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Mike
Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 1425
Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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Customer Question

is someone there?
Submitted: 11 months ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Rick replied 11 months ago.

Sparky :

Yes

Customer :

i have a question on my 240v outlet for my dryer

Customer :

down at the circuit breaker i check across the red and black wires the double breaker and it says 240

Customer :

up at the outlet i only have 120 between the white and red. only 15 or between white and black. and then across red and black i have less than 120 it seems

Customer :

i took the outlet off incase there was an issue with that

Customer :

so i'm just checking the wires

Sparky :

Did you check to make sure you have a good nice tight connection at the breaker? Also do you have any other 240v appliances?

Customer :

yes a stove on a seperate breaker set

Customer :

i srewed the circuit breaker down tighter

Customer :

i check the 240 on the wire tha was exposed coming out of the breaker

Customer :

this happened all of a sudden by the way. i thought there was an issue with the dryer at first

Sparky :

How old is the home?

Customer :

built in 78

Customer :

not sure about the wiring

Sparky :

What brand are the breakers?

Customer :

not sure

Customer :

is it possible to have 240 on the wires at the breaker but not at the end of the cable?

Customer :

like i said this was working fine for years and then just stopped

Sparky :

Here is what you can do. Just for testing only. Take the wires off of the breaker for your 240v stove. Put the dryer wires on it. Then test the wires again. This way we can see if the problem is the breaker itself. I have seen this happen before and it was the breaker. Other times it has been the panel buss bar, and other times it has been a loose connection somewhere in between the breaker and dryer.

Customer :

do you think there are connections in between. wouldn't it be just one wire

Sparky :

You've got an old place, there could be splices anywhere. Normally you would have a straight dedicated circuit to the dryer, but i have seen many things not the way they should be.

Sparky :

I have a feeling it's going to be a breaker issue. That is where I would start

Customer :

so should i go try that switching the circuit breaker. will you be here in 15 minutes or so?

Sparky :

I'll be here.

Customer :

same problem

Customer :

120 from white to red

Customer :

and 15 from white to black

Sparky :

And what do you get from black to red?

Customer :

it is like 60

Customer :

which i don't get?

Sparky :

Do you have a attic access?

Customer :

yes, bu not sure it would be up there

Customer :

circuit breaker is in basement

Customer :

and dryer is on first floor

Customer :

we have a two floor colonial

Sparky :

I see. Let me opt out, and maybe one of the electricians here can help you further along. They will be able to read our conversation, and continue where we left off. Sometimes it takes a while for someone to respond, but someone will come along. Is that ok with you?

Customer :

just to get a different opinion

Sparky :

yes

Customer :

what are you general thoughts it is somewhere in between?

Sparky :

Since it did the same thing with a different breaker, and that breaker is in a different position, the we eliminated that the problem is not the buss bar in the panel. We eliminated that the problem is not the breaker. You took off the plug, and tested directly to the wires. Only thing left is the wires.

Customer :

ugh

Customer :

can that just happen all of a sudden

Sparky :

It's something that's been going on a long time and just finally gave up. Every time that dryer is running, the wire gets hot, cools off. Expands, contracts. If there is a splice somewhere and wire nuts are holding the wires together, they eventually fail

Customer :

so what is a method of following.. do you have to rip the walls apart

Sparky :

Your best course of action is going to be a electrician that will be able to tone out where the wire is going, and will be able to find the fault. Without special equipment, it's not even worth trying to find it yourself.

Customer :

why would it say 15v instead of 120v... it isn't a complete open. also why would it say 60v across red and black... wouldn't it add 120 + 15?

Sparky :

It all comes down to a loose connection.

Customer :

you think it is worth talking to someone else like you said?

Sparky :

Sure thing. I'll opt out. Thank you for your time.

Sparky :

Getting another opinion is always good.

Expert:  electrifier replied 11 months ago.
Good evening. Where is your dryer located in your home and where is the electrical panel with the breaker for the dryer?
Can you see the wire that runs from the panel to the dryer or close to the dryer?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.


electrical panel is in the basement. dryere is on first floor on the other side of the house


 

Customer: replied 11 months ago.


i just see it run up above and then disappear


 

Expert:  electrifier replied 11 months ago.
Does it run up into the house above the panel or under the dryer?
Customer: replied 11 months ago.


looks like up and into hte house


 


 

Expert:  electrifier replied 11 months ago.
Is the basement ceiling finished or open? It appears to me that you have a broken wire somewhere between the panel and the receptacle. If it is no accessible, it is inside walls and ceilings, it will not be possible to find the problem. Replacing the wire will fix the problem.

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