The wire running to my dryer (240V) got wet from a leaking AC window unit directly above on second floor and tripped the breaker. I saw the ground wire paper was damp after removing the outlet cover and so I let it sit for a week. Tried breaker today but it tripped again. I removed the outlet and capped the wire ends but it still flips the breaker.

Leak issue was fixed last week so no additional moisture.

Am I doing any harm (or risk) just waiting for it to dry out and flipping the breaker back on every few days?

  • 1
    If it is still tripping the breaker after the ends were capped, I would be concerned about the integrity of the insulation on the wires. A breaker trips when there is too much current being drawn and in this case it sounds like a short in the wire. Which means broken insulation in the wire. I'm guessing someone put a nail through and then removed the nail leaving damaged insulation around the wires.
    – diceless
    Sep 10, 2014 at 19:03

1 Answer 1


The water alone was NOT what tripped the breaker. Water alone does not cause shorts and arcs. You have another issue somewhere in that cable run. Check every connection, box, splice, etc.

And yes, you could be doing more damage to the wire or breaker by repeatedly trying the breaker and tripping it so many times.

On another note, if you only have 12/3 going to a typical electric dryer (in the US I assume) that is NOT the correct cable. An electric dryer requires 10/3 on a 30A breaker.

  • Thank you SP. I could be wrong about the wire it's been a few years since it was installed. The breaker is 30A.
    – Mark F
    Sep 9, 2014 at 23:15
  • The only reason I feel it's water related is because all worked without issue for 3+ years until week's AC water leak. Perhaps some of the wire is kinked and exposed and the wet paper is causing the short. Other than checking the panel connection and outlet (since removed) I think I'm resigned to running a new line as the current one spans 2 rooms and 2 floors.
    – Mark F
    Sep 9, 2014 at 23:22
  • @MarkF the paper is only there to allow the insulation of each of the wires, and the outer jacket to slide over each other when the cable is bent. Once the cable is in place the paper serves no purpose. Sep 10, 2014 at 19:49

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