We ordered a brand new washer and dryer. To start the dryer's power cord was wired wrong. It should have been hot-neutral-hot, but instead the installer connected it in hot-hot-neutral. We have it connected to a 3 prong 220v outlet. My girlfriend turned it on and walked away. About 10-15 minutes into she heard a loud POP and come to find out the case shocked her and the light inside the dryer exploded. When we connect the washer to our 110v and turn it on, when we rub our hand on the case it tickles and we feel a pulsing.

When I used my multimeter to test ground-to-hot I was only getting 8v.

1) After having a tech swap the dryer cables, it turns on and seems to work fine. Could there be unseen damage caused by the installer screwing up?

2) Is there a fault inside the washer that's causing it to short, and because the outlet doesn't have a full ground it's electrifying the case?

3) Did I test ground properly?

  • 1
    Hold on. If it was a hot-neutral cross-up, the chassis would shock people at all times. If it only shocks when it's on, then both hots and neutral are hooked up correctly, but neutral has a weak connection, a common and routine failure for wires that shouldn't shock you. We talk about this all the time here: the obsolete 3-wire dryer connection is a bootlegging of ground that has been made technically legal. The naysayers say "So what, dryer connections rarely fail" -- they certainly do! As you discovered! Feb 21, 2018 at 5:00
  • 3
    And by the way, your reaction is typical: people say "It must have been wired wrong, since a shock occurred" and never realize it was indeed wired to code, and the real problem is that Code still allows bootlegging of ground for dryers/ranges. Now that you've had firsthand experience with it, I'd recommend retrofitting a ground wire to that receptacle and changing it for the modern 4-prong type. Feb 21, 2018 at 5:08
  • I would agree that adding a ground is a good idea for the dryervand now can be done legaly without a complete rewire. However I don't believe they are wired correctly, the washer should be on a separate circuit from the dryer, the light exploding sounds like it was mis wired to me.
    – Ed Beal
    Feb 21, 2018 at 14:40
  • The dryer was definitely hooked up wrong. I looked through the manual and found the 3 prong specifications. The washer is on a separate circuit, but I am confused why it pulses mildly when the power is on. The washer isn't going through a cycle, it's simply powered on.
    – Jason
    Feb 21, 2018 at 16:06

1 Answer 1


Assuming you are in the USA:

1: First you need to find out if your Dryer Outlet is a 3 Wire type or a 4 wire type!

If it has 3 wires - you will have a hot a neutral and a Hot - that is it. Check inside the box to be sure - DO NOT GO BY THE OUTLET BOX TYPE. People do crazy things - VERIFY IT PHYSICALLY (open it up and look at it) and ELECTRICALLY - measure it.

2: Find out if you are running 208VAC or 230VAC to that DRYER. Depending on if you are in an Apartment or in a House - determines this. While this should not be a pop issue - it will change the performance of the dryer although running a 208V dryer on a 230 Volt circuit can present some problems (your dryer manual should specify). When Vice versa - there is no real issue.

3: Given that you have a tingling on your washing machine - is it when you touch between washer and dryer or just touching the washing machine?

4: When I used my multimeter to test ground-to-hot [G-H of WHAT ?? and where the OUTLET or on the washer / dryer ??] I was only getting 8v. [ You have something not right - G-H = 110/120VAC, ] [ Ground to Neutral - if this reads 8V - something is not right here because that should be less than 1 vac], Neutral - Hot = 110/120VAC.

While the below images show how to connect a range they go for dryers as well - just refer to your owners manual for correct details. You will notice the Ground to Neutral Strap on the 3 Wire Hook up - it is not there in a 4 wire connection scenario.

[This is why the case can become powered in a 3 wire arrangement - and why they moved away from this to a 4 wire arrangement a real ground.]

3 Wire Hookup 4 wire Hookup

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