Dryer outlet

Last Edited By Krjb Donovan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 05:25 PM GMT

Question

Recently my husband replaced the dryer outlet to the same 3 prong. I believe Nema 10-30r 30amp-125/250 volt. I received a small shock when I had a hand in the washer "water in it" and the other hand on the dryer that was currently running. I cut off the power and looked at the outlet and wiring. What I saw was the ground connected to the side instead of the bottom of the outlet. Our house is from 1970's, the wiring, 3 wires has 2 black coated wires and one uncoated silver wire. I reconnected the wires and the dryer works fine, no shock. My question is that the ground is the uncoated silver wire correct? Does it matter which prong left or right the other 2 coated black wires go into?

Answer

This is one of the reasons the new code calls for a 4-prong outlet and cord. You are sending power back on the ground wire, which creates a hazardous situation because your chassis can become energized.

However, in your case it also sounds like the outlet was miswired. If one of the black wires were connected where the ground should go it means that your metal chassis was completely energized by 120 volts.

To answer your question, yes the uncoated wire is the ground, and no it does not matter right or left for the black wires, as long as they do not get put in the ground prong.

Question

I have a 220v 30 amp circuit with romex already run through the wall. The problem that I am running into is the plug that I have only has slots for three wires and no attachment for the ground. I just wanted to know if I need to get a different plug or am I missing something.

Answer

In the 90s they changed the 220 volt household outlet ground requirements so that there are four wires, adding a frame ground from appliance to service ground, you have three wires, in order to comply you have to run another wire from the service to outlet, but many are grandfathered, check with your local inspectors and make sure, but many times you can simply change out the plug end and use three wires, but check first so that insurance and all the bureaucracy is happy

Question

I bought a dryer recently that has a 10-30 plug with the L bend prong. However, the outlet on the wall is a 10-20, with three straight prongs. Can I simply replace the current 10-20 wall outlet with a 10-30 outlet or will I have to try something else?

Answer

The breaker has to be 30 amps, and the cord and outlet should be for 30 amps. So, you may need to replace the breaker too. It may be hard working with the wire if it is thick. However, if you have a 50 amp breaker, it would less be less likely to trip when you need it to.

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