I found a great electrician to come out to our house Monday afternoon. He found an extremely disturbing problem: the 'hot' wire going into our electrical panel for the dryer was loose and melted. Every time we used the dryer, it was shorting out. This scenario was a prime candidate for a house fire. I cannot tell you how lucky we feel that the panel never set fire.
He fixed the damaged wire, tightened 3 other loose wires and replaced a blown fuse. Problem solved for less than $200 (or so we thought).
I attempted to do a load of laundry on Tuesday. About 20 minutes into the dry cycle, the power goes out. Crap.
Jim the Electrician comes out again this morning. He checks the dryer (Tony pulled it out from the laundry closet. No easy feat) and makes sure that everything at the panel is a-okay. He then checks our main breaker and found that it was very loose and not bolted down. Therefore, it would flip if you breathed on it funny. Just to be on the safe side, we had him replace the main breaker. I haven't attempted to do laundry yet, but he assures me that the problem has been fixed. He didn't think to check the main breaker before because the melted wire seemed to be the obvious problem and our main breaker should have never passed inspection.
Whoever did the electrical work on our place did a shoddy job. Whoever did the final inspection to make sure it was up to code did an even shoddier job. We will be letting all of our neighbors know about this and strongly urge them to have an electrician check out their panels.