2

I have a Maytag Centennial gas clothes dryer in my laundry room. It is connected to a non-gfci outlet which is downstream of another outlet with built in gfci. It has been connected like this and working fine since I bought the house two months ago, and presumably has always been connected to this outlet for the 15 years that house has existed.

Tonight we discovered the GFCI outlet tripped and wouldn't stay reset and upon further investigation determined that without the dryer plugged in, everything worked ok but as soon as the dryer was plugged in (even though not turned on), the gfci immediately tripped. If I connect the dryer (via an extension cord), to a GFCI outlet in my kitchen (different circuit), it also trips that one, but if I connect it to a non-GFCI outlet it doesn't trip the breaker and runs fine.

My research on line has brought up posts saying the gas dryers should not be plugged into GFCI outlets at all as they may spuriously trip them, but this dryer has been working in this configuration for 15 years, so I'm guessing something has recently gone wrong with it in the past two days since we used it last.

My question is whether I should be looking into getting a non-gfci outlet installed for the dryer or if I should be looking to get the dryer repaired, and if so is there anything I should look for in the dryer myself rather than call service.

  • 11
    If the dryer did not trip GFCI'S, but does now. I'd say it has developed a ground-fault, and should be repaired. GFCI'S are there to protect you, not to be an annoyance. – Tester101 Mar 7 '15 at 2:42
2

Same problem here: plugging in gas dryer, with dryer off, immediately trips GFCI. GFCI is new; dryer is old. I doubt the "fluctuating current" argument: a washer, with its different cycle starts/stops, is going to generate more "fluctuating current" events than a gas dryer. (Also the dryer is off when I plug it in.) I thoroughly cleaned the inside of the dryer, removing all lint, and brushing dust off of all components. Still trips when plugged in. So I disconnected/isolated hot in the dryer's control panel: still tripped when plugged in. Then I also disconnected/isolated neutral in the dryer control panel: still tripped! New test: without the dryer, ran a test lead from ground in the outlet to the gas pipe connection: trip! Measured a small AC voltage (30mV) between outlet ground and gas pipe. Next step (in this case) is to talk to some people about grounding requirements for gas supply pipes.

1

The clue here is that the GFCI trips when the dryer is off. (I'd want to make sure that it's really off-- not even the timer motor running). If this dryer has electronic controls, it's a little more complicated, as the electronics are always "on" even when the dryer is "off". More on that in a moment.

Appliances can trip GFCIs by generating certain kinds of electrical noise, particularly "high harmonics" typical of variable-speed motors. I have a garage door opener that started causing this problem after the GFCI breaker it was connected to was replaced: the new breaker was more sensitive.

Your problem is happening when the dryer is off, however. That strongly suggests that there really is a ground fault: some leakage path from the live ("hot") wire to ground. It doesn't have to be much of a leak... a GFCI will detect just a few milliamps of leakage current... but any new short would be concerning, because of its potential to get worse.

If this dryer has electronic controls: this may just be a weak capacitor in the electronics' power supply allowing more noise on the line; much less likely to be a ground fault (or safety hazard).

A technician might approach this either with a dedicated ground fault tester, or by selectively disconnecting components in the dryer to to find the leakage path.

0

While it seems counter to logic, two appliance repair instructors told the tech working on the same issue at my house (a dryer that trips GFCI but not non-GFCI outlets) that a dryer should NOT be plugged in to a GFCI outlet. Their explanation was that the amp fluctuations drawn by the dryer would cause the GFCI to trip. The one GFCI outlet actually broke and was totally dead.

Now, your assumption that the dryer was that way prior to you using it could be wrong. It is possible a person installed the GFCI outlet prior to move out in an attempt to be code compliant (thinking it was the right thing to do) to pass inspection or that the dryer had a ground defeating adapter plugged in but that "secret" was undone when you moved in.

So while this seems counter to logic, I am now in the camp that dryers should not be plugged in to GFCI outlets.

  • 1
    It may be an opinion whether or not to plug a dryer into a GFI protected receptacle, but the location of the receptacle is what dictates the GFI protection. If the receptacle for the dryer is in an area that requires GFI protection you have no choice. – Speedy Petey Sep 10 '16 at 16:28

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.