This is why your pressure washer keeps tripping

There are a whole bunch of reasons that your pressure washer could potentially be tripping the electrical circuit. If this does keep happening, be sure to find the root of the problem as normally this is a sign of a larger problem that needs fixed. Anytime the system trips, there is a complication which should be resolved before you continue.

Pressure washers cause electrical circuit breaks, referred to as tripping, when a problem occurs. Most of these problems occur because of faulty equipment and moisture contamination. To fix the problem, dry out and replace needed equipment.

In order to be able to better solve the problem, it would be helpful to look into a variety of situations which may lead to the circuit tripping. Each of these comes with a unique solution and each can be helpful in the long term consequences of electrical tripping.

What is GFCI?

In order to first understand why all this tripping keeps happening, it is essential to understand what a GFCI is. A GFCI is a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. It is an electrical safety device which automatically shuts off the power if there is an increased level of power or if it detects leaks. These are often found near water-associated appliances; in bathrooms, kitchens, outdoors and anywhere else you might find water. There is most likely one of these installed where you are plugging in the pressure washer. Water has a tendency of interrupting electrically currents, and excess flow will trigger the GFCI to kill the power.

Be sure each time the GFCI trips the power to check things out, but occasionally it will just need reset, and that is normally found as a button on the outlet itself.

Reasons for Tripping

Now that we understand what GFCI is, it is important to be able to find the root of the problem that keeps causing the pressure washer to trip the system.

  1. A Faulty GFCI – If you just bought a brand new Pressure Washer, it could have a faulty GFCI which keeps tripping the power. You usually can contact the supplier to exchange it for one with a GFCI that works. There is no direct way of ensuring that is the problem, but if nothing else seems to fix it, it may just need to be replaced.
  2. Low Power in the Outlet – If the power within the outlet is low, then it may not be able to complete the circuit. Try using different power outlets and see if it is just a faulty outlet.
  3. Damaged Cords – is the wiring in your outlet fried? is the cord to the pressure washer damaged or frayed? If this or similar problems are present as you look at the cord, then this may be the root of the problem. Replace the cords if possible, and update any old wiring, this will create a electrical current balance and allow the system to function normally again.
  4. Water Leaks – If water has leaked into the wiring or into the motor, it can cause the GFCI to trip. Water conducts electricity and so it throws off electrical currents. If there is water in the wires, you will also need to replace the cords. If water is elsewhere, like the motor, you can leave it out in the sun and let all the water dry off before using it again. Water from the pressure washer leaking may also be posing a problem. If that is true, make sure all the connections are secure and replace any damaged ones.
  5. Lastly, if your pressure washer has tripped repeatedly, it will often cause it to continue to trip. Repeated tripping only leads to more tripping, creating a vicious cycle. If this happens, it is probably time to replace the GFCI plug or even your pressure washer.

How to Fix the Problems

Fixing the problems are about as specific as the problems, from either letting the water dry out to replacing the parts, there is usually something to be done so you can get back to pressure washing.

One of the first things you can do if you outlet is tripping, or even if you just want to test it you can press the test button. This will make a pop or click sound if it kills the power as it should, it the GFCI does not kill the power, it probably needs replaced.

When all else fails, replace the GFCI. Removed the screws from both sides of the plug, unscrew the cord and pull it off. Then, placing the correct charges in the correct places reconnect the cord to the plug and it should work!

Tips for Keeping Your Pressure Washer in Working Condition

In order to ensure your pressure washer does not continue to trip the power, and for the safety of you and those around you, it is important to be safe as you use a power washer. There are a variety of things you can do to keep your pressure washer damage-free.

Before Use

  • Check the Gas and Oil levels to ensure they are adequate. Do not overfill these either.
  • Check and recheck Power Cords in order to ensure they are safe and conducting electricity correctly.
  • Ensure that the hose doesn’t have any bulges or cuts. If needed, flush it out before and after to ensure there is nothing clogging it.

After Use

  • Rinse the detergent out afterwards by running clean water though it a couple times after.
  • Allow the water to dry out and drain completely so that none can pool anywhere.
  • Relieve the pressure after you have turned the machine off and the water source off, then pull the trigger until all the water is gone.
  • Be sure there are no clogs in the nozzle or the hose.
  • Clean any debris from vents or the hoses and rinse off the machine.

All of these things and more will help you to keep your pressure washer in top condition and hopefully keep it and the GFCI from tripping the system. After about 10-15 years pressure washers will need to be replaced as well as GFCI plugs and outlets.

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