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Thread: Dryer outlet

  1. #1
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    Default Dryer outlet

    This is at a rental property
    A few months ago the tenant tells me the dryer outlet does not work
    I check the outlet and find nothing wrong.
    I tell the tenant nothing is wrong with the outlet, it's the dryer
    ( Dryer does nothing, no heat, no motor, no light, nothing)
    The tenant replaces the dryer
    No change
    2nd hand appliance store swaps out dryer
    No change
    2nd hand appliance store tells it's the dryer outlet
    Tenant calls me again
    I check outlet again, no problem found
    Here is what I checked
    3 wire setup
    120v hot to ground
    120v hot to ground
    240v hot to hot
    checked for voltage at terminals on dryer

    Tenant tells me this is the third dryer,
    It's a stretch to think that 3 dryers are bad
    No heat, no motor, no light, nothing

    I do not want to keep saying "It;s the dryer" until I know for sure
    Is there something else I can do to check the outlet?

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    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  2. #2
    Robert Meier's Avatar
    Robert Meier Guest

    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    My guess is that the dryers have been wired incorrectly. The jumper between the EGC and the neutral is not connected in the dryer so the there is no neutral at the dryer to operate the 120 volt controls.


  3. #3
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Hook up a load and recheck the voltage. Bad connection can make the voltage drop enough to make the dryer drop out.
    Check the cord. Chances are they are swapping the cord to each new dryer...

    Jim Luttrall
    www.MrInspector.net
    Plano, Texas

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Look at the electrical connection in the dryer. You say you have the older 3 wire set up - 2 hot legs and a ground. The newer set up use a 4 wire set up - 2 hot legs, an neutral and a ground.

    The older dryers ( and ranges) used the ground as a neutral. This was done by means of a jumper in the dryer at the electrical connection.
    That is no longer allowed.
    Check to see if the the neutral and ground are separate from one another in the dryer.
    It could very well be your dryer is not operating as the controls do not have a neutral.


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by ken horak View Post
    Look at the electrical connection in the dryer. You say you have the older 3 wire set up - 2 hot legs and a ground. The newer set up use a 4 wire set up - 2 hot legs, an neutral and a ground.

    The older dryers ( and ranges) used the ground as a neutral. This was done by means of a jumper in the dryer at the electrical connection.
    That is no longer allowed.
    Check to see if the the neutral and ground are separate from one another in the dryer.
    It could very well be your dryer is not operating as the controls do not have a neutral.
    The neutral of old three wire systems was used as ground by means of a bonding method. The ground, which was absent, was NOT used as the neutral.


  6. #6
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Are we to assume that the original dryer was once working, then suddenly stopped working, prior to all the swap outs? (None of which worked?) That's when you tested the voltage on the back of the dryer (with a DVM)?

    If so, I suspect a bad circuit or (rarely) bad CB.


  7. #7
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
    Garry Blankenship Guest

    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    This sounds like a sleuthing challenge and BTW the problem is the owner's, not yours and beyond H.I. scope. My first suspicion would be the same leg on both hots, but you confirmed 240 volts present. I assume you know which receptacle opening should be what. If any doubt, Goggle up an electrical receptacle configuration chart. Second best guess would be the bad cord theory offered. After that it gets so unlikely that somebody is going to have to pay for a licensed electrician.


  8. #8
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    This sounds like a sleuthing challenge and BTW the problem is the owner's, not yours and beyond H.I. scope. My first suspicion would be the same leg on both hots, but you confirmed 240 volts present. I assume you know which receptacle opening should be what. If any doubt, Goggle up an electrical receptacle configuration chart. Second best guess would be the bad cord theory offered. After that it gets so unlikely that somebody is going to have to pay for a licensed electrician.
    Rick IS the owner.


  9. #9
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Rick, I think you got your answer - the old 3-prong outlet needs a 3-prong cord set. That cord needs to be installed correctly on the new dryers for them to work.

    We recommend that you upgrade that antique wiring for safety.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    So it seems that you agree that there is nothing else I could/ should check on the wiring/ outlet side. (other than a load test)

    It's not likely the dryer cord, I checked voltage at the cord connections.
    Not likely wired incorrectly, all dryers (3 wire) H-N-H at the connections.
    Dryer is not new, it is 3 wire
    Outlet is also 3 wire

    Now I just have to convince the tenant it's not the wiring or outlet, and she needs to get a 4th dryer.
    Thanks

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  11. #11
    Garry Blankenship's Avatar
    Garry Blankenship Guest

    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Long reach options are 1) Wheel that dryer over to the neighbors, unplug theirs, plug it in and see, if it runs. 2) Temp wire a dryer outlet @ the panel & test the dryer in question on that.


  12. #12
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Garry Blankenship View Post
    Long reach options are 1) Wheel that dryer over to the neighbors, unplug theirs, plug it in and see, if it runs. 2) Temp wire a dryer outlet @ the panel & test the dryer in question on that.
    That is my thought too.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    As Jim said earlier - Check the voltages under load. I've seen several breakers have voltage without a load but once a load is put on the system it looses all voltage or drops a leg (2 pole). This condition can be due to bad connections at/in cords, receptacles, panels, or meters. Bad contacts in breakers will do this too.

    The full loathe honey, but to the hungry, even what is bitter tastes sweet.

  14. #14
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    Smile Re: Dryer outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Cantrell View Post
    So it seems that you agree that there is nothing else I could/ should check on the wiring/ outlet side. (other than a load test)

    It's not likely the dryer cord, I checked voltage at the cord connections.
    Not likely wired incorrectly, all dryers (3 wire) H-N-H at the connections.
    Dryer is not new, it is 3 wire
    Outlet is also 3 wire

    Now I just have to convince the tenant it's not the wiring or outlet, and she needs to get a 4th dryer.
    Thanks
    Rick;

    If the dryer vent system is clogged eventually it will shut off the dryer. Most dryers today have a safety sensor built into it and if there is too much heat buildup inside the dryer and no breathing room for the heat to escape through the dryer vent system then it will shutoff. Anyway the point is, hook up a leaf blower to the dryer vent inside the apartment and then go check the outside dryer vent. My experience has been upon inspection has been the following:

    * Improper roof vent (if apt. is third floor or above)

    * Screen left in roof vent (if apt. is third floor or above)

    * Dryer Vent to roof IS other than solid metal vent. (SEE IRC CODES CHAPT 15; if apt. is first or second floor)

    * Dryer Vent IS other than solid metal vent. (if apt is first or second floor)

    * Dryer vent cover is restricted, i.e.; screen, plastic grid, blocking the dryer vent cover prohibiting the lint to escape. (remove the screen or plastic grid and recommend a good and reliable DRYER VENT CLEANING SERVICE) who knows the codes and get it clean.

    AFTER ALL THAT, then check the dryer and see if there is a difference. I run into alot of 3 wire dryers and 90% of the time it is the dryer vent system that it the culprit.


  15. #15
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Roth View Post
    Rick;

    If the dryer vent system is clogged eventually it will shut off the dryer. Most dryers today have a safety sensor built into it and if there is too much heat buildup inside the dryer and no breathing room for the heat to escape through the dryer vent system then it will shutoff. Anyway the point is, hook up a leaf blower to the dryer vent inside the apartment and then go check the outside dryer vent. My experience has been upon inspection has been the following:

    * Improper roof vent (if apt. is third floor or above)

    * Screen left in roof vent (if apt. is third floor or above)

    * Dryer Vent to roof IS other than solid metal vent. (SEE IRC CODES CHAPT 15; if apt. is first or second floor)

    * Dryer Vent IS other than solid metal vent. (if apt is first or second floor)

    * Dryer vent cover is restricted, i.e.; screen, plastic grid, blocking the dryer vent cover prohibiting the lint to escape. (remove the screen or plastic grid and recommend a good and reliable DRYER VENT CLEANING SERVICE) who knows the codes and get it clean.

    AFTER ALL THAT, then check the dryer and see if there is a difference. I run into alot of 3 wire dryers and 90% of the time it is the dryer vent system that it the culprit.

    The tenant said that none of the dryers ever worked at all, not even for a moment.
    No heat, no motor, no light, nothing.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Because none of the low voltage parts of any dryer works (never mind the heat at this point) I suspect a loose neutral. In this case, one is using the ground as the neutral, so I suspect a bad ground. Often, meter readings will be deceptively OK, but once a load is put on, it will all but disappear.

    Check to see where the ground is bonded to the neutral (should be at MAIN panel NOT sub panel) if you are in this deep, it's probably time to call the licenced electrician...


  17. #17
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    I wrestled with a similar problem with a friend's electric stove. When I checked the outlet it seemed fine, but plug in the stove and there was nothing. Turned out that the outlet had a major defect that when the plug was inserted into the outlet, the internal connections separated and viola......no power. Very weird.

    I replaced the outlet and the stove worked.


  18. #18
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Rick,

    One other thing to check. After hearing that the outlet never operated properly and you have the proper voltage reading at the receptacle. Open the panel and verify that the neutral is properly attached. I encountered a similar issue with an electric stove the neutral was just laying inside the panel and made enough contact to fool the DMM but not enough to carry current. Connected the neutral problem solved. I would also check the other connections with the cover off, and of course like in all my inspection reports I suggest using a qualified licensed electrician to perform the aforementioned work.


  19. #19
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    If the same cord has not been used on all three dryers, I would recommend checking voltage under load, very carefully of course.

    Sounds like a loose connection or a bad circuit breaker.

    Remember, voltage is a "potential."

    It is not necessarily present under load if any of the above conditions exist.

    Lastly, I like the plug the dryer into a "test" receptacle wired to the panel method.

    Just don't use the same circuit breaker or branch circuit wiring.

    Sounds sort of odd but would definitely eliminate the wiring and breaker from the equation and sometimes trouble shooting is the elimination of possibilities.

    If different wire and different breaker still don't work, call Ghostbusters.


  20. #20
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Update


    Recap of problem
    I bought the house and remodeled it
    Had an electrician do any wiring, repairs on electrical.
    New tenant said dryer outlet did not work
    I checked outlet 120, 120, 240
    I told her it was the dryer
    She replaced the dryer
    Same problem with replacement dryer
    I checked outlet again, 120, 120, 240
    I then asked for advice on this forum

    Problem found and solved
    No neutral

    I had an extra 3 wire dryer cord
    I connected it to two 120v recpt outlets.
    Then plugged in a 1500 watt portable heater into each of the 120v outlets.
    The heaters did not work individually, but they did work together.
    At this time I knew it was a bad neutral connection.

    I removed panel cover
    Neutral wire was cut but was touching the cabinet
    Pigtailed wire to neutral, connected to ground bar
    Problem solved

    Of course the reason I showed 120v on each leg is because the neutral was touching the cabinet, but was not making good enough contact to even run the dryer timer.

    Thanks for the suggestions

    Next time you are in Columbus, stop in and I buy you a Coke.

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    verrrrrry interesting


  22. #22
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Jim Luttrall nailed it, post #3, Franz seconded it, so he gets a Coke too.

    Thanks for the update, Rick. Again, we recommend you update that dryer wiring to 4 wire. You are lucky that loose neutral didn't cause a burn.

    I did an 8 unit apartment building last week. 7 units had bad or disabled smoke alarms, unit 8 we couldn't find a key for the lock.

    John Kogel, RHI, BC HI Lic #47455
    www.allsafehome.ca

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Dryer outlet

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kogel View Post
    Jim Luttrall nailed it, post #3, Franz seconded it, so he gets a Coke too.

    Thanks for the update, Rick. Again, we recommend you update that dryer wiring to 4 wire. You are lucky that loose neutral didn't cause a burn.

    I did an 8 unit apartment building last week. 7 units had bad or disabled smoke alarms, unit 8 we couldn't find a key for the lock.
    Yes I do plan to go with 4 wire, of course it's just not that easy to change over.
    And yes, Jim on post #3 was 1st with the right answer
    And I had the exact same problem that Al described
    To everyone
    Thanks

    ' correct a wise man and you gain a friend... correct a fool and he'll bloody your nose'.

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