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Question DetailsAsked on 11/12/2016

What if wrong prong is inserted on a three prong outlet and spark occurred? Now dryer won't come on

I didn't have cover on and three prong plug was inserted wrong, spark occurred now dryer won't come on as before it did

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4 Answers


Wow - you are lucky the breaker tripped (Presuming that is why it does not work now) and that you did not get shocked or get a serious electrical burn, because that is typically a 30a 220V outlet.

While it might work fine if you turn the breaker back on, you might also get fireworks in the outlet or start a fire because of burned wiring or damaged outlet - and this could take some time to develop, so could happen when the dryer is running unattended. Get an electrician in there to check the wiring and breaker, put in a new outlet, and possibly (depending on prong damage) replace the dryer cord as well. Should also remove covers and check the entry area and the panel in the dryer to inspect for shorting in there. And GET A COVER on the outlet !!! Likely cost about $200-300 depending on what parts need replacement - assuming the guts of the dryer is OK.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


I've gotten a new outlet. My multimeter won't read so I need to start there to check my cord and outlet output. It works when I test a regular outlet but noting else. I checked my breaker box. I did see a 30 amp anywhere..

Answered 3 years ago by Smallfrie1987


You said the three-prong cord was inserted wrong - you should not be able to plug it in "wrong", unless you meant contact was made with the box or live wire while plugging it in without a cover. Certainly if one of the 1930's and 40's era outlets with the three equal-sized and equal-speced prongs which could be plugged in any of three ways, it should be changed out for safety anyway - though a movernb dryer would not come with that prong arrangement on the cord anyway.

I would really recommend an electrician for this for probably $150-200 range in normal cost areas - to trace back to the breaker (and confirm it is right size), check the wiring resistance between breaker and outlet to see if there are wiring problems there from the overload, professionally inspect the dryer cord for arcing damage at the prongs, check the dryer cord for continuity and damage, and install the outlet. And test dryer resistance for obvious shorts or open circuits or visible arcing or burning within the dryer before testing it with live power.

Your dryer should have at least a 30A breaker (30A is standard in US today) unless it previously had a commercial-rated dryer or steam washer/dryer combo in there which might have had a 40 or 50A paired (208/220/240) breaker. Could also have a 40 or 50A breaker even through it should have been 30 - meaning your protection level would be substandard when using a 30A dryer because the circuit would have to be grossly overloaded - near a total dead short - to trip the higher amperage breaker.

You have a few choices in the breaker box for which 220V (paired) breaker it is, though the dryer breaker will likely (though not positively) have tripped from the shorting out. If you do not have one breaker pair tripped, you might have to try turning breakers off to check what they control (should not be done while circuit is under high load).

Large loads (220V paired breakers) are commonly for (not including shop power tools) :

- winter car plug-in outdoors (commonly 30A, sometimes 20A, usually GFCI breaker),

- Electric car plug-in (20-100A depending on whether fast-charge or not, usually not over 50A),

- Range (commonly 50A, occasionally 60A or 70A with commercial sized or double-oven ranges),

- electric cooktop or hardwired very high wattage microwave or toaster oven or stand-alone second oven commonly 20-30A, occasionally 40A

- electric water heater (commonly 25 or 30A circuit for normal domestic water heater, though high-capacity and commercial ones sometimes used in houses can go up to 50-60A), also in older houses when electric water heaters used to use both elements at the same time

- electric fired furnace or boiler commonly 50 or 60A for the heating element, sometimes separate 15 or 20A for the fan too,

- A/C commonly 30-50A though small or window sized units and large units (over 5 ton) can be as widely rated as 15 to 70A.

- electric hot tubs or saunas commonly one or two circuits rated 20-50A - commonly one high, one lower4 for the pump

- electric pool heater 30-60A but as high as 100A in some cases

- driveway/walk embedded electric ice melt system can be from 15-40A for a small one to 200A or more demand for driveway system, but usually with a large system (entire drive) it is broken into 50A circuits and relayed so not more than one section operates at a time.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD



This is James in Member Care. Thanks for your interest in Angie's List!

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Answered 3 years ago by Member Services

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