Hi, I was wondering if anyone could suggest my next step (whether to get
the dryer fixed or electrical fixed).
I have a nearly new GE electric dryer and it works great for the most
part. When I use the "fluff" dry cycle it never flips the breaker. If I
turn it to the "low heat" setting, it sometimes works OK, but I have to
have a pretty small load and the clothes have to be somewhat dry
already. If I turn it on any heat setting with a wet load, the breaker
flips almost immediately. I try to dry clothes using the "fluff" cycle
until I can turn it on to low heat.
It has a double 50 AMP circuit breaker for the 220 line. I don't know
if the dryer had this problem before I moved here because I just bought
it (and it was used, but again, it's not more than a year or two old).
I'm thinking it might be a weak breaker, but if there's some sort of
diagnostic I can do to see if it's the dryer or the electrical, that
would be great. My dad brought his voltage meter with him and it
doesn't seem to be pulling too much current. He's an electrician. I
think he said that it must be the breaker, but I'm just not sure who to
call to get a final fix on this. :(
Does this sound like just a breaker problem? (It's really hard to get
my landlord to fix things.) Or is it my dryer?
The dryer circuit should be a double 30 amp with 10 ga. wire. If it is
tripping a double 50, something major is wrong. The "electrician" needs to
put an ammeter on the line and see exactly how much it's drawing as a first
Check the dryer's manual and find out what size circuit it requires.
Make sure it is getting that size breaker (no larger or smaller) and
properly sized wires. Old breakers can go bad and may need to be replaced,
but 50amp to a residential dryer sounds far too large to me.
Make sure the dryer is the ONLY thing on the circuit.
I'd try the cheap stuff first, seeing as how you have a free electrician.
First, pull out the dryer, pull the vent hose off the back, and maybe the
back panel. I've had dryers where the hose and most of the shell were full
of lint, which increases the current draw a bunch. If the dryer , and the
vent line all the way to the outside, are clean, have him switch the
breakers, if he can find the same brand. (what landlord doesn't know won't
hurt him, and new breakers are cheap.) If neither of those fix it, the wire
between the panel and the dryer may be too small, or have other problems.
That is landlords problem.
That 50 AMP Breaker for a residential dryer circuit is very suspicious
and might be cause for alarm. Higher amperage circuits cost
electricians more to install and they don't generally do things like
that if the code specifies a circuit of lessor Amperage for a specific
purpose. What if the wire to the outlet was only #10 (for a standard
30A Dryer circuit and it is "protected" by that 50 amp breaker? This
would be almost like having no protection at all and the wire could
overheat and start a fire. It is certainly worth checking out for the
safety of yourself and others in your building.
While it may be the breaker it could be the heating element. Could be that
when it heat to a certain point, it causes a short. If dad cannot figure it
out, get a more competent electrician or repair tech.
Thanks to all for the info. My dad didn't have much of a chance to look
at it -- and he lives too far away to really get it taken care of. He
thought it was really strange there was a 50 amp breaker, too. But he
works mostly on really high voltage stuff. Somebody might have had a
problem with it before and just thought UPSIZING the amps would do the
trick. It's a square D breaker box, so it might be pretty easy to fix,
but I don't know if I want to get that involved. It is a rental. We
also checked inside the dryer to make sure everything was pulling the
proper voltage, and nothing seemed off.
I do have kind of a shady landlord, so he's not gonna fix it, I'm sure.
The last time I called someone to snake a sink, he brought a plunger,
and didn't even fix it. Geez...
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