Type of breaker for dryer

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  #1  
Old 01-06-07, 03:30 PM
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Type of breaker for dryer

I was mapping the circuits in my house today to accurately label the service panel and I came across a breaker I don't understand (imagine! ).

There's a four-switch breaker in the box that feeds the electric dryer and the outlets in the kitchen. The two inner switches for the kitchen outlets are 20 amp and ganged together so they can't be operated independently, with a black wire coming out for each switch (two seperate circuits?). The two outer switches for the dryer are 30 amp, and connected with a loose bracket/lever so they can be operated by hand simultaneously, but can also switch independently.

Everything works fine and has for years, but the previous occupant did a lot of work on the place, some of it questionable, and I never know if what's here is original/correct or one of his shortcuts.

Should the switches for the dryer be able to operate independently, and if yes, what's the purpose of the bracket for manually switching them simultaneously?

Is there some reason why the circuits for the kitchen outlets should be run through a pair breakers that don't allow for independent switching? (assuming there really are two seperate circuits...)

TIA
 
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  #2  
Old 01-06-07, 03:36 PM
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it sounds like the previous owner ran out of room in that panel and went to using tandem breakers. The dryer breaker should be (assuming electric dryer) a double pole breaker (which is in other terms) what you basicly described. No they should not operate separately and (depending on your unit) should be a double pole 30amp breaker. Hope this helps -AMP
 
  #3  
Old 01-06-07, 04:12 PM
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The dryer needs 240 volts at 30 amps, which is what the setup you have provides. The breakers must trip at the same time, so that if one trips the other should as well.

The two 20 amp breakers may or may not power a multi-wire circuit. If the two 20 amp circuits in question are truly separate (that is two hots, two neutrals, and two grounds) then they do not need to be connected to this breaker. However, if those two circuits share a neutral wire and a ground wire then they may need to be connected to a breaker similar to this.

More investigation is needed on your part.

Will the 30 amp sections of this quad breaker trip simultaneously?

What kind of cable, how many cables, and how many wires are in the cable(s) that connect to the 20 amp sections of this breaker?
 
  #4  
Old 01-06-07, 06:23 PM
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Thanks for the responses.

If one of the 30 amp switches is flipped, the mechanical linkage will not trip the other switch, so I guess I'll be fixing that tomorrow with a dedicated dryer breaker of the proper type.

I just checked the 20 amp wiring, it looks like two seperate circuits. One 3-wire cable for each switch, 10 gauge, all properly connected. I'll have to wait till daylight to see if both circuits actually go to the kitchen, or if one is just extraneous from something the previous ding-dong owner disconnected or whatever.

At any rate, if the dryer line needs to be corrected, the other lines will get fixed tomorrow, too.
 
  #5  
Old 01-06-07, 06:34 PM
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Yes, the dryer needs to be corrected. Look for a quad breaker with the 30 amp section in the middle.
 
  #6  
Old 01-07-07, 12:12 PM
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Problem solved. Turns out there were two circuits for the kitchen, all is well now.

Thanks for the help.
 
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