We just started noticing that, when running the dryer, there's a smell coming from the breaker box. It smells like something electrical burning. The circuit breaker for the dryer was a little warm,...
A burning smell from an electrical panel is never a good sign. You did what a lot of people will do, and have the same results - the problem won't go away.
The circuit breaker relies on the mechanical squeeze pressure of its metal clips to maintain solid electrical contact with the panel's bus bars. The problem is likely due to a poor connection between the circuit breaker and the panel board bus bars. Over the years, the load presented by the dryer has heated those points, weakening the metal clips, changing the metal conductivity in some cases due to pitting and arcing. Changing the entire panel is probably not required - especially if there are other unused spaces for a circuit breaker to be installed.
If this is the case, I would remove the new QO230 circuit breaker and install it in a previously unused space in the panel, instead. The bus bar here should be undamaged (since it was never used before), as would be the new circuit breaker contact clips. The damage has been done to the bus bars at the original location, and that space should never be used again. The same holds true for the old QO230 circuit breaker. Install SQD blank plates in the panel cover to keep fingers from getting inside.
Next, a current reading should be taken with an ammeter or amprobe. A 30 amp breaker should have no more than 24 amps on each wire connected to it. If yours is more than that, something is wrong. If it is not more than 24 amps, measuring the voltage at the breaker and the dryer plug should be done as well. The voltage at the plug should not be more than about 3% lower at the plug.
If there is no more room in the panel, a secondary panel can be installed adjacent to and fed from the original panel, space permitting. Move the dryer circuit to the new panel and any two adjacent poles of circuits (for a 240 volt feed). The dryer circuit breaker space will be abandoned and the two additional poles will be fitted with a new QO circuit breaker to supply the new panel. Your electrician should do this work for you. This is "permit required" work and must be inspected for your safety.
I hope this helps and good luck. Please rate my reply. Thank you.
Jun 01, 2011 |
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