Electrical – How to figure out why the washing machine is tripping the GFCI receptacle


I have a Kenmore 80 Series (Model No. 110.24872300) washing machine which up to this point has been working fine. Since it is near a sink, the outlet it is plugged into is a GFCI outlet. On the last load I came back after letting it run for some time to find that it had tripped the GFCI in the middle of the wash cycle – the washer was still full of soapy water. I reset the outlet and let it run again, only to come down the next morning and find it full of water still (it had tripped during the rinse cycle this time). I reset the outlet again and this time it finished the rest of the cycle.

My guess is that water is somehow getting onto the internal components of the washer and causing it to short – is there any way I can test this theory or fix the problem myself?

Best Answer

(Summarizing the comments above)

To narrow this problem down, there are three places that could be causing the GFCI to trip, a malfunction in the washing machine, a problem with the downstream wiring (aka load side of the GFCI), or the GFCI outlet itself. If there isn't anything downstream, then plugging the washing machine into another GFCI outlet, or simply swapping out the outlet for a known good GFCI outlet, will identify if the outlet itself is faulty.

If the outlet trips when the washing machine isn't running and isn't even plugged in, then there's a fault in the wiring on the load side of the GFCI outlet.

If the issue is neither of the above, then running the washing machine and monitoring to see which step is occurring when the trip happens will isolate what part of the washing machine may be leaking current to a ground. It could be a certain water level, a motor being engaged, a transition step in the controller, etc.