I received an electric laundry dryer that I want to test before installing. The new dryer is outdoors on the back porch, and a working electric dryer is installed in my basement, quite a distance away.

Without moving the dryer, is there any way to verify that it works properly? I have a DMM / continuity tester, access to an outdoor 120V outlet and can disassemble the new dryer. It appears in good condition apart from some lint:

  • drum and motor spin freely when pushed manually
  • no obvious physical damage or scorches
  • buttons and dials work normally

The troubleshooting guides I found explain how to resolve specific problems (replace heating element, change thermostat, change belt) but require connection to a standard 240V outlet. Basically, I'm looking for a way to verify that the dryer works OK before moving it. I don't have a 240V extension cord, and the run would be too long even if I did.

Thanks in advance!

  • 1
    Without knowing your distances, I think extension cord(s) could work. I'm sure nobody would counsel you to deliberately abuse the generous return policies of various blue or orange big box stores, but if perhaps you bought a few extension cords and then discovered that they weren't exactly to your liking, (and they were still in immaculate condition), then you could return them with a receipt and get a refund. (If you pay with a gift card, it can complicate your return, so cash or credit.) Commented Apr 10, 2016 at 21:04
  • You can test the heat element, and the thermal fuses. The heat element will be a low resistance, the thermal fuse should be close to 0 ohms, the motor should have fairly low resistance across the leads and mega ohms from the case to the leads. All this still won't tell you if the controls are functioning. Sounds like more work than taking it down and trying it.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Apr 10, 2016 at 21:27

1 Answer 1


First, a person selling a dryer without providing a 240V connection to demonstrate its performance, will naturally take a significant hit on his resale value.

Any real effort in this regard is going to require the schematic of the dryer and some electrical chops. This forum doesn't have the capacity to convey those chops. Know your skill limits and work within them. With that in mind...

If it has mechanical controls, you could do some "dry" testing by putting an ohmmeter across the various 120V and 240V pins while looking for the expected resistance changes as you operate its controls through their paces. You need to be able scratchpad Ohm's Law a bit to get a sense of what those resistances should be.

If you're willing to open up the controls, you could probe more deeply component by component.

If you want to get "hot", look at the schematic and try to isolate sections that you can test by powering one leg of the 240v, if it makes use of neutral. Be very careful doing that, and positively ground chassis to actual ground, because on many dryers, especially those using NEMA 10/30 connectors, neutral is bonded to chassis -really! - and if you reverse hot/neutral, you can energize the chassis at 120v.

Or by using a 120/240 power adapting transformer - the 40 lb. transformers sold to Euros so they can run their appliances here. You must set the dryer to fluff-only and not operate any heat setting. Transformers are dumb and don't have thermal protection unless it is added, so they would die trying to supply 23A@240V which would be 46A on the 120V side, on wires made for 15A tops. I'm quite sure you'd get a fuse blow or wire fry before you could shut it off.

All this is as dangerous as it sounds and in any case, seems like a lot of work. Depending on how you value your time, it may be "cheaper" to buy enough 10/3 for a temporary run to a workable testing location.

  • Thanks for your help! the "fluff" setting never occurred to me. the dryer is rated for 120/240V, and the no-heat setting will show whether the motor works. then, I will test the heating element for conductivity after disconnecting the power. just a bit more disclosure - I got a very good price, as in free :) Commented Apr 11, 2016 at 1:07

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