Home Improvement

While cleaning my dryer vent outside the house, with it on, I was shocked. Faulty wiring or faulty dryer?

By May 9, 2019 6 Comments

The dryer is 13 years old, and sat in my garage for about half that time. We had the dryer that came with the house die a few years ago and replaced it with one we had as a spare.

I touched the metal in the vent from the outside and got the shit shocked out of me.

I don’t get shocked touching the outside of the unit while it is on. My worry is I remember getting zapped before, while adjusting the legs, but I can’t remember if it was this one or the previous one.

Could this be bad wiring or a bad dryer? Is there an easy way to find out if the wiring isn’t grounded?

Edited for grammar.

View Reddit by EricovichView Source


  • loliaway says:

    Electric or gas dryer?

  • moondoggie_00 says:

    You can use a meter. If a surface shocks you, you can measure it.

    Is this vent powered someohow, or just passive? I have a hard time believing a dryer vent shocked you from a completed circuit. There aren’t any wires involved normally. If it’s a metal vent cover (which seems odd) you might have just experienced a static discharge.

  • angrytaxman says:

    Are you sure it wasn’t static electricity? All that hot, dry air, and fuzzy stuff is probably a hotbed for a ton of static electricity.

  • arizona-lad says:

    An electrician could use a volt/ohm meter to measure for stray voltage from the metal vent to earth.

    It was running when you got shocked. There is a possibility that you were hit with static electricity. Moving air can carry a LOT of voltage. Here is one extreme example:


  • aerorich says:

    1) did you trip a breaker? Then it’s not static.

    2) is it repeatable? Don’t test by shocking yourself again. Rather, use a multimeter or better yet, a non contact voltage sensor.

    3) did it happen when the dryer was running or off?

    4) is the case of the dryer energized? Again, use a multimeter referenced against the 3rd prong of an outlet or a plumbing pipe or non contact sensor

    5) kill the breaker and see if any power goes away.

    6) with the breaker off, be pull the dryer out and unplug it. Follow the plug to inside the case and pop off the cover. Check the connections here and verify that the power cord isn’t somehow touching the case.

    7) if it was static, verify electrical continuity between the vent tube and the dryer case and the dryer case and the ground of your outlet

    Source: I do my own home repair and electrical and software testing for the next Mars Rover.

  • Pale-Raven says:

    Could be the ground wire for that outlet has been cut/detached.
    I had a similar thing happen at a house I rented. Workers rerouted wires for a new heatpump and the next day I got shocked when I touched the stove and metal counter at the same time. Landlord replaced the stove (even though I said I thought it was the wiring) and I promptly got shocked again, even though they had “tested” it. Then the first guys came back and fixed the ground wire, and everything was fine.

Leave a Reply