After a minute running, dryer trips main breaker outside the house, but no internal breakers


I've checked all the main components except the motor for continuity and they all check out fine.

The AC breaker gets tripped and when flipped back on the dryer works. Dryer breaker has not tripped.

All parts are original except heating element, which is maybe 3-5 years old.

Dries fine when running and will finish the whole cycle. It will only run that one cylce, though, and as far as I know it trips the breaker when the load finishes.

Update 2016-02-12: The breaker labeled dryer is definitely the breaker controlling power to the dryer. Turning it off stops power to the dryer. I'm not sure which part is connected to the AC breaker.

It's too cold right now to turn on the AC so I haven't tested whether it will go off when the AC breaker is off.

I've investigated more and found that the door switch is broken, so it is not always engaged. Could the switch being momentarily engaged and then disengaged cause the...

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If you're getting a plain breaker trip, the usual reason is overcurrent. You have too much stuff on that circuit.

From your comments, a GFCI outlet tripping is not your problem.

You can get power monitor devices that will tell you what each device draws. The simplest is the Kill-a-Watt, which for about $20 and measures a single load. They make more sophisticated monitors too.

The breaker that's tripping has a number - either 15 or 20. That's the maximum amps. Multiply by 120 (i.e. 1800 or 2400), that's the maximum watts, and also the maximum VA (volt-amps).

By now you probably know which devices are on this circuit, so check every one with the tester, one by one. Check it in the same conditions that make the breaker trip. Tally up the amps, VA, and watts.

At this point, people often find a big surprise. I can't guess what your surprise is. Now you work the list, same as you would if you were trying to be "green" or save on your energy bill. Lots...

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Perhaps the bedroom circuit breaker is one of the "special extra sensitive" circuit breakers that we have experienced...

Unfortunately when we completely rewired our (circa 1939) cabin we ended up with several circuit breakers which had been manufactured just after a new regulation was put into effect.

The bedrooms due to a new regulation required a new type of breaker which was different from the kitchen/bathroom gfci's. These "new bedroom circuit breakers" are supposed to trip much more easily -- in order to protect silly little children who may put things into outlets.

We found that the ones which had been manufactured during the first few months were especially weird... Supposedly "nothing wrong with them", but replacing them the fixed problem. Note: electrical work was being done while we were doing other remodel work (when walls were open). We were there, so we know which electrical items were replaced when.

Since we were re-wiring everything,...

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Sorry guys, I have to go in a different direction. Lint and a heavy load do very little to cause a variance in the amount of power being drawn. While yes, they DO change the load somewhat, a heavy wet load of clothes will raise the draw on amperage only a few amps at most. No where near enough to trip the breaker.

You see, the motor has a thermal protection switch (TP) on it. If it fails to start, or drags because of an extra heavy load the motor will overheat. That TP switch will kick out and stop the dryer from running WITHOUT blowing the breaker. So it's not the motor and it's not the size of the load.

I have to be suspicious of the breaker itself going bad. And they DO go bad. Now: I'm going to assume we're talking about an electric dryer. It can't be a bad heating element. If it was bad it would burn itself out. Since the breaker doesn't blow immediately upon turning it on - it's not a short. A bad connection won't kick the breaker out either. The weak connection will...

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Hi there,

I'm having issues in my 3-yrs old house lately. It started with the range/oven doing a weird noise when using it in Bake or Broil mode:

- in Bake mode, the first of the 4 lines of hotness level (sorry if I don't explain it properly!) lights up, and after exactly a minute, the last line lights up and the range starts buzzing. In the end, it does its job, but constantly alterning quiet/buzzing mode until it reaches the wanted temperature.

- in Broil mode, it will constantly buzz all the way.

I did a video of this so that it makes more sense:

And since 2 weeks, it now makes the main circuit breaker of the house to trip. Not the circuit breaker of the range, but the main one of the house... It's been the case when using the range in oven mode, but since a few days, it's been doing it with just the range plugged in... I've been told that part of the circuitry in the control has failed, relay is chattering, needs...

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Double check the circuit breaker for the dryer (Electric Neptune). Turn it off, then turn it back on. Its possible that the breaker may have tripped for some reason, but wasn't able to trip all the way.

Does the interior of the dryer get warm at all? You could have a 1 of multiple heating elements that has shorted. If no heat at all, the likely a heating element has opened up. Unplug dryer from wall (turn off circuit breaker first!). Use a ohm meter to measure and check continuity of the heating elements.

There may also be a sail switch in the air path of the dryer. The purpose of the sail switch is to keep the elements turned off until there is enough air blowing through the dryer. This helps prevent fires, as well as shrunken denim.

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February 15, 20160 found this helpful

It sounds as though the circuit was overloaded, so resetting the breaker is correct.

To reset a breaker, first shut off then turn on. Most breakers have a red flag in a window to signify they are tripped. This , I assume is what you already did.

Breakers, on an overload, will trip due to heat (kind of like the thermal overload that will prevent your hair dryer from running when it overheats), and may need to cool down before they can be reset. So you could try resetting again now without the hair dryer and heater plugged in. (the more things you can unplug or switch off of the dead circuit, the better)

If that doesn't do it, look for an AFCI or GFCI receptacle that may have tripped and reset it.

If that still doesn't do it, then an electrician would be needed to determine if the breaker is bad, the wiring has problems or a receptacle is bad.


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Tripping Main Circuit Breaker

Electrical Question: The main switch in the fuse box has shut off three times, what could cause this? I live in a house built in 1970. In the past two days, the main switch in the fuse box has shut off three times. What could cause this and what is the best way to repair the problem?

This home electrical question came from: Kandi, a Homeowner from Houston, Texas.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electric wiring question Kandi.

Troubleshooting the Cause of a Tripping Main Circuit Breaker

Application: Electrical Troubleshooting, Testing Electrical Circuit Wiring.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools and Voltage Tester or Continuity Tester.
Estimated Time: Depends on experience and level of problem solving skills.
Precaution: Testing live wires is dangerous and should be done by an experienced...

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When a dryer trips the circuit breaker, it will suddenly power down. Any devices connected to that particular outlet will also suffer from a sudden loss of power. It this occurs every time the appliance is used, the dryer is tripping the circuit breaker.

The first potential area of trouble could be that the dryer has a defective thermal resistor. Dryer thermal resistors control the heater in the unit. If the thermal resistor is defective, it will not turn off the heating components in the dryer, which will cause the dryer to continually heat up. As it keeps heating, it keeps drawing power, which will trip the breaker. If the user is comfortable with dryer design, he should check the thermal resistor (also known as the "thermsistor") for damage. A thermal resistor is about the size of a nickel and is located in the heating element. Remove the dryer connections to it and test its conductivity with an Ohmeter. If there is no reading, the resistor is defective and needs...

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It sounds like you definitely have a short somewhere on that circuit, but trying to determine exactly where is very difficult without personally checking your


and the dryer as I don't see any obvious clues that points one way or the other. My true recommendation here is that you ask your landlord have a licensed electrician look into the matter. Not only do you risk possibly damaging a new dyer, but more importantly, you and your families safety is potentially at risk here.

That being said, and as hesitant as I am to guess given the information at hand, my gut tells me that the short is likely in the dryer itself. This includes the cord on the dryer. You can check this part out yourself by simply removing the back panel on the dryer. This usually only involved removing 3 or 4 screws and the panel that covers the cord connections comes off to make accessing those connections rather easy. I would take a look there as this is the most common place for...

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I'm not sure I understand. As someone else already said: You need to have a main shutoff for the whole house outside (for the fire department to kill power to a burning house quickly, without going in), which has to be within 10' of the meter. So the main breaker (which nearly always is the main shutoff for a residential system) will go outside, whether you like it or not. So I fail to see how the main breaker could possible be inside. It is theoretically possible that your local area has modified the standard electrical code to allow the main shutoff to be inside, but I find that unlikely.

But you also say that you will be able to shut off power inside (which I think is an excellent idea, I'd hate to have to go outside anytime a breaker trips or I want to kill a particular circuit),

*** but you say at the main panel ***

(which has to be outside, so how could this work)?

The only way this makes sense is if you are asking the following question: Given that...

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There is probably a meter on the outside of your house. If it lists its rating below 100 A, you need a whole new service including a meter replacement, which means an electrician and possible utility work. If it says 100 A, you MAY STILL NEED to upgrade the conductors from the meter to your panelboard. If you are able to see these conductors without removing any covers (doubtful) then you may be able to read the size of conductor printed on the insulation. Unlikely though if the conductors are older, as the printing will have faded.

Lots of "ifs". Best get a professional to come out and make a recommendation, probably for $100 or less for the advice. Make sure they're a licensed electrician or licensed professional engineer in your state and familiar with your local codes.

It is likely (but not certain) that you will need a service upgrade, based on my personal experience with residences that are as old as yours seems to be. This requirement tends to be code-driven...

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Stay in the kitchen when using the range for cooking.

If you are leaving for just a minute, turn off all the burners on the range. Going to the basement for a can of tomatoes, or running out to check the mail, going to the bathroom, answering the phone in another part of the house? Simply turn off all the burners. After all, you are just leaving for a minute. You can immediately turn the pot or frying pan back on when you return. Taking this simple step will prevent one of the most common situations that cause house fires: unattended cooking.

When cooking with oil, keep a lid or flat cookie sheet close by. If flames appear, simply suffocate the fire with the lid and immediately turn off the stove or fryer to let it cool down. Do not try to move the pan. Do not use water. The super-heated water will explode into steam, and can cause severe burns, and oil can splash and spread the...
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I recently solved (sort of?) an issue regarding my washer & dryer not getting power. I consider that issue solved, but now I have a new one, possibly what caused the problem before. Now that I have power to my washer & dryer, I did a small test load. Washer did fine, but the dryer tripped the main breaker outside (100A), but none inside. This didn't even happen when I started the dryer, but after 1-3 minutes (closer to 1 I think) it would trip. I have tested that 4 times now and when I have the dryer off, nothing trips - but a couple minutes after starting the dryer, the whole house goes down.

The breaker panel shows no tripped breakers (all firmly on the ON side - I have turned them all off/on just in case as well). The inside main breaker is fine too. The outside breaker however is clearly tripped. I clear it and turn it back on and everything is fine. Both inside and outside are 100A. Dryer is a 2-pole 30A breaker, which I just replaced today after noticing this new...

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Circuit breakers are more often than not certified to open a fault at its maximum rating (AIC) exactly once in its lifetime, at which time it is recommended to be returned to the manufacturer for recalibration and testing. That said breakers frequently can open large faults more than once, however manufacturers are not required to guarantee this.

Often a breaker that has tripped multiple times does so under an overload (not short circuit or ground fault) condition. If this happens several times in a short duration, such as a matter of hours, the temperature of the internal components can become very high. If you've ever had experience with a breaker which under excessive load trips after a few minutes, is reset immediately and placed under the same load trips within maybe a minute, then seconds, and then possibly will not reset at all until a period of time has passed, then you may have noticed that such a breaker will permanently become more prone to trip. From my...

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As you read the answers given, be aware that some of the people answering questions my not be in the same country as you, some countries specify dedicated circuits for some things, and in other countries they allow higher amperage circuits with multiple loads with fuses at the point of use.

In the States the NEC specifies dryers to be on a dedicated 30 amp circuit. If you are in the states and you have a 20 amp breaker you need to call an electrician to see if you have 30 amp wire so you can use a breaker that is big enough for the dryer. Also if you multiple loads on the dryer circuit that also needs to be fixed.

I would also check for a loose connection in the outlet, breaker or pigtail.

Low voltage from the utility could cause tripping but this is unlikely since most of the load is the heating elements, not the motor.

If the house was new it is unlikely that a breaker has worn out in only 3 years, but it is possible it was defective from the beginning. Also...

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Alright I figure somebody on this board can help me out so here goes.

My wife and I just bought a brand new house and in the process of running our older dryer the breaker keeps tripping. Basically what happens is we set it to run, and it runs fine for about 30 seconds to a minute before tripping the breaker. The breaker in question is a double 30 amp breaker rated at 220 Volts. The dryer belonged to my parents before I inherited it and it was connected to an identical breaker at their house, so if functioning correctly it should work fine on that size breaker.

My first thought was that it was a faulty breaker, however we ran the dryer on "air dry" mode where it doesn't engage the heating element and it ran fine for about 15-20 minutes before I shut it off. This leads me to believe that the problem is either a faulty heating element or that there's a problem with the vent. I took the heating element off the dryer last night and it didn't look like any of the wires were stuck...

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Commonly Reported HVAC Problems:

Copyright © 1997 Hannabery HVAC. All rights reserved.

Circuit breaker keeps tripping:

If the circuit breaker to your indoor or outdoor unit trips, you may reset it. Turn it to the "off" position if it isn't there already, then back to the "on" position. If the breaker trips a second time, then you should schedule a service call.

The breaker is tripping for a reason. It is protecting the equipment, the wiring, and the house. Do not just keep resetting it and ignoring the situation. Yes, it is possible that maybe it is just a bad breaker or maybe it was just a thunderstorm. But you are dealing with high voltage and amperage, and possibly high temperatures, which could cause wires to melt, possibly starting a fire.

Loose Electrical Connections...

One very common cause for breakers to trip is loose electrical connections. Larger aluminum wires especially, tend to expand and contract with the...

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Breaker Throwing After Reset

I came home today and bathroom lights did not work in either one. Checked the breaker and it was thrown. Turned it back on and lights came on but then threw the breaker again after a minute or two. What is causing this and is there danger of fire from shortage?


The breaker is detecting something on this circuit that is overloading the circuit. The circuit is probably a combination of lights, outlets and maybe appliances. Shorts do cause breakers to trip.

If you have added or changed appliances, or plugged something new in, that might be causing the issue: either by a short/fault in the device or causing the overall laod to be too high.

If not then it could be a short and I would suggest you have a qualified electrician look at this to find the cause.

I would not reccmmend to continually reset the breaker if it continues to trip.

20 Amp Arc Breaker Just Started Tripping

My house was...

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I'm new but experiencing a similar problem. About once a day, the circuit breaker connected to the outside AC unit trips. This seems to usually happen during the hot part of the day. My unit will run for hours, and then all of the sudden trip.

I searched the forum and other web pages and found the following common suggestions:

1. Check the amperage draw on the outside unit to see if it is overloading the breaker.

2. Check for shorts.

3. Replace the breaker.

I had a AC tech come out and inspect the unit. He said it was drawing the correct amperage and he did not find any shorts. He advised I replace the breaker. We checked the temperature of the breaker while the AC was running and it was a few degrees warmer than other breakers, but not noticeable to the touch. I replaced the breaker with a new one, but this did not fix the problem. Where should I go from here? Also, would you advise I seek help from an electrician or another AC tech?

Other info:...

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Question: Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping Power problem

A breaker tripped every time it was reset. I searched everything on the circuit, but couldn't find any reason for it to trip. I took the wire off of the breaker and later found the disconnected wire still has full power. What should I look for?

October 17, 20160 found this helpful

It is possible that an amateur tried to install a 3-way switch to a light by using two single pole switches on two different circuits. This would work until both switches were turned on resulting in a hazardous dead short.

Have an electrician check the wire for power with all your light switches off. If it goes away, he/she can then turn on each switch until it comes back and identify the problem.

If the breaker works in tandem to supply load to a 240 volt device such as a stove or dryer, it is possible that the load device has failed in a short causing your breaker to trip.

Question: Troubleshooting a...

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Most circuit breaker problems are due to loose electrical connections. breakers.

When a circuit breaker trips, it releases a cocked spring mechanism that separates the electrical contacts. Circuit breakers have two means of tripping:

(1) An electromagnet that trips almost instantaneously when the current is between nine (9) and 15 times the rated current of the circuit breakers (USA),


(2) A temperature sensitive bimetal strip that bends and releases the spring mechanism at a calibrated temperature. Usually, the temperature of the bimetal strip is proportional to the amount of current passing through the circuit breaker. However, the bimetal strip will react and bend to any rise in temperature. The rise in temperature may be due to a loose wire connection, misalignment of the circuit breaker contacts, or the heat from a fire.

Circuit breakers are sized to protect the integrity of the wire insulation; they are...

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