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What Causes Electric Dryer Outlet and Cord Failures?

Know What Causes This Electrical Meltdown

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Dryer Outlet Burnt

Dryer Outlet Burnt

Timothy Thiele

If your electric dryer outlet and cord are getting hot but your dryer is not, it may be because of loose electrical connections. It is pretty evident in the photo that this was an electrical fire just waiting to happen. In fact, as you can see in the photo, the right connection post has actually been burnt off of the insulating post.

This particular outlet had a loose electrical connection under the burnt terminal where the feeder wire landed. The result was an increase in resistance and that in turn generated heat. The heat grew as the demand for current to heat the dryer increased. This in turn, heated the plastic housing around the blades of the electric dryer cord. As you can see from the discoloration of the area around the blade and the melted plastic, all is not well here either.

Like a loose wire connection, another factor that can do similar damage is the connection between the cord plug and the outlet itself. The left terminal connection had this problem. The connection fingers of the outlet were loose, causing a heat buildup on the cord blade and the outlet post. In fact, as with any outlet, if you plug the cord into the outlet and it seems to want to fall back out of the outlet, that's a telltale sign that the finger grips are worn out and that the outlet should be changed.

And while we're on the subject of possible electrical safety issues, take time to look your home over for other potential accidents waiting to happen with this electrical safety checklist. Although it takes a little of your time, electrical safety is the key and you'll be surprised how many common electrical mistakes are made by homeowners.

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