Youve seen those big clunky outlets with the funny angled places to receive the plug prongs. Youve noticed them behind your clothes dryer and electric range and beside your water heater and air conditioner. Each of these outlets is a 240 volt outlet designed to supply more electrical power for your larger appliances through the 240 volt wiring and 240v single phase plug. These are also quite different from the standard 120v outlets, having more wires, higher voltage, and greater hazards and safety risks.
You may have noticed them, but probably never gave them another thought . . . until you saw smoke coming from behind your dryer, that is. A little understanding of the 240 volt outlet, 240v single phase plug, and 240 volt plug wiring will help you to be prepared if a problem or emergency does arise. And knowing a reliable emergency electrician in advance is recommended as well.
Youre probably familiar with the standard and more common 120v outlet (sometimes known as 110v) that you plug your phone charger, TV, computer, toaster, vacuum cleaner, and coffeemaker into. Delivering higher voltage and more power and having more wires, 240v outlets are a little different.
Basically, two 120v circuits 180 degrees out of phase are connected together, hence the 240 volts, for twice the electrical power without the need for increasing wire size. So your 240v receptacles have two 120v wires supplying power along with a neutral wire. (Newer homes with newer 240 volt plug wiring will have outlets and plugs with four wires, which includes a ground for greater safety and reduced fire hazard.) Larger appliances, especially those equipped with an electric motor, simply run more efficiently with a 240 volt power supply. These appliances include ovens and ranges, dryers, water heaters, air conditioners, furnaces, and welders.
The outlets and plugs for 120v appliances have, as we mentioned, three wires, but only one of these is hot that is, actually carrying electric current and is usually blue or black in color. And the white wire, the neutral, completes the circuit, with the green or bare wire simply being a ground.
But 240 volt plug wiring has instead of a white neutral wire an additional hot that is usually red or blue. These two hot wires deliver the 120 volts twice for a total of 240 volts. These wires are then connected to a two-pole breaker at the circuit panel in your breaker box basically just two 120v single-pole breakers wired together. This is more complicated than 120v wiring and is best left to the professionals.
The outlets and plugs themselves are larger than 120v ones and have at least three (sometimes four) differently shaped holes and prongs. Three-prong outlets, then, commonly have a top receiving hole shaped like a backwards L and two diagonal holes lower down and toward the sides. Most outlets for four-prong 240v single phase plugs have that same configuration with the addition of a lower half-circle-shaped hole.
And all of this is for safetys sake. You cant plug a 120v appliance in to a 240v outlet because the hole configuration wont allow it. This, then, prevents a power overload to your 120v appliance and the possibility of a fire. Thats why its always best to call on the services of a reputable, licensed electrician for 240 volt problems and repairs.
As we mentioned above, a 240v single phase plug has two hot wires delivering power. A 3 phase plug, though, has three hot wires delivering power, generally more power than single phase. Usually, 240v 3 phase is reserved for commercial applications and single phase for residential uses. But before you begin any 240v electrical projects in your home, you should have a professional check to see whether its single or 3 phase.
With 240 volt plug wiring and outlets, as we mentioned earlier, the circuitry and number of wires are different, and the fire hazard and chance of severe shock are greater. So installation of wiring and outlets should be performed by licensed professional electricians. Installation of 240 volt outlets usually includes the following steps:
And if you have a damaged or worn 240 volt outlet, its a good idea to replace it because is can pose a definite safety hazard. In addition, for most people, its also a good idea not to attempt a DIY project here.
Many of us have, unfortunately, been there. You put a load of clothes in the dryer and then go off to do something else. You return several minutes later and smell that unmistakable electrical overheating/burning odor and see smoke coming from the back of the dryer. Closer inspection shows that the source of the smoke is the dryers 240 volt outlet. Why does this happen?
Generally, there are two main causes of such a scenario, both of them a species of loose connection, usually resulting from the inevitable vibration of the dryer and the movement of the nearby washer. First, the wires in the 240v plug often come loose from the post attachments and make little or intermittent contact. Or, second, the 240 volt outlet has become worn and the plug posts dont make good contact when plugged in.
In both cases, because there is only a small connection for the electrical current to flow through, resistance is dramatically increased. And this results in overheating at that point and sometimes a fire.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year and cause an estimated 5 deaths, 100 injuries, and $35 million in property loss. And that was from 2008-2010, so those figures would only be higher now. Further, electrical failure/malfunction was the third leading cause of these fires, causing at least 16% of them.
If your home isnt a new one, experts recommend that you have the 240 volt outlets and wiring inspected by a licensed electrician to ensure proper installation that meets at least the minimal municipal code requirements. (For you never know who did the electrical work if youre not the first home owner.) In addition, the U.S. Fire Administration recommends having your dryer installed by qualified professionals. And they also insist you should ensure, or have your electrician check to ensure, that the correct electrical plug and outlet are used and that the dryer is connected properly.
The good news is that almost all electrical fires can be prevented if you understand the causes, have the requisite knowledge and expertise, and take appropriate repair and installation measures. The bad news, for DIYers at least, is that only license professional electricians have studied and mastered the National Electric Code (NEC) which presents the proper methods for nearly all electrical work and procedures for preventing fires and weighs in at 800 pages.
For example, would you know that the minimum wire size for a 20 amp breaker is 12 gauge? Thats the size needed to carry 20 amps of current without any possibility of overheating (and fire) owing to too much resistance from a smaller wire size. And would you also know that poor electrical connections are the primary causes of home electrical fires because the poor connection increases resistance and leads to the creation of more heat, which can result in fires? Some of the most common poor connections include:
Another key consideration when it comes to your 240 volt outlet and 240 volt plug wiring is installing exactly the right size breaker. Too small, and it will trip at the wrong time and become a nuisance. Too large, too high an amp rating, and will pose a fire hazard because when an issue arises, the appliance will overheat before the breaker trips. The best policy is just to leave these projects to the trained professionals, like those at Work Best Electric.
If you live in an older home that hasnt been rewired, you will likely need the services of a professional electrician. For older homes simply werent constructed to meet the electrical demands of todays technology and appliances. Many pre-1960 homes were equipped with only 60 amp service, but the standard in modern homes is at least 100 amp service. In addition, older homes very often had no 240 volt outlets, which means theres no place to plug in your AC or dryer.
A licensed electrician can install a new grounded electrical panel (breaker box) to accommodate more circuits. This will allow dedicated 240v circuits so you can operate your modern appliances. In addition, a grounded system is far safer and will permit addition of surge protection and grounded outlets. And while youre at it, you could have your electrician install arc-fault circuit interrupters as protection against fires.
So if youve just purchased or live in an un-updated older home, your best bet is to get an electrician to inspect the entire electrical system. And, then, if needed, the electrician can do the rewiring. This way, both your family and your appliances will be protected against electrical malfunctions and fires.
An electrical problem involving a 240 volt outlet, a 240v single phase plug, or 240 volt plug wiring is not something you can ignore. Besides being a major inconvenience, there is a marked fire hazard, and it can quickly develop into an emergency situation. In this case, you need an emergency electrician to keep your air conditioner or dryer running and to give you (and your insurer) some peace of mind. So if you do encounter a 240v electrical emergency, call the experienced electricians on call 24/7 at Work Best Electric.
Dont take a chance by waiting or attempting it yourself. We can help you prevent an emergency electrical problem from escalating into a life-threatening emergency. We employ only the best, most qualified professionals and use state-of-the-art equipment to provide high-quality service and a safe home. To be connected with a qualified local electrician, contact us now.
DISCLAIMER: This site is a free service that helps homeowners connect with local service contractors. All contractors are independent and this site does not warrant or guarantee any work performed. It is the responsibility of the homeowner to verify that the contractor they hire has the necessary license and insurance required for the work being performed.
[ad#block]Electrical Question: We have a GE Electric dryer (Model- DBLR333EEEWW) says inside door 120/240Volt 60hz and then under that 120/208V 60hz. It has the NEMA 10-30R 30AMP power cord already attached. I also purchased the three prong power outlet to install that fits this cord.
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A dryer was moved and the people put a junction box in its place. Can I run the new line by attaching to the old one using the junction box. They just disconnected it and turned off the breaker. I would like to reuse the line for another item requiring 240 power in my garage. Can this be done and still follow code?
The answer is yes if the conductors meet code.you already turned off, Remove The receptacle install a clamp in the old box for the new wire to feed the new the receptacle If Romex the putter insulation 1/4 inside the clamp and 6 wire minimum. Use appropriate sized wire-nuts and install a blank cover, put the new box where you want it , bring the wire in make sure to have at least 6 and the putter covering or insulation inside the box by 1/4 reconnect your receptacle and you are ready to plug in. Electric driers are usually #10 wire on a 30 amp breaker. Can be larger but that is normal. I usually use 4 square metal boxes with a 30 amp 1/2 raised cover . The receptacle should be a 4 wire by todays code well and the last few cycles. Good luck.
In 1996, the rules about how clothes dryers connect to electric panels changed in many places. Their standard plugs, which used to connect to a three prong outlet as shown in Figure 1, were updated to a four prong version. The earlier models of dryers used to wire the neutral and the ground together, which at the time was accepted by the NEC (National Electric Code) standards. This, however, left the risk of the current flowing to the ground wire and the consequent possibility to energize the dryers metal frame, creating the potential of electrical shock.
With the four wire outlet mandated in 1996 (Figure 2), however, the NEC realized that replacing old existing outlets and their wiring could prove to be much too invasive and costly in older homes that would have to be upgraded to the new 4-wire system, and it was decided that the three prong outlets would remain code-compliant.
But when faced with the dilemma of installing a newer dryer and realizing that the plug at the end of the cord and the outlet in the wall dont actually look alike and seeing there is no way that theyll fit together (Figure 3), the first thought is replacing the outlet, of course, but since this would include replacing the whole cable, it surely sounds expensive and maybe even impossible if, since the initial install, the basement and other rooms got finished or remodeled, hiding all the electrical behind drywall and ceiling tiles.
But thankfully, the problem is much easier to resolve than it looks. With the three prong 240V outlets still within the code, there is nothing to modify at the outlet. All the modifications are to be done at the dryer level, by first getting a three prong cord from the hardware store, and rewiring it in place in a specific way as described below.
Since the three prong outlet is still compliant with the code, all you need is a new three prong cord that matches the pattern of the outlet. As shown in Figure 4, there are more than just one type of three-prong cords for ranges and dryers, so care must be taken to get the right one.
After confirming the right cord was picked, the dryers electrical access panel is removed to expose the terminal block and connections of its wires. Looking at the four wire cable going in, there are a black, a red, a white, and a green wire hooked up inside as in Figure 5.
Its easy enough to see on the inside that the green wire from inside the appliance and the green wire from the four wire cord are both secured at the common point on the chassis or case of the appliance connecting everything to the earth ground. The main difference after its all hooked up is the green wire from the four wire cord will be missing after its replaced with the three wire cord as seen in Figure 6.
With the proper Phillips screwdriver or socket wrench, remove the screws securing the green wires to the chassis, and the three wires to the terminal block, taking care not to lose any of the screws inside and making note of where each color goes.
As illustrated in Figure 6, there's no green wire in the new three prong cable, so if the three wires are colored, the wires should be attached to the terminal block to match the same colored wires from the dryer. The grounding strap will now replace the green ground wire and can now be connected between the center terminal and the dryer case.
If the new cord is a flat cable without color-coding, the center wire goes to the middle terminal screw and the outside wires go attached to each of the outside terminals on the terminal block. The grounding strap still goes connected as described above.
With the new cable hooked up, the cable clamp can be tightened up to secure the cord in place. With this done, the access cover can also be put back and screwed in place. And there it is, ready to get plugged in and tested.
There are many reasons that a person might want to connect a generator to their house through a dryer outlet. Whether they live in an area that experiences frequent power outages due to weather conditions or simply an unstable power grid, the need for power is the same for everyone.
If youre experiencing a power outage, youre likely looking for a way to backfeed your homes wiring by using a cord with male plugs on both ends one end connected to the generator and the other plugged into the 240-volt dryer outlet. While backfeeding can be done, it is dangerous and often illegal. Although hooking up a generator through a dryer outlet is the easiest way to power your home in a power outage, to home, some things to consider before doing it.
Backfeeding with a generator can be a great way to restore power to your home in the event of a power outage. However, in order for it to be safe, it must be done properly. Otherwise, you risk serious harm and possible criminal prosecution should a maintenance worker become injured or even die.
Electricity enters your house through utility lines. Prior to entering, a transformer converts the power to 240 volts and is route through a circuit breaker to be distributed to your outlets, lighting, and appliances. Backfeeding refers to the practice of powering a home using a portable generator during a power outage by hooking it up to an appliance or convenience outlet.
Those who backfeed their homes connect the generator to the outlet using a homemade cord that has two male plugs on either end. With this Generator Backfeed Cord, also referred to as a suicide cord, the electricity enters the main panel by way of the outlets branch circuit breaker.
The panel is what distributes the power throughout your house through the other branch circuit breakers. It also dispenses power out of the main circuit breaker to the transformer, is converted back to thousands of volts and attempts to provide power to all utility lines in the neighborhood. Powering your home this way is dangerous and may also be illegal in some jurisdictions.
Backfeeding is a dangerous, and sometimes illegal, way to power your home by connecting a portable generator to an appliance outlet (such as a dryer outlet). This process allows electricity to flow in reverse and if the main breaker isnt shut off, power will backfeed to the utility lines surrounding your home.
Maintenance workers who are trying to restore power to the neighborhood may unpredictably confront high voltage on the lines and suffer injury or even fatal shock. In such situations, you would be held responsible for the injury or death, and may be prosecuted accordingly.
Although turning off the main breaker lessens this hazard, there is no guarantee that someone else may turn it back on and energize the wires. It simply does not safeguard against accidentally creating instances of high voltage on utility lines or even introducing an electrocution hazard in the home.
When you talk about connecting a generator to a house through a dryer outlet, you will get a variety of responses. While backfeeding is an effective way to power your home during an outage, you should strongly consider the safety and legal repercussions if something goes wrong.
Most people would backfeed power from their generator into their homes grid in the event of an emergency or power outage. During these times, linemen who are tasked with working on the power lines consider the power lines to be devoid of electricity.
If a household has a generator backfeeding power into the grid, electricity could easily travel through the lines and electrocute any workers on the lines. To remedy this problem, the main breaker can be closed before backfeeding power. Remembering to do so is imperative, as, in the worst case scenario, you could be the direct cause of the death of a maintenance worker.
Another issue that can take place when the main breaker is not off is that the power generated by the generator is often out of phase with other power supplies. When power sources that are out of phase encounter one another, competition ensues. The result is usually damage equipment and fire.
In a normal state, power is fed to appliances from an outside source. This means that when we plug into an outlet, we are making contact with that power source as long as the appliance is plugged in. When we unplug, the connection to the power is disconnected and the plug is no longer dangerous.
This is not the case when backfeeding with a generator. When feeding power into your home, the plug going from your generator into your home has enough power going through it to cause some serious damage to anyone within range. If unplugged when in operation, serious injury can be a result.
Find a safe location outside of your home and start the generator. Generators often need some time to warm up, so be sure to read the documentation that came with your generator to see if that is the case for your model. Once the generator is warmed up, it can be turned off again.
Most portable generators run from 7-10 hours on a full tank of fuel. This makes them great for shorter-term power outages as they can keep your house going while you wait for the main power supply to kick back in.
An important thing to remember is that generators burn fuel to work and that process creates carbon monoxide. For that reason, you should always operate a gas-powered generator outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.
It is very important to turn off the main power breaker before connecting a generator to the dryer outlet. As mentioned above, not doing so could result in serious injury. It is also important to remember that the main breaker should remain off at all times while the generator is connected to the dryer outlet.
With both the generator and the main breaker off, you can plug your generator into the dryer outlet. The plugs for both ends will be specific to both the dryer outlet and the receptacle on the generator, so there is no need to worry which end is meant for which.
Plugging a generator into a dryer outlet is not legal in some jurisdictions. As a result, it can be difficult to find the correct wire to connect your generator to a dryer outlet. An easy and inexpensive option if you cannot find a cable is to make your own as the parts are always readily available.
Once connected to the dryer outlet, go back to the breaker box. Ensuring that the main breaker is still in the off position, turn on the breaker switches that are connected to the appliances and rooms that you want to supply power to. It is also at this point that you should turn on the breaker switch to the dryer.
The final step is to power your home by turning on the generator. As always, when working with electricity, ensure that you have completed all of the steps, and in the correct order to make sure that you can take advantage of an easy power supply in the safest possible way.
Running a generator to your house through a transfer switch is the safest way to connect a generator to your home. Connecting a generator to your home through a dryer outlet comes with some inherent risks. Using a transfer switch mitigates most of those risks while making the connection process easier at the same time.
With the right generator you can run a dryer without issue. Dryers, and other major household appliances, utilize up to 6500 W to run. If your generator is equal to or greater than 6500 W, that should be sufficient to power your dryer.
Before attempting to connect a dryer to a generator, however, always check the rated power and surge demand of the dryer and the generator. If the generator is rated higher in both categories, there will be no issue.
Benjamin is a proud homeowner who loves to write about DIY projects and home improvement projects. Traveling, perfecting his home, and spending time with his family are just a few of the many things that keep him inspired.
When you roll into your driveway at the end of your RV battery life after a long RV trip, its tempting. You need to get those batteries charged. Youre tired, and you certainly dont want to go anywhere else right now to charge them. Cant you just plug them into your dryer outlet and be done with it?
The plugs may look the same, but they handle different amounts of voltage. Plugging your RV into your dryer outlet will damage your batteries, could damage the electrical system in your house, and, in the worst case, could start a fire.
However, do not despair. There are some solutions that will allow you to use your home electricity to charge your RV. In this article, well detail why you cant simply plug your RV right into a plug at your house, and what you can do instead to charge your RV in the comfort of your own home.
RV plugs and dryer plugs look very similar, but they have some key differences. Your dryer was designed to run off of household electricity. Power companies provide households with 240 volts at the main electric panel, where the voltage for your appliances is divided into three different circuit feeds. One feed is 240 volts, and powers your electric range in your kitchen (if you have an electric range), and your dryer. One feed is 120 volts and powers lights, wall plugs, toasters, and other small appliances. The final feed is a 120-volt ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) which keeps you safe from malfunctioning electrical devices by shutting off electricity to protect you from shocks.
For most RVs to charge, they need a 120 volt AC plug with 30 amp service. Because the RV plug is larger, its easy to make the mistake of thinking it could be plugged into an electric range or dryer outlet. However, as you can see, the dryer outlet has twice as many volts which is why plugging it in there would ruin your batteries and possibly your electrical system at home.
You cant simply plug your 30 amp RV straight into your dryer outlet or other outlets in your house. However, there are special adaptors you can get that will allow you to charge at home. Youll need a 50- or at the very least a 30-amp hookup since the normal outlets at your home wont supply enough power. Look for a 30/50 amp hookup, which is an adaptor you plug into your 3-prong wall outlet. You can then plug your RV into an extension cord and into the adaptor to charge your RV.
Although you cant usually plug your RV straight into your house, one exception is that Class A motorhomes tend to operate on 50 amps. That translates to needing 240 volts of power, and youcan plug those RVs into your dryer outlet. It may not work quite as well, because its very possible your house panels cant provide the electrical draw your rig needs.
With a few adjustments, yes you can. One, as we discussed above, is to get a 30/50 amp adaptor to plug into your wall. If your building code allows, you can also hire an electrician to install a 30 or 50-amp receptacle near your RV. You can then charge your motorhome just like you would at a campground.
There are many reasons you may want to charge your RV from the comfort of your own home so that youre ready to head out on your next trip all powered up. I hope weve shown you that you cant simply plug your motorhome into a home outlet even a larger dryer outlet and expect that will charge your batteries. At the very least, it can cause some expensive damage to your batteries or home electrical system. At most, its dangerous and could start a fire.
However, with a few small fixes, you can modify your home electrical system to allow you to charge your RV. If you like to return home and charge up for your next trip, the small amount of time and effort you spend to adapt your electrical system to handle charging an RV could be worth it!
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Your kiln specs are for 20A. Your dryer breaker is (or should be) 30A. 30A is a lot more than 20A. If you had a failure where the kiln pulled 30A for a while, the breaker would not trip and your kiln might be damaged...or start a fire.
Your kiln needs hot, neutral and ground. A 6-30 is a 3-wire connection. It will likely have hot, hot, ground, in which case you don't have a neutral and would then be piggybacking neutral for your 5-20 on ground, which is not to code and not safe.
Your dryer receptacle is actually more likely a 10-30, which is an obsolete-but-grandfathered type with hot, hot, neutral, in which case you don't have a ground and would then be piggybacking neutral for your 5-20 on ground, which is not to code and not safe. It is considered "safe enough" for dryers but your kiln does not fall under that limited exemption.
30A specifications: 10 AWG (it is perfectly fine to use 10 for 20A circuits, but code normally only requires 12), 2,300W (2,300W/120V = 19A and since this is continuous usage it needs a circuit rated for higher current - and the next typical size is 30A)
This is kind of a "code mess" because this kiln manufacturer is good at making kilns, not so good at complying with NEC/UL rules, especially in 120V/16-20A current draw. As such, they unable to achieve UL/CSA listings in the US.
The hangups are twofold: first the device needs a 30A plug, and these are highly uncommon in US homes. And second, your dryer receptacle needs to provide both neutral and ground - and if it's a 3-prong Halloween outlet, it does not have that (possibly because the ground wire isn't there). Let's solve each, one at a time.
Your device draws 19A actual, and you need to provision power for 125% of that since it could run continuously. Therefore you are talking 23.75 amps, too much for a 20A circuit obviously, and you need to upsize to a 30A plug, socket, wiring and circuit breaker. This makes it a good fit for that dryer breaker and wiring.
However, since you want to co-use this socket for your dryer, I suggest simply fitting a NEMA 14-30 plug. This is a 30A 120/240 hot-hot-neutral-ground plug, which is overkill for your needs, but will fit your dryer outlet. Quite soon.
Get a NEMA 14-30 dryer cord for your dryer. Install it according to the dryer's instructions. This will include a step to remove the bonding between neutral and ground. Very important, or it will defeat the safety protection we're about to add!
If you don't have a ground wire, but can confirm the conductor wires run inside a metal conduit from the dryer all the way back to the panel, then look in the back of the junction box for a hole a bit smaller than the rest. It will take a #10-32 ground screw, and they sell green ones 10 for $1. Attach a 10 AWG ground pigtail to that, then install a 14-30 receptacle using that pigtail and the 3 conductors. You are done!
If you have the physical access to physically retrofit a 10 AWG bare ground wire between the dryer receptacle and the service panel, then definitely do that. Use that ground wire on a NEMA 14-30 receptacle and you are done.
If none of those are possible... Replace the dryer's circuit breaker with a 30A 2-pole GFCI circuit breaker. Make sure this is possible before continuing. Once that is done, install the NEMA 14-30 receptacle with nothing connected to the ground screw. Then, stick two labels on the receptacle (these come with the GFCI): "GFCI Protected" and "No Equipment Ground".
These large receptacles are not made for frequent use. This can break them. If you need to do this often, then get a "junction box expander" for the physical space, and splice on a circuit extension to go to a second receptacle. That way the dryer can stay plugged in all the time.
There are three huge problems with big extension cords. First, if you get a long cord, you will be tempted to leave most of it coiled up. The extension cord will melt and catch fire if you do this.
Second, long extension cords are vulnerable to voltage drop, especially when you chintz out on them. For instance you are proposing 20A extension cords and your need to provision 24A, so you're running at hard thermal limits (worsening the "coiling" problem) and will experience voltage drop as high as 5%. That will reduce performance of the kiln.
"Hard-wiring" can include a pendant connection, which is stopping at a junction box then splicing to 10 AWG cordage with proper strain relief. The cordage can be any length, then end in the appropriate inline socket. The cordage must be 10 AWG, but if the socket is 3-conductor, the cordage can be too.
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So you moved into a new home, and your dryer plug does not fit the receptacle. Either your dryer cord has too many or too few prongs to fit. This issue is common and doesn't mean your home has Bad Wiring, and it certainly doesn't mean you need to buy a new dryer. Homes built before the mid 90s only required 3 prong receptacles, but in 1996 the National Electrical Code (NEC) mandated all new home wiring use a neutral for Dryer and Range electrical circuits. The change like most code changes was made to increase safety by limiting the potential for electrical shock, and this why your new home has a 4 prong dryer outlet and your dryer cord wont fit.
The potential for electrical shock was starting to become more and more of an issue with the rise of digital displays and components utilizing 120v for their operation even though the dryer circuit was 240v without a neutral. This condition becomes dangerous because the voltage is cycling back and forth on a ground wire instead of the required neutral wire. Since the metal frame of the dryer is bonded to the incoming ground wire, there was a potential to be shocked by stray voltage when touching the dryer. People are much more at risk if they are barefoot while using the dryer. What is the difference between 120v & 240v?
Fact: The term 220 volt circuit is not accurate in the United States, we use 240 volts as a standard although most appliances still run off 240v or 220v. A dryer using 5000 watts when supplied with 240v draws 20.83 amps while a dryer using the same 5000 watts when supplied with 220v draws 22.73 amps. The 240v system is much more efficient.
The obvious solution was to add a neutral wire so the 120 volt components could operate safely without being used as a neutral path. Modern homes are wired using 10-3 NM Cable (Romex) and have four prong dryer receptacles installed. This wiring method safety carries all voltage back to the main electrical panel where the ground and neutral are bonded together. Any faults that occur use the grounding path to the Ground Rods or Grounding System and voltage travels into the Earth instead of energizing the metal frame of the dryer.
Fact: Your dryer circuit should be supplied from a 2 pole 30amp Breaker. If it is more than 30 amps, the Wrong Breaker was installed. If your panel doesn't have breakers and still uses a cartridge and screw-in fuse it is time to think about a Panel Upgrade. Call an Electrical Contractor in Greenville for an evaluation.
Adding a 4 Prong Dryer Cord is the recommended course of action. With the average cost of a new cord being less than $25 and the installation involving the removal of a cover plate, 3 termination screws, and 1 ground connection this qualifies as a DIY project with many YouTube Videos offering advice. Although this is a moderate DIY project if you a are the least bit uncomfortable or unsure, please consider Hiring an Electrician in Greenville for assistance. Always turn off power and verify the power is off before working on any electrical system.
Homes in North America are supplied with a 120/240V single-phase electrical service. The incoming 240V power is split into two legs. Each leg can provide 120V hot-to-neutral, and the two legs together will supply 240V, which is used to supply heavy loads such as air conditioning compressors and cookstoves.
In every home, there are branch circuits that supply the lights, receptacles and built-in appliances with electricity. The wires, or conductors, in those circuits are classified based on wiring type, size, and color, and it is the color of the wires insulation which designates the function of the wire. Understanding the information those colors convey helps you work with greater safety and ease when troubleshooting an electrical problem or making repairs or improvements to your electrical system. The connections should not be made haphazardly. In the United States, the color of the wire used must comply with the requirements of the National Electrical Code (NEC).
Depending on where you live, the branch circuit wiring in your home will be made with individual conductors run through a hollow metal conduit, or with one of three types of cable. A cable is a factory-made assembly of conductors in an outer jacket or sheath. Plastic sheathed, or Type NM (NonMetallic), cable, is widely used for home wiring circuits. Modern Type NM cables have different color sheathing which indicates the size of the conductors: White for 14AWG (American Wire Gauge) conductors, Yellow for 12 AWG conductors, and Orange for 10 AWG conductors. Type NM cable will also have markings on the cable sheath of the cable, indicating the size and type of the conductors in it, along with other information. 14-2/G, for example, shows that that cable has two insulated, current-carrying conductors and one grounding conductor, size 14 AWG.
The other two types of cable, which are often used to extend wiring in a system wired with metal conduit, are Type MC (Metal Clad) and Type AC (Armor Clad). Both Type MC and Type AC are sheathed in a flexible metal coil. Type AC cable, commonly called BX, does not have a grounding conductor. The metal sheath, plus a thin aluminum bonding wire, provide the required path to ground. Type MC cable does have a grounding conductor. In recent years, manufacturers have begun spraying color codes onto cables with metal sheathing. The colored marks correspond to the colors of the current-carrying conductors in that cable.
According to NEC, a black or red wire must be used as an ungrounded conductor or hot wire. In fact, any color wire except white, gray or green may be used in conduit to carry ungrounded power. No wire with any of those colors can be used for establishing a ground or neutral connection.
Because a red-colored wire also serves as an ungrounded conductor, these wires are used to connect the second leg of the electrical system to loads which require 240 volts. The red wire is also used as a by-pass in a two-way switched lighting circuit, and will often be used also as an interconnection or communication wire in a circuit that requires it, such as a smoke detector circuit.
In systems where individual conductors, or wires, are run through a conduit, wires that are blue or yellow, or any color except white, gray or green are sometimes installed to designate a specific use. For example, if power needs to be run from a ceiling box down to a box with three switches and then brought back to the ceiling to power three different sets of lights, a black wire could be used to take the power down to the switches and three wires with other colorssay red, blue, and yellowcould be used to bring the power up from each of the switches. That makes it easier to tell, at a glance, which switch is being used to control each set of lights.
In the past, a white wire in a cable assembly was allowed to be used to carry ungrounded potentialto function as a hot wirein a switch leg or when connecting a set of 3-way switches. This changed with the adoption of the 2011 cycle of the NEC, which requires the presence of a grounded conductor in every switch box, to facilitate the installation of lighted switches, motion detectors, timers, and similar energy-saving controls. In new work, the white wire in a cable assembly cannot be used to carry ungrounded power. Because that requirement was only adopted in 2011, though, a homeowner may find that one has been used that way in an existing installation. In those cases, the white wire should be marked with red or black electrical tape or permanent markeror any color other than gray or greento show that it is being used as a hot wire and is carrying ungrounded potential. That wasnt always done, so be careful of white wires in switch boxes. Since a neutral should never be switched, assume that any white wire that you find connected to a switch is a hot wire until you test it and determine that it isnt.
There is one case in which a white may be used to carry ungrounded potential that is still in conformity with the most recent cycle of the NEC. That is when a cable is used to feed a straight 240V load. If an appliance does not need or use 120V power, but only needs and uses 240V power, a standard 2-conductor cable, which has a black, white and bare set of wires, may be used to connect that appliance. In that case, the black wire is connected to one pole of the two-pole 240V breaker in the panel. The white wire is redesignated as an ungrounded conductor by using black or red (or any color except gray or green) electrical tape or permanent marker and connected to the other pole of the breaker, and the bare ground wire is connected to the ground busbar. At the appliance end, the white wire is marked again and the two insulated wires are connected to the two input terminals for ungrounded power on the appliance, or on its disconnect switch, and the ground wire is connected to the frame of the appliance or the box that the disconnect is in.
This wiring methodtwo hots and a groundwas common for many years to supply most of the larger appliances in our homes, so it is still found in place, and in service, today. With the increased use of electrical and electronic controls in many appliances, though, a four-wire service which includes a neutral conductor is being required for a new circuit. Most new cooking appliancesranges, wall ovens, and cooktopsare being built to use that wiring. So are the newer electric dryers. They may, however, be capable of working with either type of wiring. If you are replacing an older cooking appliance or dryer, the instructions may tell you that you can, by replacing the cord on the appliance, connect it to an existing three-wire 240V circuit.
The important thing to keep in mind here is that the white wire in a 240V circuit may be carrying ungrounded power, and it may not have been marked to show that it is. Dont assume that because its white, it cant shock you. Always test to be safe.
Wires with green colored insulation and non-insulated wires are equipment grounding conductors or ground wires. The equipment grounding conductor, or EGC, is an important addition to residential wiring that became widely adopted in the 1970s. This separate set of conductors is connected directly to the earth. The EGC wiring carries no power at all when everything is working normally. But if theres a fault, and ungrounded power is present where it could damage an appliance or shock someone, a properly connected EGC provides that power with a low-resistance path to earth. Since the power is trying to return to its source, it will take that path. This may trip a circuit breaker or blow a fuse but it will greatly reduce the risks of appliance damage, a fire, or electrocution to a human being. For the EGC to function properly, green and bare wires need to be connected together, to devices such as switches and receptacles, and to any metal electrical box.
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In my apartment, I have a 4 wire 240V receptacle for a dryer where the neutral is not connected, only the 2 hots and ground. Is this configuration permitted for a dryer circuit? An electrician and maintenance person have both said the circuit is fine, but the electrician did point out that there is no box for the receptacle. How can the dryer get the necessary 120V to operate the panel and the other small parts in the dryer?
Notice that all the control circuits are 120V components, and that basically only the heater is 240V. Extending this image further, we can see how the dryer connects to a 120/240V split-phase system using a 3 wire cord.
Due to the nature of the 120/240V split-phase system, the grounded (neutral) and grounding conductors in a dedicated single appliance circuit are basically the same. The dryer will work just fine whether the N terminal is connected to a grounded (neutral) conductor, or a grounding conductor. However, connecting a NEMA 14-30R device in this way is nonstandard, and a code violation.
If you read point number three of the exception to section 250.140 of the National Electrical Code, you'll find that the neutral must be either insulated, or part of a Type SE cable. If this is not the case, your installation may still be a code violation.
Tying neutral and ground together at the dryer is an obsolete and dangerous technique. It means you need one less wire, but if anything goes wrong with that wire, the chassis of the dryer becomes electrified. There's a special exception (NEC 250.140) that allows you to connect a dryer this way. Legal or not, this is a terrible idea. However this is the conventional advice - you do this bad idea using a NEMA 10-30 connector.
Where do you get neutral? When a dryer is connected with UF cable, people often assume the bare wires wrapping around the conductors are the ground. In the past, this has been used as neutral (with no ground at all). Here's the thing. It is legal to retrofit grounds. (it is not legal to retrofit neutrals).
So if there is a bare wire in the cable and it's been used as neutral in the past, your best bet may be to continue using it as a neutral. (Make sure to wrap it with tape so it can't short against the ground or the box). And then retrofit a ground using some cheap, common #8 ground wire from the hardware store, and run that back to the panel via any reasonable route.
I disagree with O.P. Neutral is NOT basically the same as ground and should NOT be connected to ground (see 1 bad exception below). Also: NEC's circuit never include the appliance circuit (you never expose people to the inside of an appliance - if the appliance has a legitimate NEC ground and you connect to that: then your right).
If you have no ground (3 wires total for a 240 single phase needing 4 wires total), you have no ground: it's that simple. The neutral connects to the neutral bus NEVER the ground bus in the panel (USA typical home - you do have to check with your power company for ). see the folowing about typical power company neutral ground wiring and note some special buildings do NOT use the system even on the same power company: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthing_system
In most areas neutral ground are NOT the same potential difference voltage (0 on average but spikes or PROBLEMS are at different differences - but more important is ground is a shortest path return to earth that trips the breaker and connections to neutral to that causes un-natural current).
See also: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_ground , noting none of NEC's grounds are perfect 0 potential to surroundings or to 0 at any or all times. It's just not NEC's circuit diagram to do this.
I wish I could tell you if running 14awg 14/2 tied or 10/1 awg to add the extra ground to the panel will be successful in the end: you might well have an inspector that insist all 4 wires be in one straight jacket no matter how well ohm balanced you are and that you remove it and start over. Your doing old work so adding a ground might cause inspection failure depending on the (municipality).
One more thing OP. BONDING. Any metal or water you normally may touch (dryer, metal conduit) while using the drying should have the SAME GROUND (in the bad/wrong case: same neutral) (this is done in pools and is why you see lights in a pool but aren't shocked in water or by ladders, and never ever using neutral). Don't extending this "bonding" to "true grounds". If you have any true ground nearby one might touch (bonded or not): you really should install the 4 wire - only sain thing to do.
250.140 Frames of Ranges and Clothes Dryers. [...] Exception: For existing branch-circuit installations only where an equipment grounding conductor is not present in the outlet or junction box, the frames of electric ranges, wall-mounted ovens, counter-mounted cooking units, clothes dryers, and outlet or junction boxes that are part of the circuit for these appliances shall be permitted to be connected to the grounded circuit conductor if all the fol- lowing conditions are met.
However, you specifically stated that it's the grounding conductor that's connected to both ground and neutral. If that's true, the above exception would not apply, since the outlet box (presumably?) would have both ground and neutral running to it.
I'll bet that the dryer's cord has the ground wire connected internally to neutral and also to ground. In fact, this is how 3 wire 120/240 appliances were wired up until rather recently (2002 if I recall correctly).
Unless the breaker is a GFCI, which is highly unlikely for a dryer, the non-separate ground and neutral is a minor issue. Technically, it is probably not to code. However, that could readily by fixed by replacing the receptacle and cord with a three wire and feigning the previous state of the art.
120 plus 120 = 240. Your panel has 120 AC on each side. AC stands for alternating current. A wave, not a line. Opposite sides of your panel have opposite wave signatures allowing the "hot" for one 120 to function as the neutral for the other.