Why Does My Grill Keep Tripping the Breaker?

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Matt Richard

When it comes to backyard grilling, there are few things more frustrating than having your grill trip the breaker.

You fire it up, begin cooking your food, and then all of a sudden… pow! The grill stops, and you’re left wondering how to fix it.

There are a few different reasons why this might be happening. This guide will explain the common (and not-so-common) reasons for your electric or pellet grill causing issues with your breaker.

Quick Answer

Your grill could be tripping the breaker because too many appliances are connected, overloading the circuit. Alternatively, there could be water damage to electrical components inside your grill or loose wires.

Reasons Why Your Grill Keeps Tripping the Breaker

Electrical systems are very complex, and a problem at any point in the circuit can cause the breaker to trip, affecting your whole power supply. 

First, let’s look at what actually happens when the circuit breaker trips. Although this is incredibly frustrating, the breaker itself isn’t the problem since its function is to keep you safe.

A circuit breaker has to prevent the electrical circuit in your house from overloading, as a power surge could damage your appliances that are plugged in or even start a house fire. [1]

The breaker shuts off when it detects a power overload or when too much power is surging through an area of the house because the electrical circuit is incomplete somewhere.

There are a few reasons why your grill could be contributing to circuit overload, so below are some possible explanations.

The Grill Is Plugged into a Circuit Where Too Many Appliances Are Already Plugged In

The most frequent cause of a tripping circuit breaker is so simple you’ll probably be kicking yourself for not noticing it earlier.

Your house is divided into different circuits. If too many appliances, including your grill, are plugged into a single circuit, that overloads the circuit and prompts the breaker to cut off the power supply before serious damage occurs. [2]

To determine whether circuit overload is causing the circuit breaker to trip, look at your breaker box and identify which switch coincides with which part of your house.

Next, plug your grill in elsewhere or unplug some of the appliances that are on the same circuit.

If that stops the breaker from tripping, then you have identified the problem, and you know how to prevent it from happening.

There’s a Short Circuit Somewhere

Sometimes, your grill isn’t actually the culprit causing the breaker to trip.

Instead, it could be a coincidence alerting the breaker to a short circuit somewhere along the electrical current.

A short circuit occurs when an electrical current flows through an accidental shorter pathway instead of its normal route, meaning the electricity flows faster and pulls more power. [3]

Short circuits can arise due to contact between conductive objects, touching of “hot wires,” and more. 

Other signs of a short circuit besides a tripping breaker include burns, the smell of melting metal, and other signs of unreliable power supply, such as flickering lights.

Safety Tip

Don’t try to solve a short circuit yourself if you suspect a short circuit. Instead, call an electrician as soon as possible.

Moisture Got into Your Grill Where It Shouldn’t Be

When moisture gets on the electrical wiring or components inside your grill, it can cause a current increase and even corrode the wiring, eventually leading to a short circuit. [4]

Since you use your grill for cooking and it often stays outdoors in all weather conditions, water has many opportunities to get where it shouldn’t be.

To check if water is causing your breaker to trip, unplug your grill to avoid potential electrical shock.

Then, check for wetness or other signs of moisture, such as rust (metal only oxidizes when it is exposed to moisture).

The parts that most frequently suffer from this problem are the heating element or burn pot. 

To prevent moisture from causing damage:

  • Remove any water pooling with a cloth
  • Use a cover that correctly fits over the unit
  • Don’t leave your grill outside if you have harsh winters

Faulty Wiring Inside the Grill

If the grill is old, then the wires are old too and won’t conduct electricity properly. Some cause the electricity to flow too fast, causing a surge and tripping the breaker.

To check if the wiring is the problem, unplug your grill and locate the wiring inside the appliance. Check for any visible problems, such as bare or rusty wiring.

Contact an electrician to see if it can be repaired, and ensure to check your warranty information to see if you can get a replacement.

Avoid using a grill with faulty wiring because it may pose a significant hazard like a fire or electrical shock.

How Do You Find Out What Is Causing Your Breaker to Trip?

If you notice your circuit breaker is tripping every time you plug in your grill, there are a few ways to identify the problem.

First, see if the problem lies with the grill, the plug, or the circuit itself. Try plugging in another appliance of a similar size or wattage to the outlet you’re using (if you can confirm it’s safe to do so).

If this appliance doesn’t trip the breaker, it’s safe to assume that the issue is with the grill itself. Then, look at the grill components and wiring to check for damage that could cause an electrical issue.

If you determine that your grill isn’t the problem, it may be the outlet or electrical circuit. In this case, hire an electrician to come and assess the issue.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have a few unanswered questions about circuit breakers and your BBQ, check out the FAQ below.

Can a Tripped Breaker Cause a Fire?

It’s unlikely that tripping a breaker once will cause a fire. However, if a breaker keeps tripping and you don’t resolve the underlying issue, the breaker may stop working, eventually leading to a fire.

Is It Safe to Reset a Tripped Breaker?

You should only reset a tripped breaker if you’ve determined the cause of the trip. Attempting to reset a breaker that keeps tripping can cause serious electrical problems and result in a fire.

Final Thoughts

Whether you have a Char‑Broil, Masterbuilt, or Pit Boss grill (or any other brand), you can run into the issue where your breaker switches off while trying to cook.

So, follow the troubleshooting steps in this guide to get your barbecue session back on track SAFELY!

Remember, always unplug the unit before inspecting the components or wiring for damage to prevent an electrical shock.

Lastly, call an electrician if you suspect an electrical issue, as they can safely assess and fix the underlying problem.

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Hey, I'm Matt Hollingshead, a BBQ enthusiast, beer connoisseur, and the founder of Grill Mentor. When I'm not trying new recipes with my Traeger or sampling a craft beer, I'm publishing articles for this site.

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