Old fuse box blowing large fuses but turn on dryer and power is back on?

Discussion in 'Electrical Forum discussion & Blog' started by Chris Stokes, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. Chris Stokes

    Chris Stokes New Member

    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    California
    OK not an electrician or a great speller either so bare with me.... OK so a 220 plug to a drier is just 2 110 lines. so if the person who installed the wires in the house split one of the 110 lines to run the rest or part of the house. you could just be over loading on side of the 220. so turning the drier on loop's the one side of the 220 ( one 110 line)that is still hot to the side that has blown. i have a fuse box and have had this problem for about 3 months now. Half of the house goes out but if i turn the drier on it spins but no heat and the rest of the house comes back on. so my quick fix idea is to take the 220 plug and swap the two hot wires. maybe the heat coil and the rest of the house is blowing my fuses and not the round screw in type the one that are about 3" long and round as a nickle. could this maybe work? i always thought every 220 was just to one outlet not split to power half of the houses 110, am i right on that at least? and why would it not blow the large fuses before the small screw in type?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 20, 2012
  2. leejosepho

    leejosepho DIY scratch-pad engineer

    How long have you been in the house, and what made the problem begin?

    Stop all traffic and call an electrician. You have a very serious problem somewhere.
  3. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    22,319
    Location:
    New England
    WEll, your premise is wrong...you really have 240vac coming into the house with a neutral half way between the two ends on the transformer (half way across the transformer gets you 120vac referenced between one end and the middle)...this puts neutral effectively at ground, but it is not really ground, but a current path for the power. Ground is a safety connection, not a current carrying path unless there's a fault. So, one of your incoming leads is bad - your dryer won't heat because it's not seeing 240vac, but is seeing power on one leg, or 120vac. WHen you turn it on, you are bridging the whole house's load for the other half through the dryer. This could easily overload the internal wiring of the dryer AND damage your fuse panel since one lug for a single circuit is not designed (i.e., big enough) to power the whole side, which may be a reason it could blow that fuse. So, the first thing to check is the main fuses coming into the panel. If they are both good, then you have a big problem. It could be anywhere from the power company's connection to the panel. If you have an electric stove, turning it on might do the same thing.
  4. big2bird

    big2bird IBEW Electrician

    Messages:
    141
    Location:
    Anaheim, Ca.
    Call out an electrician. Someone did a great dis service tapping into that dryer circuit that is barely safe without it tapped.
  5. Jim Port

    Jim Port Electrical Contractor

    Messages:
    156
    Location:
    Maryland
    The symptoms described are typical of the loss of one leg of the panel. The circuit is being complete through the heating elements. The same thing would happen if the electric stove or oven was turned on. I seriously doubt that someone tapped into the dryer circuit, especially since it worked correctly before recent events.
  6. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Messages:
    27,258
    Location:
    Cave Creek, Arizona
    When the "power comes back on" when you use the dryer, ALL the power to the blown fuse is going through the dryer's circuitry, which it is NOT designed to handle, and you are NOT getting full 120v power to those outlets. You have a system installed by a "Tinkerjackleg", who did "what worked", NOT what was safe or proper. Think of what would happen if someone "turned off" the power to those plugs, and then started working on them, because they were "dead", but then someone decided to use the dryer.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2012
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