dryer outlet blown?

cootieluNovember 17, 2010

To start, I know absolutely nothing about electrical circuitry (sp?). (I can't even spell that word...)

We came home from being away 2 days and our dryer will not turn on. It was working fine the day we left. I flipped the breaker switches to the laundry room and then tried the entire house and that didn't help, so we figure it's the dryer. However, I tried to plug a vacuum into an outlet today in our kitchen and no go. Another one in the kitchen worked fine. Tried the breakers again but it didn't help.

So, we are thinking the dryer problem is the outlet. However, if the breaker switch doesn't help it then how do we fix it? And why is it two different random outlets in our house that are not necessarily close to one another? We haven't checked any other outlets.

BTW, we have a new home, built in 2004, and it has some protection, like if our child sticks a screwdriver in the outlet it's suppose to shut it down and not electrocute her. We haven't tested this of course!

Any help would be appreciated!

Cindy

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hendricus

In the kitchen look for a GFCI outlet. That would be one with a couple of push-buttons in the center of it. There should be at least two in the kitchen unless the breakers are also GFCI equipped.

GFCI = Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. This will trip way before a circuit breaker trips.

The dryer is a completely separate problem. Could be the outlet or the dryer. Since you know nothing of electricity it wouldn't be good for you to test the outlet with a tester.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 11:02AM
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brickeyee

Gas or electric dryer?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 4:45PM
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cootielu

electric

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 4:50PM
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DavidR

It sounds like one "leg" of your service is open.

Since you've already cycled the main breaker, the next step should be to call the power company and have them check things over. Tell them what you told us - that your electric dryer isn't working, and that only some of the receptacles and lights are working. Tell them it seems like only about half the house has power. That should get their attention.

If they check it and say the problem is on your side of the meter, it's time to call in a professional electrician. This kind of problem is not for DIYs.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2010 at 8:37PM
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pharkus

I won't rule that out as a possibility, davidr, but it does come with some pretty insane implications. If the problem is an open leg, then whoever wired that house did NOTHING for balancing, since one entire leg of the service apparently powers just one kitchen outlet!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 2:47PM
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brickeyee

"If the problem is an open leg, then whoever wired that house did NOTHING for balancing..."

Balancing is not very effective anyway.

Large 240 V loads are 'balanced' by definition, and the 120 V loads will never be balanced since the equipment on either leg is not controlled in any way.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2010 at 3:13PM
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DavidR

Hmm, well Pharkus, maybe.

I read in the OP that "... our dryer will not turn on ... I tried to plug a vacuum into an outlet today in our kitchen and no go. Another one in the kitchen worked fine ... We haven't checked any other outlets."

To me that suggested an open leg, but I might have run a bit too far with it. I probably should have added that they should check some more 120 volt recepts and lights. The symptom of course would be that SOME 120v outlets would work and some wouldn't.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 12:24AM
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pharkus

Yeah. I partially missed the "We haven't checked any other outlets" thing. The other part is that I often mistakenly assume everyone's like me. Every circuit in my house has several things on it that get used daily (if not constantly). There are 11 of us in a 3-bedroom home right now. If half of the 120V circuits stopped working, at least five people would be beating on my door within two minutes asking me "wtf is wrong with the electricity and when are you going to fix it?"... so the idea of "not noticing" just didn't work for me :)

brickeyee, I agree with you, I suppose I misused the word "balancing". I was trying to imply that, the electrician skipped most of the slots when installing 120V loads, ie, there's only one or two circuits on that leg, the rest are on the other... so balancing number of circuits, not number of amps.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 12:37AM
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brickeyee

"I was trying to imply that, the electrician skipped most of the slots when installing 120V loads,"

The only way to load up only one leg in most panels would be to skip every other breaker slot.

Most are designed so that adjacent slots are on separate legs to allow easy access to both legs with a two pole breaker to create a 240 V circuit.

    Bookmark   November 20, 2010 at 9:53AM
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