New Dryer Tripping Circuit Breaker

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Old 12-22-16, 12:28 PM
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New Dryer Tripping Circuit Breaker

I had a brand new dryer delivered and installed two days ago. Installers set the dryer for 20 minutes and said there might be a slight plastic burning smell. Tried to do a small load of laundry that day and the circuit breaker (30 amps) tripped after less than 20 minutes.

The motor on the old dryer was on its last legs- slight buzzing sound when depressing the start button and would give an odd noise before quitting, but the circuit breaker did not trip. I'm of the mind that the problem in not my circuit breaker. Box store company is supposed to come out on Monday, but they are already of the mind that the problem is on my end.

The drum on the new dryer is harder to turn by hand than the old dryer. There was also a burning smell when I tried to dry the first load, but it seems to be less now than before. How long should there be any kind of burning smell with a new dryer?

Installation included a new power cord and new vent kit.

I did another load yesterday (4 pairs of jeans in a 7.0 cf drum) on medium heat and the dryer tripped after 15 minutes or so.

I've read somewhere than newer dryers draw up to 26 amps, whereas older dryers drew 21 or 22 amps. Whirlpool support could not tell met the actual draw, only the recommended 30 amp rating. Is there an easy way to determine actual draw? 26 amps is over the 80% threshold of a 30 amp circuit breaker.

If I run the dryer on fluff or no heat and it still trips the breaker, does this give any useful diagnostic information, and if so, what? Logically, it would rule out the heating element? What about running an empty dryer for 30 minutes? A larger load to see if it cuts off before 20 minutes?

Any other suggestions? While I am very handy with a lot of household and mechanical repairs, I generally keep electrical work to very simple stuff and am not confident to tackle replacing a circuit breaker.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 12:47 PM
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Could you let us know more about the dryer receptacle, circuit and breaker panel. Let us know if this is a three-wire or four-wire circuit. Post any details about the electrical cable if you can see it. Please include brand and approximate age of the breaker panel.

A 30A 2-pole circuit is the standard for an electric dryer. All residential grade dryers should operate on this circuit without tripping the breaker, assuming all the components are working correctly.

Did the installers modify the electrical wiring at your house or just work on the dryer?
 
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Old 12-22-16, 01:36 PM
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Installers did not modify the wiring- just attached the three prong power cord and new vent kit.

Dryer receptacle- three prong, so assuming 3 wire circuit?
Circuit breaker- 30A 2-pole.
Cable- marking reads E32071 8-8-8 AL Triple E Alloy Type SE Cable Style U Type XHHW CDRS 300 V to Ground.

Breaker box assumed to be Square D, based on several newer breakers clearly marked Square D. Panel assumed to be original to house built in 1977. Previous owners removed label from inside panel door.

I've been in the home for 12 years now. No unusual breaker trips. The breaker did trip for the old dryer about 4 or 5 years ago when the plastic coupling for the dryer bearing was wearing out. I replaced the coupling and bearing and the old dryer never tripped the breaker again.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 01:45 PM
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So far so good if it's actually a SqD panel. If you could post a picture of the panel with the cover off it would help us identify it.

My next step would be to measure voltage on the circuit with and without the dryer running. The hot-to-hot measurement should be about 240V, and the measurement from each hot-to-neutral should be about 120V. If these are off there's a bigger problem to investigate. If the voltages change significantly when the dryer is running that also suggests a bigger problem.

Next step would be to turn the circuit off, open up the receptacle box and verify the wire terminals show no signs of burning and the lugs are good and tight. If the receptacle looks good, then open up the main panel and verify the dryer circuit wires are fastened tightly and that the breaker is securely mounted to the bus bar.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 02:04 PM
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Before the repairman comes I would replace breaker. 40 year old breaker could wear out. It will give the tech something to tell store if dryer needs replacement. Will be a hard to diagnose because of time it takes to pop the breaker.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 02:42 PM
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If you can borrow a clamp on amp meter it would be interesting to see the amps when it trips. Also the aluminum wiring makes me wonder if you have a corroded connection drawing high amps.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 03:22 PM
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My understanding is that a clamp on meter will not tell me anything for a dryer amp load. If I follow things correctly, the two 110 lines will cancel each other out? Correct me if I'm wrong and let me know how to use a clamp meter to measure the amp draw.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 03:31 PM
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Pugsi and ibpooks- I agree that I'm basically forced to replace the circuit breaker. I'll need to get an electrician in here to get ibpooks the information he requested because I'm not comfortable getting behind the panel cover. Sorry- but my respect for electricity and my lack of knowledge translates to a healthy fear.

That being said, should the size of a dryer load have much impact on the amp draw of the motor? Reason I ask is that the dryer has been run 4 times now (as opposed to just starting and stopping) and tripped twice with heavier loads that were still well under dryer capacity. Didn't trip with empty drum or with two towels only.

Am running the empty dryer now for 50 minutes on high heat to see if it trips. Thirty minutes in and it is still running.

Does this mean anything?
 
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Old 12-22-16, 05:10 PM
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My understanding is that a clamp on meter will not tell me anything for a dryer amp load
Wrong. If you are looking at the Amprobe when the breaker trips it will tell you if the breaker is (likely) bad or there is a real overload.
If I follow things correctly, the two 110 lines will cancel each other out?
No there are no 110 lines. There is the two legs of the 240 that are supplied to your house. The neutral and one of the 240v legs supplies 120 volts for the motor and controls.
how to use a clamp meter to measure the amp draw.
At the breaker box clamp it around one of the two wires going to the breaker. If the heat element in the drier is not on one leg will probably show no amps. The other leg will show a few amps because of the motor and controls. If the heat is on both wires will probably show 15 or more amps because of the 240v heat element. Basically you want to watch the amp meter and note the current when it trips. If it is more then 30a you have an overload. Less then 30a probably a bad breaker.

However if you are uncomfortable working in a live panel as you state then best to call a pro.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 05:13 PM
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Dryer motor has the least current draw in dryer, the high amp draw is in the heat coils. Size of load should make no difference.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 06:09 PM
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You've confirmed my understanding that the size of the load (within the capacity of the dryer) should make no difference.

So if that is true, if I put in a larger load and the circuit trips and I immediately reset the breaker, but the dryer does not start, does that help to troubleshoot? As in, a faulty motor overheated, causing the circuit breaker to trip?
 
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Old 12-22-16, 06:13 PM
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If it's brand new, call the company that sold it and have them deliver a new one.
 
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Old 12-22-16, 10:57 PM
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I get numerous service calls a year because of people getting new dryers and the old breaker trips due to being weak from age.
 
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Old 12-23-16, 12:28 AM
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Electromen...how exactly is the hassle of trying to get a new dryer delivered going to help if the problem is in the electrical supply TO the dryer?
 
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Old 12-23-16, 05:54 AM
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That being said, should the size of a dryer load have much impact on the amp draw of the motor?
As Justin Smith posted above you most likely need a new breaker. Any dryer on a 30amp circuit should work fine and pretty much never trip.

An electrician can have this done real quick and Square D breakers are common.
 
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Old 12-23-16, 12:12 PM
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If you deal locally from a Mom & Pop store like I do, they would replace the breaker as part of their service or set up a new unit. I refuse to deal with the big box / no service stores.
 
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Old 12-23-16, 01:02 PM
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From the symptoms I think a bad motor or bad drum bearing is more likely than a bad circuit breaker. It runs okay with minimum load, the drum is hard to turn and it trips the CB when drying a full load.
 
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Old 12-23-16, 03:08 PM
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they would replace the breaker as part of their service or set up a new unit
Fairly sure that appliance delivery people are not qualified to replace circuit breakers.
 
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Old 12-23-16, 03:40 PM
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Thanks to the knowledgeable people, especially the mods, who first replied to my original post.

I had an electrician come today and replace the circuit breaker.

The new dryer now runs without tripping. I did one light load and then a heavy load, both without incident.

I suspect this dryer is drawing slightly more than the old dryer, which explains why the old one would work, but with the breaker wearing due to age, the increase in draw was enough to trip it.

Changing the breaker was straightforward, and something that I should be able to do. I'd want to wear safety gloves just in case...

Again, thanks for the help by staying on track by focusing on the breaker.
 
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Old 12-23-16, 04:21 PM
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Thanks for getting back.
Just some info for others because this comes up a lot in my business.
As Tolyn mentioned, delivery guys 'connect' appliances, but aren't considered installers.

An example would be connecting a gas dryer to a working valve, or attaching a cord and plugging it in. Same thing applies to free standing ranges.

There are other installers that will deliver your appliance and install it to specs if you don't want to do it yourself.
This is mandatory on things like microwave hoods, wall ovens, dishwashers, etc.
 
 

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