Newly installed older dryer kicking off breaker

gale1965October 17, 2013

This is a few - years-old dryer that was moved to a newly built house. We had to replace the old 3 prong cord with a 4 prong to fit the outlet in the new house. It runs for 10 minutes or so and then kicks off the breaker which appears to be two 20 amp switches. It is a Kenmore dryer, probably 5 or 6 yrs old. Any ideas?

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Somewhere on the unit, and certainly in the installation manual, will be a specification about the required current. Mine uses a 30A circuit.

Breakers for 240 Vac circuits have to be two-pole so that both hot wires are interrupted at the same time. Using two single-pole breakers for such a circuit is a violation of NFPA 70.

Wiring has to be suitable for the current, so if 30A, the cable should be at least 10 gauge, 3-wire, w/ground. You would have to look into the outlet or into the breaker panel or at the cable itself if accessible to determine whether your wiring is adequate.

If the above is not obvious, please hire an electrician to take a look for you.


    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 9:43AM
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Electric dryers typically take 30 amp breakers so you likely are running it on an undersized circuit.

Two single-pole breakers were often used in the past so maybe this is an "old" wiring situation.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 10:03AM
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As kas says, most 240V dryers require a 30 amp circuit. Do not just change the breaker, unless you can verify #10 wire.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 10:08AM
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thanks. I have no idea why they would automatically put in a 20 amp breaker. My husband switched it out for a 30 amp so I'll have him check the wire size.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 4:19PM
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Also, I found the book for the dryer (which I thought was long gone) and it says 30 amp in it. The wiring he has to check-would that be the wire that connects to the actual breaker?

He ran the dryer this morning and it didn't kick off the breaker.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 4:21PM
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The wire between the breaker and the dryer. Fire hazard if it's undersized, please check!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 4:34PM
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Called the builder and his electrical chart for the house shows 10-3 in that location. It also shows a 30 amp breaker so I suspect whoever was wiring grabbed the wrong breaker. How annoying.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 6:15PM
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Hope whoever was wiring grabbed the right wire. ;)

Easy enough to check yourself, (might even see it printed on wire itself, if enough is exposed) but being as this is new construction I think you have enough cause for concern that they would send someone qualified to confirm. Personally I would not have changed the breaker without checking the wire first.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 9:18PM
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