Fixing A Smoker That Trips The Breaker: A Useful Guide!

Few things are as frustrating as walking out to a smoker after hours of waiting only to find that it has been on. Smokers are prone to flip breakers when they are experiencing an electrical shortage. There are some easy fixes to this though. This guide will provide a comprehensive

1. Check The Ground Wire

The most common reason for any smoker to trip the breaker is because there is a short in the circuit somewhere. There are multiple places for a short to form in the wires. One of the most common is the ground wire connection. The ground wire connection happens in various places depending on the type of smoker, make, and model.

There will need to be a few pieces removed. If you are using an electric smoker then there will be a panel on the back of the smoker that you will need to remove. The ground wire will likely have a circular end with a hole in it. If you are using a smoker that has electrical components but isn’t an electric smoker you will need to follow the plug-in to the inside of the box in order to find your ground wire.

Look over the end connector. If there is rust, tarnish, loose or any sort of wear this could be the culprit of your tripped breaker. You will need to replace the ground connector in order to fix this problem.

2. Check Connection Wires

The second things you will need to check are the other wire connections. If these are loose, tarnished, or corroded they could be the cause. You will need to replace this in order to fix the problem. These should be located in the same place as the ground wire connector. There should be two, positive and negative. You will need to check both.

3. Clean The Heating Element

The heating element is another big component that often leads to a tripped breaker when using an electric smoker. If the element is old, corroded, wet, or has a bad connection the smoker will cause the breaker to trip. These are pretty easy to control and fix. All you have to do here is pull the box off that is covering your heating element. This box holds moisture in and accelerates the rate that your heating element corrodes.

In order to combat this you will need to take the heating element and out of the smoker in order to properly clean this. To pull it out you need to remove the box, then gently pull the element out. Most elements will pull out easily and don’t need any other steps. Sometimes they can be fastened with screws that you will need to remove. This just depends on your smoker and you will need to check to make sure how your element is fastened in.

After you have your element out simply grab some steel wool or a stiff brush. Scrub your heating element until all gunk is removed. After the element is clean take a torch or hairdryer and heat your element up. Your element is like a sponge. It holds onto water that will need to be expelled before it properly functions.

After your element is clean and dry, place it back into the smoker. It should properly function now. At this point, your smoker should not trip the breaker anymore.

4. Replace The Heating Element

If after you clean the element it still doesn’t work you may have a bad element. There is a way to test your element before you have to replace it.

Pull your element out again and grab a multi-meter. Place one prong on each end of the element. The ends are right next to each other. The two parts that plug into the smoker, those are the ends. Your multi-meter should read zero. If it reads zero then place one prong on the tube of the element. This should also read zero. If both are zero then your element is fine and does not need to be replaced.

5. Remove Moisture

If after all of that then there is one more thing you can do before we move on and try things that don’t have to do with the smoker. If extra moisture is still in the smoker then it will interrupt the circuit and cause a short.

The best way to deal with this to grab a hairdryer or torch and evaporate the moisture in the smoker. This may take a while. Up to thirty minutes. After this, there should be no problem with the breaker. If this does not fix the problem then it’s time to move past the smoker and think of other solutions.

6. Try A Non-GFI Outlet

If you are smoking outside you are likely using a GFI outlet. Also known as a GFCI outlet. These are the outlets that have breakers built into them. GFI outlets are great because they are an extra step of security in your circuits. These breakers flip before your house circuits flip in order to keep other outlets functioning if an appliance pulls too much amperage.

Smokers shouldn’t be pulling this kind of energy, but sometimes they will. If it is windy or humid outside the smoker will likely pull more amperage. To combat this you can try smoking on with a different outlet.

You can use an extension cord to use an outlet that is not an FCI outlet. This should work and make it so you don’t need to change the outlet.

Another option is to replace the outlet. Honestly, this isn’t a great option because the FCI outlets are safer. Especially outside. These outlets will protect your house from the elements.

7. Consult A Specialist

If, after all of this, your smoker still does not work, it’s time to consult a specialist. Someone who knows the workings of a smoker. These could be people who work in the store you purchased your smoker from or a smoker repair specialist.

If your smoker is still not working then there is a much bigger problem that requires intimate knowledge of your smoker.

8. Check The House Circuit

If after trying a non-FCI outlet you still have a problem then you will have to take a look at your house circuits. This is something that you will have to call in an expert for. If your breaker is still tripping then there may be a bigger problem with the way your house is wired. An expert will know exactly what the problem is and how to solve it.

Mike Greenly

I'm a big fan of outdoor cooking and try to BBQ any chance I get. My family loves the results just as much as I do so I try to keep up on the latest methods, tips, and tricks to make sure I'm keeping them happy! :)

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