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#5743 - 12/03/01 05:58 PM Circuit Only Works When Dryer Is On?  
PM5K  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 8
This might not be the right section, a friend from another forum led me in this direction for help with my problem.

Here's the quick story:

The electricity worked. On a Friday a few weeks ago I went to the empty house (except for a couch) and took a nap, at that time everything worked. The next day (Saturday) my brother in law came over and was in the laundry room. Next week I noticed the electricity didn't work in the two back rooms. A couple of weeks later he came again and went in the laundry room, I noticed the back two rooms were working again, then a few minutes later they weren't. So I was sure the problem had something to do with the laundry room. I went to the laundry room and checked a few things, when I turned on the dryer(220) the lights came on (they don't come on if it's on air dry, only permanent press and the other heated options).

I tried killing the power to the laundry room, that didn't help.

I have noticed this when checking out the breaker box:

There is one switch that kills power to the entire house, except the laundry room. The laundry room is an addon and can only be turned off by closing that breaker.

When I turn offf the laundry room the power in the two back rooms goes out.

Also when I kill power to the entire house they go out.

I'm still not sure what's going on, but I believe something triggered it, something that hapenned in the laundry room on that first Saturday.

I'm just hoping this won't cost me an arm and a leg.

And I don't want to run the dryer all day :-).

Work Gear for Electricians and the Trades

#5744 - 12/03/01 06:55 PM Re: Circuit Only Works When Dryer Is On?  
Scott35  Offline

Broom Pusher and
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 2,707
Anaheim, CA. USA
This is intresting!!!

First off, it sounds like maybe the lights are running "In Series" with the dryer. Do they come on very dim?

Other symptoms could be poor connections, or improper circuitry [on the part of the Grounded Neutral Conductor].

There's also the possibility of the back rooms being "Backfed" through the dryer, or maybe the breaker[s] have poor contact to the bus.

Sounds like a good job for a Troubleshooting Sparky!!! If you are not an Electrician, or even if you are but lack high Troubleshooting skills, I would suggest finding a reliable, sharp and solid Electrician to do the Troubleshooting for you. Otherwise, you can complicate things even more, or worse - create hazards or hurt yourself from bad shocks.

Please do not feel as if I am offending you here. Quite the opposite! Setting someone up to possibly injure themselves or others is not something anyone in this forum would EVER try to do.

Feel free to include more of your profile and abilities!

Scott SET

P.S. one of these days, I'll figure out how to spell! [Linked Image] That's the "Edit"

[This message has been edited by Scott35 (edited 12-03-2001).]

Scott " 35 " Thompson
Just Say NO To Green Eggs And Ham!

#5745 - 12/03/01 07:08 PM Re: Circuit Only Works When Dryer Is On?  
PM5K  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 8
No, I'm no electrician, at all.

I was hoping it would be something simple, as these things can sometimes cost quite a bit, and I just got this place, so the money I spent on that has left me quite broke ;-)

I have heard this series thing before, but it seems to me if that was the situation this would have always been hapenning, and it wasn't.

Also when the dryer is on the lights work fine, they aren't dim at all.

I was hoping to save some cash, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen, now I'm just trying to find out for myself what the problem is, because of all the people I have talked to it seems to be a unique situation, and I'm interested in knowing what's going on.

#5746 - 12/03/01 07:32 PM Re: Circuit Only Works When Dryer Is On?  
Bill Addiss  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,878

It may still be something simple. Perhaps you are leaving out some small detail that would explain it all. When your Brother-in-Law comes does He turn on a breaker or switch to get the Dryer to work? Are there any subpanels?

.. or, maybe you're still sleeping. (couldn't resist)


#5747 - 12/03/01 07:43 PM Re: Circuit Only Works When Dryer Is On?  
PM5K  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 8
No, he doesn't turn on any breakers or anything to use the dryer, that's beyond his knowledge and he would never mess around with anything like that.

And no, I'm not still sleeping.

I also had the feeling there was something I was missing, something simple, but I can't see anything that it could be.

#5748 - 12/03/01 08:01 PM Re: Circuit Only Works When Dryer Is On?  
PM5K  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 8
After further inspection I've noticed this:

The cb that the dryer is on is not seated well. Compared to the other cb's I can physically move it, while the others won't budge.

I'm not sure if this is causing the problem, as I'm not that knowledgeable on this type of thing, but I know the cb should be seated firmly.

#5749 - 12/04/01 11:19 AM Re: Circuit Only Works When Dryer Is On?  
safari  Offline
Joined: Nov 2001
Posts: 11
Newport, Oregon, USA
from your symptoms you have lost one leg of power either burnt off or a blown fuse that feeds the 110 fuses or breakers and are back feeding from the dryer ... and probably don't get much heat from the dryer either

#5750 - 12/04/01 11:36 AM Re: Circuit Only Works When Dryer Is On?  
PM5K  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 8
I wish you could explain that in a little simpler terms, for example I have no idea what backfeed means. I had to read it like three times before I began to understand it(to some extent).

However I will say one thing that you are right about, so maybe you are right about the whole thing.

The dryer doesn't heat anymore. We don't use it often so it's not that big of a deal, but electrical wise, you knew something I never said, so I assume whatever you just told me is the actual problem.

#5751 - 12/04/01 11:48 AM Re: Circuit Only Works When Dryer Is On?  
PM5K  Offline
Junior Member
Joined: Dec 2001
Posts: 8
BTW I never mentioned the dryer because I assumed it had been that way all along, but I could be wrong, I'm not sure, I know for a while it worked, and I know it was sometime around the time the electrical problems hapenned, but since we never use it, I can't be 100% sure of the time. It very well could be the same time though.

From what I understand you are basically saying that one of my breakers is bad, or the wire was damaged? From only one leg of a breaker? In otherwords on one breaker with the two handles connected together one is working and one isn't?

The thing that I don't understand is back feeding.

I assume that means the electricity is somehow tied into the electricity in the laundry room, though I don't understand how.
(At least connections wise)

Man a diagram would be great now ;-)

I'm no genious, but I do have common sense.

#5752 - 12/04/01 03:21 PM Re: Circuit Only Works When Dryer Is On?  
Bill Addiss  Offline
Joined: Oct 2000
Posts: 3,878

Sorry about the 'still sleeping' joke, I couldn't resist. This may still be something that a simple service call be a local Electrician would fix. If not, you would know where you stand. I think that we're getting a little deeper here than we should be going with something sight unseen. I would strongly suggest that you have someone come and look at it.


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