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Causes for a Dryer Receptacle to Melt

Christie Gross

Although it’s possible for a clothes dryer’s receptacle or electrical outlet to melt, melting is generally a rare occurrence. A receptacle typically will only melt if the receptacle isn’t able to support the electricity needs of the dryer or if the dryer’s power cord is defective. If a dryer’s receptacle melts, contact an electrician to repair it. Don’t plug the dryer back into the electrical outlet until a dryer repair technician can evaluate the dryer and ascertain that it didn’t incur damage from the faulty receptacle.

Wrong Type of Receptacle

Only plug your dryer into a receptacle that has been properly grounded.

Electric and gas clothes dryers have different electricity requirements to operate. An electric clothes dryer uses 240 volts of electricity to operate, compared to the 120 volts that a gas dryer uses. While you can plug a gas dryer into a standard 120-volt receptacle, you can’t plug an electric dryer into one, as an electric dryer will melt the receptacle. An electric dryer has a four-wire power cord that can only be plugged into a receptacle that has a terminal block with four entry posts that enable the wires to connect with electricity.

Wrong Plug

Although most gas dryers come with a power cord with a configured grounding plug, most electric dryers don’t include a power cord. You have to buy one separately. However, gas and electric dryers use different power cords, and they aren’t interchangeable. A gas dryer’s power cord simply can’t deliver the electricity that an electric dryer needs to run. If you try to operate an electric dryer with a power cord made for a gas dryer, you can melt the dryer’s receptacle. Consult with a dryer salesclerk or review your dryer’s manual to determine which cord type your dryer requires.

Bad Power Cord

Always use a power cord that’s in good condition to supply power to your dryer. If the power cord is fraying and wires are exposed, it can start a fire in the receptacle, causing it to melt. Rather than trying to repair a defective power cord with tape or other adhesive, do yourself a favor and buy a new power cord.

Power Surge

A power surge caused by an electrical storm or supplier disruption can damage your home’s wiring and melt your dryer’s receptacle, especially if it was running at the time the electrical current entered your home. If the receptacle is black or misshapen, contact an electrician to replace it. Flip the dryer’s circuit breakers off, and disconnect the power cord from the outlet until the receptacle is repaired. You should also contact a dryer repair technician to inspect your dryer. It’s possible that the electrical current could have affected the dryer and short-circuited its electrical wiring.