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#122787 - 10/25/04 06:47 PM Dryer receptacle overheating and melting
jschill Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 10
Help!

The receptacle for my dryer has overheated and started to melt twice in the last three months. I replaced the receptacle and power cord the first time and just replaced the receptacle again tonight. What's up?

Background Info: I moved into this house in July 02 and bought a new Kenmore dryer at that time. The previous owner had an electric dryer so I just plugged mine in and started doing laundry. Everything was fine for two years but then in July 04 I noticed a smell of something burning, but couldn't seem to identify the source. The dryer continued to work for a few days. It wasn't until the dryer stopped working that I found the receptacle had melted from the inside. Unfortunately by the time I noticed it the circuit board inside the dryer burned out too (a resistor stopped resisting). The circuit breaker never tripped.

I trimmed the wire back past the burned section (only one of the hot leads actually melted) and replaced the receptacle and power cord. Everything worked great up until last night, when the burning smell returned and I could see that the receptacle was starting to melt again. The circuit breaker didn't trip again.

I replaced the receptacle tonight and it's running again, but what is causing the problem?

The house was built in 1964 and the wiring appears to be original although it is a 4 wire piece of cable (fabric coated). I checked the voltage at the two hot leads and it read 250V.

Anyone have any ideas what's going on here?

Thanks,

John

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#122788 - 10/25/04 07:06 PM Re: Dryer receptacle overheating and melting
Arnold Offline
Helpful Electrician

Registered: 07/09/02
Posts: 5000
Loc: United States
The most likely cause would be poor connections at the receptacle. But since this is happening twice, what's the chances that you made as poor of connections as were there before.

The other possible cause is a malfunctioning dryer combined with a breaker that is above 30 amps.

A third possible cause is a circuit originally wired for an old 20-amp dryer that was converted to a 30-amp circuit without changing the undersized wire.

So how many amps is the fuse or breaker controlling this circuit? And can you tell what the wire size is? And whether it is copper or aluminum? And did you make most excellent connections when you put in the new receptacle?
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#122789 - 10/26/04 06:54 AM Re: Dryer receptacle overheating and melting
dora Offline
Search and Rescue
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/16/02
Posts: 21272
Loc: Somewhere under the sun
I'm guessing undersized wiring or aluminum wiring.
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Life is about using the whole box of crayons!

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#122790 - 10/27/04 04:13 PM Re: Dryer receptacle overheating and melting
jschill Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/16/04
Posts: 10
I did some checking and here's what I found: 30 amp breaker and 10 gauge copper wire.

When I replaced the outlet and power cord in July I believe I did an excellent job on the connections, but I never re-checked them. Since replacing the outlet this time I haven't had any problems but I'm concerned that it will happen again.

Thanks, John




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#122791 - 10/28/04 12:26 AM Re: Dryer receptacle overheating and melting
ohmthis Offline
newbie

Registered: 10/08/04
Posts: 37
John,
Check your connections again. If all is good check to see if the breaker itself has a burnt smell it may be crusty also. If you have a federal pacific breaker and box you could have problems there as they are known not to trip when they are supposed to. If not and your breaker is a little crusty and burnt just changing it out might cure your problem

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