The situation is: The house is 100 years old. Has 100 amp breaker
service. Bought a new dryer and after 15 minutes of running, it blows
the circuit breaker. I would just put in a bigger circuit breaker but
me and electricity don't get along very well.
I reset the breaker and turn on the new dryer - the breaker trips
again after a few minutes. I have now stopped using the new dryer.
The dryer is about 30 feet from the breaker box. There used to be a
very old dryer that I assume worked just fine - we just bought the
house. It has a three prong plug.
My question is: Just up the circuit breaker 5 amps and install one
a bit stronger? Re-run some lower gauge wire and up the circuit
breaker by 5 amps from what it is already?
This is my kids house and is in the middle of nowhere (Ernest) PA.
He has been trying to get an electrician to come out to the house but
it is like pulling teeth. I will likely need to do it myself when I
go visit. I just don't to burn the house down because I overloaded
Suggestions - Hints?
What gauge wire is currently between the panel and the dryer outlet?
What amperage breaker? Typically a dryer should have a 30A breaker and
that should be sufficient, I suspect actually a problem with the new
dryer. Either that or the old breaker is weak, could just try a new
breaker of the same amperage. I'd be hesitant to put in a higher amp
If it is a lower amp breaker (like 20 or 25A) and you end up having to
pull wire, I believe you are required by code to make it a 4-wire
circuit, and replace the receptacle and dryer cord with 4-wire.
(separate neutral and ground.) So if you repull it use 10/3 with ground
and pick up the appropriate receptacle, box, and dryer cord while you're
replace "roosters" with "cox" to reply.
I am waiting for my kid to read me the amps from the back of the
dryer, the size of the wire going across the ceiling and the size of
the circuit breaker in the box. The circuit breaker that pops when
the dryer is running is only the single breaker for the dryer - not
the 100 breaker for the whole house.
What size breaker is there now? FWIW, every domestic electirc dryer I
have ever seen called for a 30 amp breaker, and a minimum of #10 copper
wire. If you already have a 30, I would try replacing it with a new 30
and see what happens. NO way should you put in a larger one. What brand
of breaker is it? If it is a Federal or Zinsco, you would be better off
replacing the panel. Besides being POS's, the breakers are VERY
expensive. Get back with more info. Larry
On Sep 24, 12:51 am, firstname.lastname@example.org (Lp1331 1p1331) wrote:
The OP hasn't advised the size of the circuit breaker for the dryer
circuit that trips!
Also what is the gauge of the wire between the breaker and the dryer
Because the size of the breaker must not exceed 20 amp for #12 AWG or
30 amp for #10 AWG.
Another thought might be, in a very old house; is there anything else
connected to that same circuit breaker. You never know what might have
been codded up or hooked up temporarily years ago.
And yes it may just be a 'weak' old breaker.
It's kind of worrying to tell the OP, who seems to admit to limited
electrical know how, to, as a test, 'swap' the wires for that circuit
breaker onto another breaker of the same rating.
Look at the back of the dryer and see how many amps the dryer is suspose to
use. Check to see if the breaker is that large or larger. If not , you
will need a larger breaker and wire to match going to the dryer. Check all
connections in the breaker box and the dryer socket.
If the breaker is large enough and the wiring is tight, then you may have a
defective dryer, or the breaker is defective.
Thank you! I guess a new dryer takes more amps to run then the older
dryer. With 100 amp service coming into the house - I assume that
means with everything running, the house can't have more then 100 amps
of draw on the power coming into the house before the main circuit
trips??? I am not a electrician so I apologize if the question seems
dumb ... thanks again for your help!
You would think, but I just bought a Kenmore dryer and its rated at 26
Another thing to consider. If the existing outlet in the wall is 3
prong. Then the dryer has a 3 prong plug on it, which means the
neutral and ground were jumped inside the dryer.
Todays new dryers come wired for a 4 prong outlet. But if you have an
older style 3 prong, the instructions say to open up the back panel of
the dryer and tie the ground and neutral together. So I'm wondering
maybe if there's a problem with the way it was wired.
If you look at the main breaker and it has 100 amps on it, that means that
you can not use more than 100 amps total. That is also not entirely true.
A house has three wires comming into it. If you measuer across two of the
wires (the hot wires) you will have 230 volts. Between either of the hot
wires and the third wire (neutral) you will have 115 volts.
You will have some 230 volt breakers and some 115 volt breakers. YOu can
usually tell the differance as the 230 volt ones will look to be twice as
wide as the 115 volt breakers. The breakers will add up to way more than
100 amps. Normally you will not have everything on in the house at the same
time. Also you can have more than 100 amps of the 115 volt breakers in use
at the same time. That is because about half of them are on one of the hot
wires and the other half is on the other hot wire.
That means that if you split the load just right and do not have any of the
230 volt stuff on, you can have 200 amps of 115 volt load.
You are totally way off base on your first comment about blowing the
A 100 amp main will provide 22,000 watts....that is great deal of
My parents house (ca 1960) has a 100 amp service...electric dryer,
electric range, electric oven, pool pump, microwave plus the usual
misc electric stuff.
My mom has tripped individual breakers for kitchen counter top
receptacles but in nearly 50 years of use........never the main.
I cannot even remember being confronted with a situation where a 100
amp main blows due to functional equipment merely demanding a total
current that exceeds the main's capacity. I've seen 70amp services
over loaded but never a 100 amp. Not saying it's not possible, just
To really solve the OP's problem we need the dryer nameplate info &
the rating of the breaker that is blowing.
Unless I missed something in his posts....the dryer could even be a
gas dryer & he's blowing a 120 circuit.
With a 100 year old house (how many previous owners?) there is a
pretty good chance something's been jury rigged over the years & the
problem is being highlighted by the new dryer.
OP- You've got to determine the cause of the breaker
tripping......just blindly putting in a breaker with a higher rating
is a very bad idea unless you know the wire size & what you're doing.
no water heater or AC in your first list :)
you forgot to throw in that 5 hp compressor in the garage, the arc
welder & the ceramic kiln..... keep adding demand and you can blow a
200 amp main
A dryer, an oven, a microwave, a TV, a computer & lights won't blow a
100 amp service....I did experiment this weekend (the pool pump was
running as was a window AC)
Your comment / diagnosis about the OP blowing his main was
I didn't say it was impossible to blow a 100 amp main, just unlikely.
.....yeah you can concoct a three or four sigma usage case by running
around turning on electrical demand until the main blows but that
ain't a normally occurring usage situation and it certainly wasn't
the OP's case.
On Sep 23, 10:03 pm, email@example.com wrote:
The circuit breaker was 30 AMPS. The Wire was 10/3. Lowes
came back to the house and replaced the dryer. ALL IS GREAT NOW. The
new dryer works great! The first new dryer must have had a short or
something wrong with the wiring.
THANK YOU ALL FOR THE ASSISTANCE! I could not have figured this out
without your suggestions.
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