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Old 08-04-2012, 04:45 PM   #1
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Weird light problem


The lights in 3 of my bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen plugs will not come on unless i turn on my clothes dyer. Anyone know why and how to fix it?

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Old 08-04-2012, 05:32 PM   #2
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You've lost one leg of your incoming service. Step one is to try turning your main breaker off and then on. Step two is to call the power company and have them check their connections.

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Old 08-04-2012, 05:47 PM   #3
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Wow, that's a weird one alright. It sounds like the power passes through the outlet ONLY when the dryer is running. The first thing I would do is trip the breaker and pull the dryer outlet and see what's going on in there.

I'm sure people with more experience will respond also, but it seams strange to me that the dryer is sharing a circuit with so many other outlets.
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:51 PM   #4
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I'm sure people with more experience will respond also, but it seams strange to me that the dryer is sharing a circuit with so many other outlets.
Its not, when the dryer is running the 240v heater is completing the circuit path, same thing happens with an electric water heater and you lose a leg.
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Old 08-04-2012, 05:52 PM   #5
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What's happening is this:

Your incoming electrical service is made up of two 120V lines, 180 degrees out of phase with each other so you have 240V between them.

One of the 120V lines has gone dead, probably due to a loose connection or broken wire.

When the dryer (A 240V appliance) is turned on, power is going from the good 120V leg, through the dryer's heating element, to the bad 120V leg.

All the circuits one the bad 120V leg are only getting power when it is fed through a 240V load such as the dryer. You'll find that none of your 240V appliances will work properly, and every other circuit breaker in the panel is dead.

It's easy to verify with a meter, if you like. You simply remove the circuit breaker panel cover, and carefully measure voltage at the terminals where the service wires connect to the main breaker. Normally, you would have 120V between each terminal and ground, and 240V between the two terminals.

I expect you'll find that you have 120V to ground on one terminal, 0V to ground on the other, and 0V between them, except when a 240V appliance is on.
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:45 PM   #6
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You've lost one leg of your incoming service. Step one is to try turning your main breaker off and then on. Step two is to call the power company and have them check their connections.
I think you're right because when I put the charge indicator on the dryer outlet it lite up 120. I tried flipping the main breaker off and then back on but it didn't help. Any more suggestions?
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Old 08-04-2012, 06:45 PM   #7
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I think you're right because when I put the charge indicator on the dryer outlet it lite up 120. I tried flipping the main breaker off and then back on but it didn't help. Any more suggestions?
Call your power company... or just do more laundry.
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Old 08-04-2012, 07:41 PM   #8
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The lights in 3 of my bedrooms, bathroom, and kitchen plugs will not come on unless i turn on my clothes dyer. Anyone know why and how to fix it?
When you turn on your clothes dryer....it doesn't work very well, does it?
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:06 AM   #9
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Weird light problem


Thank you so much for your advice. I called the electric company and they sent out a tech who said exactly what you said and fixed it. You're a blessing to me and my family. Thank You.
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Old 08-05-2012, 12:22 AM   #10
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Hey someone actually listened to the advice they got and low and behold a sucess story.

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