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Old 08-18-2011, 08:49 AM   #1
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New electric dryer install trips breaker


A new electric dryer was installed in our new vacation home about four months ago. We don't use it often. This past weekend, it tripped the breaker twice, after running only a few minutes. The second time I was nearby when it happened and there was a very faint burning smell in the breaker box. Not good! For logistical reasons, getting the builder to send an electrician out is an inconvenience for us, but I'll obviously go that route if that's what it takes. Was just wondering if anyone has some good theories on what could be wrong. The breaker is 30 amps, which I imagine is sufficient. I'm thinking (a) bad connection at the breaker or at the dryer, (b) miswiring, or (c) inadequate wire gauge. But, naturally, I'm no expert. :-)

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Old 08-18-2011, 08:59 AM   #2
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New electric dryer install trips breaker


Although a 30 amp connection is pretty much standard for a dryer, you should verify what the dryer requires.
Who connected the cord to the dryer?
#10 wire is used with a 30 amp circuit. If the house is new then the cable going from the panel to the dryer receptacle will most likely be orange, but an undersized cable won't cause a breaker to trip.

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Old 08-18-2011, 09:02 AM   #3
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New electric dryer install trips breaker


Yeah. I plan on checking the manual and making sure it requires no more than 30amps. The builder's crew installed the dryer (not an electrician, though an electrician obviously ran the cable and installed the receptacle). I'll also double check for an orange cable, though it sounds like one of my theories is wrong.
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Old 08-18-2011, 09:08 AM   #4
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New electric dryer install trips breaker


If you can get to the back side of the dryer you could just verify that the four wires of the cable are connected correctly to the terminal block and also verify that there is no damage to the cable by the cable clamp.
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Old 08-18-2011, 09:37 AM   #5
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New electric dryer install trips breaker


Since you smelled the smell at the panel that is where I would start to look.
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Answers based on the National Electrical Code. Local amendments may apply. Check with your local building officials.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:48 PM   #6
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New electric dryer install trips breaker


Loose connection at the breaker. I'd bet on it. Turn the breaker off and tighten the connections. I bet one of them wasn't tightened at all, and the wire is just sitting there. The loose connection heats up and thermally trips the breaker. The burning smell would be the insulation of the wire melting.
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Old 08-18-2011, 12:51 PM   #7
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New electric dryer install trips breaker


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Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
Loose connection at the breaker. I'd bet on it. Turn the breaker off and tighten the connections. I bet one of them wasn't tightened at all, and the wire is just sitting there. The loose connection heats up and thermally trips the breaker. The burning smell would be the insulation of the wire melting.
Agreed, or an improperly seated breaker?
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Old 08-18-2011, 01:26 PM   #8
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New electric dryer install trips breaker


Awesome. Thanks guys! I'll turn off the main breaker outside, open up the inside breaker box and check that connection.
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Old 08-29-2011, 09:09 PM   #9
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New electric dryer install trips breaker


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Originally Posted by mpoulton View Post
Loose connection at the breaker. I'd bet on it. Turn the breaker off and tighten the connections. I bet one of them wasn't tightened at all, and the wire is just sitting there. The loose connection heats up and thermally trips the breaker. The burning smell would be the insulation of the wire melting.
You would have won that bet! I was at the house this past weekend and checked out the situation. Sure enough, one of the two cables running into the 30 amp breaker had about two inches of charred sheathing, and was not fastened into the breaker. I removed the crispy sheathing, wrapped it thoroughly with heavy duty electrical tape then tightly fastened the exposed tip to the breaker. Dryer is running like a charm. Thanks!!!

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