Why Does My Shop Vac Keep Tripping the Breaker?

Why does my Shop Vac keep tripping the breaker?

Your shop vac keeps tripping the breaker because of an electrical arcing caused by electricity jumping between two conductors or an overloaded circuit as too much power has been drawn. A defective electric circuit or nuisance tripping caused by sparks is another reason your Shop Vac keeps tripping the breaker.


shop vac tripping breaker


Electrical arcing problem

If your shop vacuum consistently trips the circuit breaker, the problem is likely electrical arcing within the circuit. This problem happens when electricity jumps between two conductors, typically two exposed wire segments. A standard circuit breaker will not trip in response to a leak. However, an AFCI circuit breaker is designed to do so at the first evidence of electrical arcing to avoid any fire problem.


Overloaded Circuit

Your electrical panel’s circuit breakers are “Safety buffers.” They are programmed to cut off power when an excessive current is detected. An electrical overload occurs when more power is drawn from a source than the circuit can safely handle. Due to this, the overload protection kicks in.

If too much load is on a given circuit, the breaker will open, disconnecting power to that area. This overload can make your shop vac trip the breaker. The overload might also cause the wiring to overheat and melt, leading to fire if there wasn’t a breaker.


Defective electric circuit

If your vacuum frequently trips the breaker, the problem may be caused by a malfunctioning or defective breaker in your home’s electrical panel. Circuit breakers must be examined regularly to ensure they operate properly and safely.

Many people do not test their breakers frequently enough, and others do not test them at all. If the circuit breaker has to be examined, you should seek assistance from someone knowledgeable in this field.


Nuisance tripping

During their operation, shop vacuums generate minimal sparking, triggering home circuit breakers to trip annoyingly. Your circuit breaker will occasionally trip because these sparks form minor electrical arcs. Changing the circuit breaker to a more recent model is all that is required to permanently resolve this issue once and for all.


How to fix a Shop Vac that keeps tripping the breaker?

You can fix a Shop vac that keeps tripping the breaker by resetting the breaker or cleaning the Shop Vac filter. Another way you can fix a shop vac that keeps tripping the breaker is by replacing the breaker.

Resetting the breaker

Your shop vac will trip the breaker once the thermal protection overheats. Overheating can be caused by using a dust bag that is too large for the shop vac. When your shop vac trips the breaker due to overheating, you must reset the breaker. Here is how you can reset the breaker;

  1. Turn off the breaker.
  2. Check out the parts, like the brush attachment, the hose, and/or the cylinder.
  3. Remove any obstacles.
  4. Look for hair, small clothing or toys, or any other dirt.
  5. Clean filters and empty the trash can.
  6. Let the shop vac cleaner cool down by turning it off and unplugging it from the wall outlet.
  7. Wait at least 30 minutes until the thermal cutoff breaker has reset itself.
  8. Try the shop vac again.


Cleaning the Shop Vac filter

Filters that are clogged and full bins are easy to fix. First, make sure the filters are as clean as possible. To get rid of the dirt, you can shake the filter over a trash can or use compressed air to blow some of it off. Here are other steps you can follow;

  1. You should take the shop outside and hit it against something hard to get rid of dust and dirt. But make sure the wind is blowing the dust away from you!
  2. After removing most of the dirt, rinse the filter with cool water.
  3. After you rinse your filter, you should wait at least 24 hours for it to dry before putting it back in.

Note: Change your filter every three to six months so your shop vac can keep running well without tripping the breaker.


Replacing the breaker

The shop vac can trip the circuit breaker if the circuit breaker is bad. Remember that a circuit breaker can become inoperable if it isn’t regularly checked and serviced. When the breaker is bad, you need to replace it.

Here is how to fix it;

  1. First, buy a new breaker with the same voltage and size as the one you’re replacing.
  2. Turn off the breaker you’re replacing before you start working on it by pushing the switch to “off.”
  3. Loosen the terminal screw until the wires loosen
  4. Pull the exposed wires out of the terminal with a pair of needle-nose pliers with rubber-insulated handles.
  5. Ensure that they don’t touch any other wires or breakers.
  6. Pull up on the side of the breaker to release the clips and remove the breaker.
  7. Turn the new breaker off.
  8. Then, put the new breaker in place by sliding its clips and pushing it in.
  9. Move the side with the terminals into place first so that the clips can latch onto the bar.
  10. To lock the breaker in place, push down on the other side.
  11. Hold the wires with needle-nose pliers while you tighten the terminal screw.
  12. Ensure the screw is tight, but not too tight.
  13. Turn on the circuit breaker and put the panel back on the breaker box.


Why is my Shop Vac keep tripping GFCI?

The reason your Shop Vac keeps tripping GFCI is because of power overload, worn-out insulation, or electrical wiring deterioration.

A GFCI “trip” means that it operates just as expected. The GFCI immediately turns off the outlet and any other outlets it feeds if its internal current transformer detects a loss of more than 4-5 milliamps of current. This helps avoid the unintentional electrocution of a person. Your shop vac will trip GFCI if it is malfunctioning and plugged into the outlet.

Every object built by man has a finite lifespan and will ultimately become obsolete. To ensure that all GFCIs are in good working order, it is advised that they be checked for functionality once every month. Simply pressing the TEST button will cut the power to the circuit, which in turn should cause the RESET button to become active. To turn the GFCI back on, you must press the RESET button.

Note: Do not presume that the GFCI protection is active because an outlet is operating. Older GFCI outlets do not have this built-in failsafe mechanism. Hence newer GFCI outlets come equipped with an interlock that disables the outlet if the GFCI protection fails.

Why is my Shop Vac blowing a fuse?

The reason your shop Vac blows a fuse is because of an overloaded circuit or a short circuit. Another reason your shop vac blows a fuse is because of a clogged filter or a low-capacity fuse.

An overloaded circuit

An overloaded circuit is one of the most common causes of your shop vac blowing a fuse. The metal ribbon inside the fuse can melt if the circuit is overloaded by too much plugged-in equipment. And this will cause your fuse to blow.

If you observe the fuse, you’ll see that the metal ribbon behind the glass pane has melted through or that there’s cloudiness or fog in the window. Replacing the fuse with a new one of the same size is a quick fix you should do.


Short circuit

A hot wire making contact with the grounding circuit or a neutral wire can also cause the blowing of a fuse. This is known as a short circuit and can occur due to various issues, including loose connections, damaged wires, or faulty internal wiring in an item plugged into the circuit.

If your shop vac keeps blowing a fuse and you have moved appliances that use a lot of power to other outlets, it’s best to call a licensed electrician to figure out what’s wrong and fix it.


Clogged filter

Another common reason for your shop vac fuse to blow is a dirty filter. If your filter is unclean, your shop vac will work harder to maintain the desired temperature. Because of the dirt, the vac may overheat, and the breaker or fuse may blow.

The vacuum filter should be able to get rid of harmful particles like dust, pollens, and other undesirable particles you don’t want to float around. If the filter gets too clogged, it won’t be able to pick these up and put more work on the shop vac, leading to the shop vac having a blown. The best way to avoid this problem is to check and clean your shop vac filter often.


Low-capacity fuse

Fuses can handle different amounts of electricity based on their voltages and ratings. If the capacity of your shop vac fuse is lower, it could blow because it can’t handle the load of the unit and the intensity of the circuit. If you keep using the same low-capacity fuse to replace it, it will keep blowing until you switch to one with a higher rating.

Ensure that you replace your shop vac fuse with the same capacity that came with it to avoid blowing a fuse.