Tumble drier trips fuse. Why?

(24 Posts)

It's a condenser. It's not all the time, only occasionally. And it's just out of warranty, so just over a year old.
I empty the water, clean the filter thing at the front as am paranoid about fluff and going on fire.
It's not overheating or hot when it does it.
I've changed the socket it plugs into, and still trips.
Any ideas?

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sat 26-Oct-13 21:26:02

Dh says it might have an earth fault or the motor might be running too fast and pulling too much power. The bearings might have gone or something.

He says you need to get someone to look at it because there must be something wrong with it, and bearing in mind tumble driers are one of the biggest causes of domestic fires he says hurry up. And probably don't use it.

Dh is an electrical engineer btw. smile

Oh Lordy. Right.
Who do I get to look at it? As in, what expertise?
Someone in the paper advertising for household appliances or an electrician?

Thank you and your helpful DH.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sat 26-Oct-13 22:11:42

You're welcome. grin

I guess an appliance repairer would be better, electricians are more for general household wiring and stuff aren't they?

Dh has gone to bed so you're stuck with me, sorry!

CointreauVersial Sat 26-Oct-13 22:15:11

Earth fault, maybe?

Check the plug is wired correctly, and there aren't any loose wires. Try it in a different socket? Then call in an expert to test it.

But it's plugs that come pre wired to the appliance? It's not like in the old days when you had to put a plug yourself on things? Is it likely to be a fault with the wiring in the plug?

ProphetOfDoom Sat 26-Oct-13 22:49:09

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ilovemydogandmydoglovesme Sat 26-Oct-13 23:02:18

Have you tried looking online or at the manufacturers website for any reported faults?

PigletJohn Sun 27-Oct-13 01:01:46

when you say fuse, do you mean fuse? like the 13A fuse in the plug? Or a fuse in a very old fusebox? Or do you mean MCB in more modern consumer unit? Or do you mean RCD?

What is written on the thing that trips?

e.g.
B32
or 30mA?
or 80A?
or 0.03A?
Or is it coloured red, or with two red dots on it?

Does it have a button on it marked "T" or "Test"?

ashley69ly Sun 27-Oct-13 08:58:10

My vented dryer did this a few months ago. We have a local washing machine repair man, who took it apart and found an underwire from a bra causing an electrical short. He said it was a good job our circuit breaker was so sensitive and was cutting out so quickly. I was lucky, he removed it and the dryer was fine.

Oh, pigletjohn, good to see you.

By fuse, I mean the box in the garage that has a load of on/off switches. This one flips down to off, and turns off all the downstairs sockets. Including the one in the garage that the tumble dryer uses.

I'll look in the garage shortly to see what's written on it.

ProphetOfDoom Sun 27-Oct-13 10:40:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

The box says RCD protected circuits at one end, and Main Circuits at the other.
There's an on off switch at the protected circuits end that turns itself off when the tumble drier is on. But not every time.

There's a sticker on it that says about testing. I can't see a test switch though, but I've got to psyche myself up to open the fuse box as its spider city. blush

PigletJohn Sun 27-Oct-13 11:49:58

Use the hoover snout.

The test button will be on the big "switch" and may be yellow or grey.

You should press the test button at least quarterly. If an RCD is not operated for years on end it is liable to stick and fail to trip in an emergency. Write the test date on a post-it or label on the cover or you will forget.

Thanks pigletjohn.
Is it because I'm not testing it then?

PigletJohn Sun 27-Oct-13 12:33:52

No.

Methe Sun 27-Oct-13 12:36:15

Ours trips when the immersion heater is on. It just pulls to much from the system I think. We just don't use them at the same time.

PigletJohn Sun 27-Oct-13 12:49:13

I could make a good guess, but it is very important to know what is written on the thing that trips.

I've put two pics on my profile.
The big up down switch on the left of the first picture sets itself to "off". This is what I mean by tripping.
I've zoomed in on the things I think are the fuses in the second picture. The only thing that turns off when it trips are the downstairs sockets. Upstairs are fine.

thanks for your help PigletJohn.

PigletJohn Sun 27-Oct-13 16:23:16

I'm afraid the picture hasn't come out very clear. The big "switch" on the left might be an RCD. What is printed on it? Is that a black Test button? If you press it does the lever click down and the red indicator go green?

When the RCD is off I would expect all the protected circuits to go dead. I think the far left one says Shower.

You appear to have a split load CU. It might have for example four or six RCD protected circuits and four or six unprotected. Are there any spare positions on either side?

It appears that you have an earth leakage fault. Becausr of the way your CU is wired, the leakages from all circuits and wiring pass through the RCD, and when the leakage current reaches 30mA, it trips.

That means that if your other protected circuits already have a leakage of, say, 25mA total on them, a leakage of only 5mA more (which would not be considered dangerous) would bring the total to tripping point.

Leakages are most often from watery things such as kettles, pond pumps, outdoor sockets, outdoor lights, immersion heaters. If you see no sign of damage (including gnawing) to cables or other items, or water ingress, ask around for recommendations for a local electricuan (adverts and websites are not recommendations). When phoning, ask if he is a member of a self-certufication scheme (this may not apply in NI but in that case you want him to be a quakified member of an organisation), tell him you have an earth leakage problem, and ask if he has a PAT tester.

Earth leakages can be difficult to track down. If you have a spare position on the not-protected side of your CU you could have an RCBO fitted just for that circuit, or just for the garage, which gives individual protection and avoids the adding-together problem.

If he uses his PAT tester on the drier first, he will know if that is the main problem, though I doubt it.

Methe you need a plumber to change your immersion heater element for a new one. The insulation is breaking down with age.

PigletJohn Sun 27-Oct-13 16:25:27

I'm afraid the picture hasn't come out very clear. The big "switch" on the left might be an RCD. What is printed on it? Is that a black Test button? If you press it does the lever click down and the red indicator go green?

When the RCD is off I would expect all the protected circuits to go dead. I think the far left one says Shower.

You appear to have a split load CU. It might have for example four or six RCD protected circuits and four or six unprotected. Are there any spare positions on either side?

It appears that you have an earth leakage fault. Becausr of the way your CU is wired, the leakages from all circuits and wiring pass through the RCD, and when the leakage current reaches 30mA, it trips.

That means that if your other protected circuits already have a leakage of, say, 25mA total on them, a leakage of only 5mA more (which would not be considered dangerous) would bring the total to tripping point.

Leakages are most often from watery things such as kettles, pond pumps, outdoor sockets, outdoor lights, immersion heaters. If you see no sign of damage (including gnawing) to cables or other items, or water ingress, ask around for recommendations for a local electricuan (adverts and websites are not recommendations). When phoning, ask if he is a member of a self-certufication scheme (this may not apply in NI but in that case you want him to be a quakified member of an organisation), tell him you have an earth leakage problem, and ask if he has a PAT tester.

Earth leakages can be difficult to track down. If you have a spare position on the not-protected side of your CU you could have an RCBO fitted just for that circuit, or just for the garage, which gives individual protection and avoids the adding-together problem.

If he uses his PAT tester on the drier first, he will know if that is the main problem, though I doubt it.

Methe you need a plumber to change your immersion heater element for a new one. The insulation is breaking down with age.

PigletJohn Sun 27-Oct-13 16:55:49

Bloody smartphone

Sorry

PigletJohn Sun 27-Oct-13 17:04:15

...Methe

If in your case as well it is the RCD that is tripping but not if it is a breaker marked B32

My hand was shaking holding the phone so close to the things that live in there!

It says RCD controlling protected circuits. The labels above the fuses say Shower, Up sockets, Down sockets, pump. Theres no spare on that side. That is indeed a black test button with T printed on it. Never noticed it before, and the text above it says push button to trip, test regularly. I've not pressed it.

The one labelled pump refers to a water feature installed by the previous owners that isn't used.

There are outside lights built into a wall, some of which don't work so they aren't switched on. Outdoor sockets work ok, at least I think they do, they are only really used for Christmas lights outside. These all go through a different fuse box not this one though.

We know a good electrician who did the electrics on an extension recently. I'll get him to look at it. Thanks very much for your help.

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