problem is the Hairdryer

Believe it or not, hairdryers actually may  just as much power as a microwave (around 1500 watts). Many breakers are rated for 1800 watts, so they can’t handle the load if you have several other electrical devices—like a vacuum, TV, computer,  or lamp—plugged in along with the hair dryer.

Also, hairdryers run on a motor, and, like most motors, faulty maintenance can cause problems. In the case of hairdryers, they often have screens or filters that get clogged over time, causing the hairdryer to use more power than it would normally, and this extra power usage could  trip the breaker and possibly destroy the hairdryer.

The electrical connections in the devices themselves could also trip the circuit. A faulty cord, or wires making contact within the device can also kill your power.

When the Problem is Something Else

Breakers are designed to shut off power when an electrical overload or short circuit are  detected. This keeps your appliances and circuits safe from prolonged overloads, which could lead to serious problems. Sometimes the overload is caused directly by the hairdryer, but sometimes it could there is another system causing the problem.  The problem could be anything from a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) or a arc fault circuit interrupter (AFCI).  This is when you call Piper Electric Co., Inc.  Our trained Denver area electricians can help diagnose the problem and get it fixed right the first time.

Diagnosing the Problem

If a simple power overload was caused by the hair dryer, you can simply turn off a few devices and flip the breaker back on. However, the issue could be more complicated and hard to troubleshoot. If flipping the breaker on, cleaning the hairdryer, and turning off extraneous devices doesn’t fix the problem, or if you see sparks, or the device or outlet smells hot, contact a licensed electrician at Piper Electric Co., Inc.  We  can assess the issue to ensure the safety of your electrical systems and appliances.

24-Hour Emergency Electrical Service

We offer a 24-hour emergency electrical service to address any residential electrical issue. Give us a call anytime if your hairdryer has caused a mysterious short in your power or if you detect any other potentially dangerous electrical issue.