Hairdryers are an essential tool used on a daily basis in households across the United States. In today’s world, there are many electrical conveniences that can cause a circuit breaker to trip. But, hairdryers seem to be the culprit most of the time. Homeowners often wonder if it is the hairdryer or the power outlets causing the problem.

The Mystery of the Hairdryer Revealed

It’s hard to believe that a small device like a hairdryer is so complex. Hairdryers come in a variety of sizes and designs. However, most hairdryers use about 1500 watts, which is equivalent to a microwave. Circuit breakers in most homes are rated for 1800 watts. This would make it seem like a 1500 watt hairdryer will work perfectly. The problem occurs when the hairdryer is being used at the same time as other electronic devices such as the television, vacuum or computer. The circuit breaker can’t handle everything at once causing it to trip. Sometimes the problem originates from the hairdryer. Faulty wiring is a common issue with some hairdryers. An easy fix is to return or replace the hairdryer and purchase a new one. Another common issue is when the hairdryer gets clogged with dust. Most hairdryers are designed with a filter or screen that prevents dust from entering the motor. Over time, the filter gets clogged and users forget to clean it. The clogged filter causes the hairdryer to work extra and use more power than usual causing the breaker to trip.

Fixing the Problem

Begin by cleaning the hairdryer filter. Make sure the device is unplugged during cleaning. Then flip the breaker on. Turn off other electrical devices such as the computer. Alert everyone in the house that you will be using the hairdryer for a specific amount of time so they don’t turn on other devices. These tips should get your hairdryer working without any interruption.


If you try the suggestions above and you still have problems it could be a sign of something more serious. Specific signs of a serious problem are sparks and a burning smell coming from the outlet or hairdryer. Sometimes the outlet could feel hot to the touch. If this occurs you will need to turn the breaker off, unplug the hairdryer and contact an electrician immediately. Situations like this are serious and can lead to fire and other damage.