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Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

Posted by stinky-gardener (My Page) on
Tue, May 18, 10 at 12:28

This happens once in a while, not every time I use the machine. Can someone tell me why this happens?

My house was built in 1987 & the machines are original to the house. Bought the house 4 yrs. ago. Any ideas? Thanks!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

Need a lot more info in order to give you some possibilities. Is the dryer gas or electric? How many amps is the breaker? What is the rated current draw of the dryer? Etc.


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

Most likely a problem with the dryer.


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

X2...

might be time to replace the dryer.

Also take a look at the plug and the wall recept for any kins, exposed wiring, etc..


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

Thanks, Keith, Joe & AZ! Sorry it took me so long to get back here.

Joe & AZ, Hmm...problem with the dryer? As soon as I flip the switch at the circuit board, the dryer comes back on. Why doesn't the dryer just stop working if it's on the fritz?

Keith, the dryer is electric, the breaker, 30 amps. Don't know how to answer your other question.

Thanks for any additional feedback.


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

I also suspect the dryer. Dryers typically require pushing a start button or twisting a knob to start any action after any shutdown, including power failures of any kind. It helps keep children from crawling into the drum, closing the door, and having the dryer start without further deliberate action. Dryer elements of some types can come loose from their mounts and bounce into contact with the (hopefully) grounded dryer housing. That will often trip the breaker. Get the dryer properly repaired- it definitely has problems.


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

The dryer should have a rating plate/sticker on it. Mine is visible when I open the door.


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

It could be as simple as one section of the heating element has burned in two. They are sometimes shaped like a spring and could occasionally shake around and contact their metal enclosure which would trip the breaker. Or maybe not.


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

"As soon as I flip the switch at the circuit board, the dryer comes back on. Why doesn't the dryer just stop working if it's on the fritz?"

This would be true if the wonderful world of mechanical machines either work or don't work, but like people, it's not a black or white thing unfortunately. Explanation: it's borderline sucking too much electricity, and so when u hit a bump.....

I too would fault the heating coil. Replace if not too expensive should solve the prob.


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

Thanks, Busdriver. You know, in 2007, I had a repairman come out. He was here about 3 minutes & asked, "Where are your circuit breakers?" I lead him to the garage, he flipped the switch, & then asked for $65.00 for "fixing" my dryer. Great. That, btw, is how I learned to just go flip the switch. Priceless.

Weemeister, thanks. Mine has two series of #s. Line #1 reads: 120/240v 3 wire 60HZ 5600 W 24A Line # reads: 120/208V 3 wire 60HZ 4400W 22A. Also, it's a General Electric, fwiw.

Groundrod, you seem to think it's the dryer too. Thanks for the info.

Bob, well said. I really don't want another repairman out here. Would it be o.k. to wait a few more years, just keep flipping the switch a while longer, then get new machines? I was planning to replace both laundry machines in a few years, but would prefer not to buy right now unless I really have to. Is this a fire hazard?

Thanks again everybody!


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

Anytime something trips a breaker on a continual basis is a fire hazard. A tripping breaker means something is wrong and needs to be repaired.


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

"Would it be o.k. to wait a few more years, just keep flipping the switch a while longer, then get new machines?"

Your insurance should pay to replace the machines after the fire.

It will pay to your estate if you do not make it through.


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

Sometimes when that stuff happens it's the breaker itself that may be ringing its own death knell. They do last a while but not forever.If the breaker is rated for 30AMPS( as would be the dryer) and is on a dedicated circut and your house is relatiely new, then I'm guessing that the wires aren't frayed and hence shorting out at their junction boxes or worse arcing somewhere within your walls. Take the money and get an electrician to look at it rather than trying to guess at it. Do some homework and then tell her the problem up front. That way when they try to explain the issue you have and idea of what they're talking about. Good Luck to you!


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

"Take the money and get an electrician to look at it rather than trying to guess at it"

The problem is far more likely to be in an ~23 year old appliance than anywhere else.

Electricians do not normally work on appliances.


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

Thanks, Hendricus, Zp, & Brick.

This has happened maybe 4 times in 4 years. Happened twice, then went 2 yrs w/out incident, then it happened twice again recently which prompted me to post this thread.

I must replace all of my original to the house appliances, kitchen items included, but am trying to get as much mileage as I can out of these 1980's models. I bought when the market was sky-high, over-paid for this house, so I need to think about getting the most for my money.

Also need to think about re-sale value down the road. If I sell in 10 years, buyers will ask, "Why aren't the appliances updated?" if I buy them all now! The world of electronics is advancing & changing at a dizzying speed. Today's models will seem fuddy-duddy in five years. Having said that, I'm not planning to wait a full 10 years to replace! I want to get some enjoyment out of them too.

In my last house I bought everything twice...two stove tops, two dishwashers, two fridges, in 13 years (but one washer/dryer...yay!) Don't want to go through that again.


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

Every once in a while I do read in here about a breaker that has become "weak" over time. I've never seen it myself, but I read it often enough to believe it must happen.

What better candidate than one that has been powering a long-cycle heating load PLUS the inrush current of a motor, over and over again, for over 20 years?


I'm in favor of someone inspecting the dryer for loose/frayed internal wiring/parts. I am not in favor of replacing the machine just "because it's old". If the internal wiring is found to be intact and no parts are flopping around hitting things, replacing the breaker seems the next logical step.


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer / additional thoughts

Some other thoughts that just came to mind...

the dryer could possibly be pulling more than its intended current for reasons that aren't, directly, major issues, but should be remedied, if for no reason other than to stop the breaker from tripping.

It's possible (but I think unlikely?) that some of the coils of the heating element could have shorted together, effectively reducing its resistance and increasing current.

How about increased load on the motor? Drum bearings worn? Belt? Lots of dirt/grease/grime inside of there? Does it need some lubrication or is one of those "permanently-lubricated" deals? The repair cost of some of these parts would probably be enough to warrant a new machine, of course, but I do still think it's potentially worth investigating what is wrong with the dryer before just tossing it aside and buying a new one.


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RE: Circuit breaker thrown by dryer

Thanks, Pharkus. Interesting thoughts. Sounds like you think the dryer can be saved & the breaker may be the problem. I need a talented, trustworthy person to look at these things for me (oh, who won't charge an arm & a leg!) Will see who I can find out there. That's the really hard part...finding good people/helpers. Wish me luck!

Thanks again, everyone.


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