Found both washer and dryer out

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Old 11-17-19, 05:00 PM
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Found both washer and dryer out

While working on the car I had a load in the drier and a load in the washer.
Suddenly I found both washer and dryer out. Even though the washer is on its own 120 outlet and the dryer being electric has 240 straight from the electric box. I eventually got everything back by exercising the breakers but I still can't understand how it could have interacted?
While the dryer was not working I made a test at the outlet and found 128 on one leg and nought towards the other. After exercising the two breakers (not correctly tied together, I got the dryer working as normal. But why should any breaker trip? It seems like several breakers were mildly tripped.
What I have been thinking is that since both circuits (240 and 120) both go to the breaker box to one breaker or another, then maybe I have a burned out neutral wire in one or the other of the circuits and each machine is going through ground to the neutral of the still good circuit? It could be the dryer neutral is the more likely to burn out and then power would go through the washer circuit. This is all of course, quite improper.
What is the easy way to check for an open neutral?
 
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Old 11-17-19, 06:55 PM
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A open neutral usually shows the symptom of some incandescent lights getting brigher than nromal while others get dimmer than normal.

When b oth the washer and dryer stopped, there is a chance you lost one of the hots as opposed to lost the neutral. Depending on where the hot got lost you could find about half of th e 120 volt circuits dead or dim and the others normal.

It is not a case of the dryer going through teh washer circuit bu\t rather the washer going through the dryer circuit to get some power from the other lef be leg because its own leg was dead.

If one of the hots all the way from the meter went dead then if you flipped off all the double breakers then about half of the 120 volt circuits would be completely dead and the others normal.
 
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Old 11-17-19, 09:21 PM
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Sounds like a possible loose connection on one of the hot legs feeding your panel.
 
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Old 11-18-19, 06:59 AM
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Have you verified that you actually have a washer breaker? If it shares power with the dryer circuit, its not good. What happened is the dryer is consuming almost 20Amps and then the washer motor surged some current at startup and tripped one leg of the dryer pair. And, the dryer "pair" needs to be a double pole breaker, not two singles, and not shared with the washer circuit.l
 
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Old 11-19-19, 05:08 AM
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...But why should any breaker trip? It seems like several breakers were mildly tripped...
What do you mean by this. Either a breaker trips or it doesn't.
 
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Old 11-19-19, 07:33 AM
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If several breakers are seemingly delivering weak power as evidenced by dim lights or sluggish small appliances then that (depending on which breakers they are) would be the sign of one of the two legs for 240 volts dead. Current from the other, live, leg, cuts through the heating element of a kicked on water heater or an operating dryer and gets to the dead leg, attenuated voltage wise in the process. The remaining voltage weakly powers things on branch circuits on the dead leg. How many volts (hot to neutral) show up on the dead leg depends on the amperes that the various items on that leg are trying to draw.

The importance of linking together the breakers or breaker halves for both legs of a 120/240 or 240 volt feed or a 120/240 volt multiwire branch circuit is so that the opposite leg cannot energize the portion of a circuit you are working on because you did not flip off both legs or both sides.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 11-19-19 at 07:53 AM.
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Old 11-19-19, 06:27 PM
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After exercising the two breakers (not correctly tied together,

So, you have two single pole breakers not tied together and have both a 120/240 volt electric dryer and a 120 volt washer running off those two breakers? I see the problem, you need a 2 pole 30 amp breaker for the dryer and a single pole breaker, probably 20 amp, for the washer.
 
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