Dishwashers aren't terribly high current devices. If the dishwasher's
own breaker doesn't trip, yet the a master breaker trips, then either
the DW's breaker is defective, or the total current for the household reaches
the 50A capacity when the dishwasher is running even though the DW isn't
overloading its own breaker. If the latter is really
happeneing then going to the stove and flipping the 4 burners on (assuming
it is electric) should have the same effect.
Insufficient info to advise!
They may have gas cooking/heating??????
A 50 A breaker is not very much power (only 11,500 watts) for a whole
For example our all electric, including heating etc. house built 40
years ago was required, then, to have a 200 amp service.
With dishwasher, clothes dryer, freezer, two extra fridges etc. etc.
plus basement workshop with bench saw and other electric machines, our
main 200 amp breaker has never tripped.
Seems weird to have three 50 amp main breakers. Isn't it more typical for
there to be a main box with a single 150 or 200 amp breaker, perhaps a
secondary panel with 50 amps and the secondary panel would be just for
lights and outlets in a basement.
If the DW has a 20 amp breaker, it just requires another 35 amps to
trip the main breaker -- lights scattered around the rooms, and
perhaps one high draw item like a space heater, a big TV or electric
Weird. wtf doesn't it have a single breaker for the whole panel so that three 20
amp loads won't trip it?
The main breaker is to protect the wiring to the panel as well as the
bus inside. Does the panel have 3 220V pairs going to it and 3
bus pairs inside?
Has any electrical work been done recently in your home ???
If YES, then it sounds as if the load in your electrical panel
is not evenly balanced and one busbar has more amperage
being drawn from it even though none of the individual branch
circuits are tripping... What else in the house is turned on
besides the dishwasher when this happens ???
If NO, then it sounds like your main 50 amp breaker (which
doesn't really sound like your main breaker because of the
ampacity, unless your electrical service is REALLY OLD)
has to quote Scotty from Star Trek: "Given up the ghost,"
and needs to be replaced because of age or a defect in
If the machine has an intermittent short, it would typically trip the
individual circuit breaker 15 or 20 amp that is protecting it. The only
reason that a 50 amp main would trip prior to the branch circuit breaker, is
if it is defective, or amperage close to it's capacity, 50 amps, is being
drawn at the time it trips. This is where the ammeter comes into play. If
the machine is tripping consistently, you could try turning off every other
breaker in that panel, then see if the main still trips
The dishwasher may have a water heater element that is relatively high
current that causes an overload trip. Some of the cleaning cycles may
not use the heater.
The three 50A breakers sound like they are all service disconnects. One
may be for an old electric range circuit (OP said existing range is
gas). A 50A circuit for the general house loads seems small. The old
"main and range" split bus service panels had 60A to the general loads.
If it seems the 50A breaker may be bad you could swap wires between
another breaker. Don't do it if you don't know what you are doing -
service panels have significant hazards.
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