breaker shutting off

Old 03-17-03, 12:01 PM
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Unhappy breaker shutting off

My dryers breaker keeps tripping off after the dryer has been on for about 10 minutes. How can I tell if it is problem with the dryer or a problem with the breaker?
Old 03-17-03, 12:12 PM
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There's a 97% chance it's the dryer and a 3% chance it's the breaker. Here are some possibilities:[list=1][*]The dryer element is in the process of dying, and it has partially shorted out.[*]You are in an old house with 20-amp service to a dryer than requires 30-amp service (you would need to rewire the circuit in this case).[*]The dryer motor is dying or the belt is binding.[/list=1]
Old 03-17-03, 12:22 PM
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I'll check the dryer element and let you know how it turned out.
Old 03-17-03, 09:59 PM
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I hate to ask this question, but is it an electric dryer, or a gas dryer?
I actually got a call on this once, from a friend, gas dryer, and discovered that another outlet was on the washer/dryer circuit, and her husband had moved a chest freezer into the basement. Guess where he plugged it in... When the freezer kicked on while the dryer was running, CLICK, it tripped the circuit.

If your dryer is electric, ignore my rantings.
Old 03-18-03, 05:38 AM
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Electric Dryer breaker

I took out the dryer element and it looked fine. My dryer can be set for a drying time on high heat (cotton) or low heat (permanent press). Once that is set the start button must be depressed. Two things I noticed. 1) I hear a slight "buzzing" from the dryer timer once it is set and before the start button is pressed. Is it possible for the timer to be running prior to the start button being depressed? 2) The breaker for the dryer is actually two breakers joined together. When it trips only the top breaker shuts off. The dryer keeps running but no heat. Could this be an indication of something? Thanks.........
Old 03-18-03, 07:05 AM
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"The breaker for the dryer is actually two breakers joined together. When it trips only the top breaker shuts off."

Apparently it is not a double pole breaker, which would trip both breakers at the same time, therefore not allowing ANY power to the dryer. This is important, particularly since if that dryer ran for any point of time on 120 instead of 240, chances are good that it damaged the dryer. It's also against code to have 2 separate breakers feeding a 240 outlet.
Old 03-18-03, 07:51 AM
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The only component of the dryer that needs 240 volts is the heating element. The motor uses 120 volts and the controls use 120 volts (possibly with a transformer). That is why your dryer continues to run (without heat) after 1/2 of the breaker is tripping.

You could very well have a loose connection at your circuit breaker. If the wire is loose on the breaker terminal OR if the breaker is not making good connection with the bus bar the heat built up after 10 minutes or so of arcing could trip the breaker. Since you really need to replace the two single pole breakers with a double pole, the first thing I would do is inspect the breaker (terminal & bus bar). If there has been overheating, you will see visible signs (discoloration, etc.). Check the screws for tightness. If you don't have any problem there, I would do a full inspection of the dryer receptacle, receptacle / cord connection, and terminal block inside the dryer. You could have a bad connection at one of those locations that could cause increased amperage which would trip the breaker. If you find no problems anywhere, take this question to the appliance board.

One other question. You didn't say what size the breakers are. I'm assuming they are 30 amp single pole breakers on 10 guage wires. You would need to replace them with one 30 amp double pole breaker. If you have any other combination of wiring and / or breakers let us know.
Old 04-07-03, 06:20 AM
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switched breakers

When I went into the breaker box, I did notice the screw holding the wire in the DRYER breaker was a little loose. However, what I ended up doing is switching the RANGE breaker with the DRYER breaker (both are single pole 30 amp) and tightening all the screws. Both appliances are working fine.

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