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Mike, Master Electrician
Category: Electrical
Satisfied Customers: 2742
Experience:  Licensed Master Electrician - OnQ Certified Data Voice Audio Video Installer
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My 4 prong dryer outlet is not working. My husband turned the

Customer Question

My 4 prong dryer outlet is not working. My husband turned the breaker off for the dryer, installed the cable, plugged it up then turned on the breaker and the dryer will not come on. My husband knows how to install the dryer but he's not a technician. What could be the problem? Do you have any other troubleshooting advice we can try?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Electrical
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.
Did he change out the dryer receptacle or cord? Was it working before? Is this a new dryer?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Yes, we went from a three prong to a four prong ( he bought a new prong for our new house). The three prong was working before in our apartment and it is not a new dryer. We've had it for 4 years.
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.
Ok, the first thing to do would be to verify that the receptacle is working/has power. Do you have an electrical meter?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Well, he just told me that he did NOT turn the breaker off before plugging it up the first time. Could that have caused the problem? What happens when you do that? Yes, we have an electrical meter on the side of the house. How would we verify that it is working? Is the "receptacle" the outlet? He said that the outlet made a spark when he initially plugged it up.This is our first home so we have no clue what we're doing.
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.
Not turning the breaker off first should NOT cause a problem. When I said electrical meter, I was referring to a piece of electrical testing equipment:

Sorry for that confusion. The spark when he plugged it in may or may not be an indication of the problem. Sometimes a small arc can occur when first plugging in an appliance but this doesn't necessarily indicate a problem. But on the other hand, there very well could be a problem of some sort. Have you checked to see if the breaker was tripped? If it is, don't try to reset it just yet.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Oh okay! No, we don't have an electrical meter. How can we tell if the breaker was tripped? There was nothing in the breaker. He said, he plugged the cord into the wall BEFORE it was attached/connected to the dryer and that's when the spark occurred.
Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.
Try resetting the breaker... push it completely off and then flip it back the other way. You may need to do this a couple of times to make sure it is completely reset. It's possible the leads shorted out when he plugged the cord in without it being connected to the dryer which caused the breaker to trip.

*Event though I must submit possible solutions as "answers", do NOT accept unless it solves your problem.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Are you talking about the breaker for the dryer (located in the garage) or the main breaker thats located on the side of the house? We will not know if this solves our problem until we get home tonight. This is my first time on this site, can I accept later (once we get home and are able to try it)? If not, I have no problem accepting since you have given us SOMETHING to try and you've been very helpful.

Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.
Try resetting the breaker for the dryer itself. If that doesn't restore power to your dryer let me know and we'll check a couple of other things. You may want to pick of a voltmeter like the one in the picture above, you will need one if resetting the breaker doesn't solve your problem. You can pick one up from your local Lowes or Home Depot for less than $25.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

So should I accpet this now? or can I wait until I get home to try it out first? Is there a way I can come back on here and accept (or ask more questions) later?

Expert:  Mike replied 7 years ago.
I would rather you wait to make sure I help you solve your problem. You can come back to this same page when you get home and ask additional questions, and please feel free to do so.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.