A treadmill takes a lot of energy, about 600 and 700 watts on average but peaks can be much higher, depending on the model. The treadmill’s energy consumption sometimes causes the circuit breaker to trip — which usually happens when the circuit is overloaded with power. There are also some other reasons why this can happen though. You’ll find the problem annoying if it often occurs, but fortunately, there are ways to prevent the circuit breaker from tripping.
The most common reason for a treadmill tripping a circuit breaker is simply drawing a load that’s too high. It’s best to give your treadmill a dedicated 20A power outlet. Also, it’ll help if you check your treadmill components from time to time to prevent future issues.
Throughout this article, you will learn:
- 1 Why Your Treadmill Keeps Tripping the Circuit Breaker
- 2 How To Prevent Your Treadmill From Tripping a Circuit
- 3 Final Thoughts
- 4 Favorite Cardio Accessories
- 5 Sources
Why Your Treadmill Keeps Tripping the Circuit Breaker
Anyone who owns a treadmill knows how annoying it can be when the treadmill keeps tripping the circuit. While it is not uncommon for a treadmill to trip the circuit, it is incredibly irritating when it happens, especially if it happens regularly.
Two reasons why your treadmill trips the circuit:
1. Overloaded Circuit
A treadmill can trip a circuit when it uses energy that is too much for your power outlet to handle. Other home appliances are known to trip a circuit too, like ovens and microwaves. Treadmills draw quite a bit of power, especially on peak loads.
Most circuit breakers in bedrooms and living areas are rated for 15 amps. In bathrooms, and kitchens you’ll mostly find 20-amp breakers to deal with the higher loads you expect in those rooms (washers, dryers, electric stoves, etc.). Treadmills often require more power than those circuit breakers can handle, especially big treadmills on 15-amp breakers.
Treadmill Power Requirements
Many domestic treadmills have 2-2.5 horsepower (hp) motors. Some high-end models have even more powerful motors, some up to 4 hp. Often, treadmill motor power figures are continuous horsepower
The actual power draw will be a bit more since the motors aren’t 100% efficient and the console will draw some power as well. Most of the time, the treadmill will draw less than the quoted number but on peaks (high speed, accelerating, heavy footfall) it certainly can draw that much.
It’s easy to see that even a small, 2-hp treadmill can draw enough power to trip a 15-amp circuit breaker. A 20-amp breaker is much better suited for treadmills although big treadmills can still give those a workout.
You also want to check what other appliances in the house that your power outlet is powering. Other home appliances, such as the television or oven, take a lot of energy, so avoid ‘daisy-chaining’ — when you connect several devices via the same power outlet. For example, don’t let your treadmill and oven run simultaneously via a single power outlet.
Also, be aware the circuit breakers usually handle multiple outlets. So even if you plug only your treadmill into an outlet, other outlets in the same area could be connected to the same ‘group’. A treadmill, Tv and some speakers together can definitely be too much.
Another part is that some treadmills just require a lot of power. The high horsepower ratings are nice but all that horsepower needs electricity to actually work. A treadmill will require the most power during acceleration and heavy loads. So if you’re doing High-Intensity interval training, there are a lot of chances to trip the breaker since you accelerate the belt quickly many times.
It’s best to fix the power outlet and wiring but if you can’t, try to limit how much power the treadmill is consuming by limiting the acceleration and load.
2. Treadmill Issues
Sometimes the circuit is tripped by your treadmill issues, which can cause the circuit to get overloaded. For example, when your treadmill has an issue with an old belt, inadequate lubrication, or extra friction somewhere in the moving parts, it has to work harder than usual, thus tripping a circuit.
Tripping of a circuit is quite common in older treadmills. They are usually less efficient which means they draw more power to start with. The wear and tear increases friction which increases power draw once more.
- An unlubricated treadmill belt
- Excessive weight on the treadmill
- Issues with the power cord
- Dead short on the treadmill
3. Power Outlets
Simply overloading the circuit is the most likely reason your treadmill keeps tripping the breaker but there can be another reason.
Most homes today have two outlet types:
GFCI and AFCI are excellent for keeping you safe in the house. However, GFCI and AFCI outlets can sometimes not get along with treadmills.
How To Prevent Your Treadmill From Tripping a Circuit
1. Try a different outlet
Simply trying a different outlet can help. Other outlets can be less sensitive, can handle more power or have less juice flowing through them to other appliances. It’s super easy to try and doesn’t cost anything.
The GFCI outlets are commonly used in garages and outdoor spaces, whereas the AFCI outlets are more common in living rooms and bedrooms. To prevent your treadmill from tripping a circuit, try moving your treadmill to a different power outlet. Most homes must have AFCI outlets to comply with building codes, though.
If the problem of your treadmill tripping a circuit persists, it will help to contact an electrician to help you find the best solutions for the problem. For example, your electrician may advise you to use a different treadmill model or power outlet. In addition, some people use a surge protector, like the Tripp Lite ISOBAR4ULTRA from Amazon.com, to prevent overloads. They help to smooth out power draw peaks.
2. Catch up on maintenance
Also, you want to check for any signs of treadmill problems because they can also trip a circuit. You can do this by running the machine and observing its components, such as the belt, console, wires, etc. Investing some wiring work into creating a dedicated circuit for your treadmill will also help you prevent future circuit-tripping issues.
Make sure your treadmill is well lubricated, maintained, and adjusted. Any unnecessary friction is going to increase the power draw and the likelihood you trip the breaker.
Also make sure the power cord is in good condition and properly connected to the treadmill.
3. Create a Dedicated Circuit for Your Treadmill
It will be beneficial to ensure that your power outlet can handle your treadmill’s electric usage to prevent your treadmill from tripping a circuit. If your 15 amp outlet keeps blowing because of the treadmill, you should create a dedicated outlet for your treadmill, say 20 amp.
For safety reasons, you are required to get a professional to do it for you. Please do not do it yourself. Once you have changed a dedicated circuit ready for your treadmill, you can use your treadmill without tripping a circuit.
Anyone who owns a treadmill may have experienced their machine tripping a circuit. Usually, this occurs when the circuit is overloaded. Since treadmill issues can easily trip a circuit, check your treadmill from time to time to address any issues that may arise.
To prevent your treadmill from tripping a circuit in the future, you should avoid having different appliances in your home to share a single power outlet. Since treadmills use a lot of energy, you should have a dedicated circuit for your treadmill. An electrician can help you with the job.
Favorite Cardio Accessories
Check out these accessories that improve a home cardio workout:
- Equipment mat: All cardio equipment should be put on an equipment mat. The Rubber-Cal mat (Amazon) is an affordable yet very high-quality choice.
- Interval timer: To time your intervals and workouts, there is no better choice than the GymNext Flex. It’s super easy to use and set up with a phone app.
- Tablet holder: Cardio can be boring. With this tablet holder (Amazon) you can follow along with on-demand workouts or just watch a movie on any cardio machine.
- Heart rate monitor: Monitoring your heart rate is very important while doing cardio. The Polar H10 (Amazon) connects to almost anything you can imagine and is very accurate.
To find which cardio machines I recommend for home gyms, click here.