Dryer Wire Size-What Do I Need To Run

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Have you just purchased a new dryer and wondering the dryer wire size it needs to have? Take it from the electricians who know.

As a general rule nearly all residential dryers need a 120/240 volt 30 amp power feed on a 30 amp breaker from your electric panel. The dryer consumes 24 amps of the 30 amp circuit. One would need to run a minimum of 10 gauge 3 conductor with ground nmd90 or romex also referred to in the trade as 10/3.

In some cases different types of wire other than listed above may need to be run so read on.

1.Dryer wire size

Standard 30 amp electrical outlet have a three pole 4 wire grounding system. This system requires two center two pole to three pole combinations for each service outlet, 30 amp and 120/240. This is know as a single phase 120/240 volt outlet or 120/240, the 4 pole socket must match the appropriate colors.

The wire must be 10/3 nmd90 type, romex or armored cable for the approximate installation type .

This wire has 3 insulated conductors with bare copper ground. So you do not count the ground in the number of wires in the cable.

2. Is 10/3 wire heavy enough for a dryer?

That depends on many factors. If you have low-end quality dryers then 12 gauge is adequate. If your dryer has a large heating element then 12 gauge is not sufficient. 12 gauge would not keep the wiring cool and most likely trip the breaker.

Always be aware of the limitations of your dryer. The value of 12 gauge does not come for the 12 gauge. I’m sure your electrician has told you that this is how you are going to run your dryer.

12 Gauge vs 10 Gauge:

The 10 gauge wire is just about the same as 12 gauge wire. Although the volts and amps may not be identical the distance between the terminals is the same. The major difference is that it is the amps are higher as the 10 gauge 3 conductor. With the higher voltage potential of the 10 gauge there is more chance that the wire can handle more amps for a larger dryer.

3.What size wire do I need for a 30 amp dryer?

While there are numerous types of dryer wire available there are just a few standards for commercial and residential lines. These measurements all work the same. They take into account the characteristics of the wire such as conductivity, magnetic impurities and moisture resistance. These characteristics allow a dryer wire to last. For example, 10 gauge 3 conductor rated for 120/240 volt power is great for providing 10 gauge wire to a commercial setting, or residential.

For the residential user you want the lightest gauge of 30 amp dryer wire available. 10 gauge 120/240 volt 3 conductor rated for 30 amp is your best choice.

4.Can you splice 10/3 wire together?

Yes you can, but it’s not easy. You would need about 15 feet or less of 10 gauge wire in order to splice three together. A splice joint would be needed along with a junction box and cover. This can result in loose connections over time so it is better to run a continuous piece of wire. As the name would imply, that’s not a cheap splice.

Dryer owners have debated this issue for years. I’m sticking to my original opinion that 12 gauge should not be used in a residential home for a dryer. In fact, I don’t think it’s safe. All appliances that use 12 gauge should be restricted to specific class of dryers such as on-the-go type dryers and rapid dry dryers. Both of which I think would require a fuses or relay to get them started. A fuses is something we would use if it’s absolutely necessary.

5.What size breaker do you need for a stackable washer and dryer?

The only single phase 30 amp breakers of larger are used in all dryer applications. This breaker allows for a 30 amp supply to come off the circuit so when the breaker is closed the dryer can operate at 24 amps while the washer operates at 3 amps. It is critical that you select a unit that is made to perform the required task. We highly recommend the NMD or Romex 10/3. This is the most common type of electrical wire in the United States and Canada.

In some instances, a single phase electric dryer is required to operate on 240 volts because the appliances draw a maximum of 24 amps and the breaker can only handle a 30 amp maximum. Some dryers are rated at 24 amps and do require a single phase breaker.

6.What is a 10/3 wire?

Typically it has 3 strands of copper wire twisted together with a 4th wire as twisted ground.

In the old days it was common for the consumers to connect to the main line to your power company on a short length of copper wire. Lfw stands for low voltage heavy wire. This short piece of wire will have a transformer in the middle of it to eliminate power problems and ripple from the electrical system.

One day you will see the same copper wire also referred to as 10/3 wire in large size appliances such as washers and dryers, blenders, refrigerators, stoves, etc. These large appliances require a larger section and often times in addition to a ground nmd90, a 30 amp power feed also needs to be run to a 15 amp, 20 amp or 30 amp breaker to the appliance.

7.Can you use a 3 wire on a 4 wire dryer?

Actually that is what we were referring to above. Yes a normal residential or light commercial dryer required a 4 wire crt. This consists of a white neutral wire, two hot wires and a bare ground. Be careful when purchasing the wire. If you ask for Romex or NMD type you will need to ask for 10/3. If you ask for flexible wire like sow type then you will need to ask for 10/4 as they do not count the additional wire.

However we do not recommend using sow flexible cord to wire a dryer.

8.Can I use 8 gauge wire on a 30 amp breaker?

Yes, you will be able to run that low gauge wire in a 30 amp circuit on a 30 amp breaker. A 8 gauge 3 conductor is rated for 40 amps so you are good.

What if I run 6 gauge wire, what does that mean?

A 6 gauge wire will run on a 30 amp circuit on a 30 amp breaker. 6 gauge wires are good for a 60 amp circuit. Using 6 gauge will waste a 30 amp breaker on a residential dryer wire size however because it costs much more.

Do you need special feeder box or wire?

Yes, and that is what is great about this problem. Most consumer dryer circuits do need a special box. Make sure the wires get connected in the same box as your standard dryer wires. Do not connect your 120/240 volt wires to the dryer wire feeder on the circuit board, as the light will not be available. It needs to go on the breaker panel. With use of a minimum of a 4 inch square style box.

9.Can you put a washer and dryer on the same circuit?

Yes. In fact, more people are putting washers on the same circuit as their dryers. If you are very careful you can use different outlet and wiring options to avoid any hazardous situations. Usually, using the same line for your washer and dryer will be permissible. The two outlets (male/female) can be side by side or along a common wall.

If you have two separate circuits to connect both werehers and dryers to an existing 2 circuit circuit power feed it is also possible to use two separate breakers. The first one will be for the dryer and the second for the washer. The purpose of the second breaker is to keep the electricity flowing in the dryer if the power goes out in the house.

10.Can I install an electric dryer myself?

One can buy a 10 gauge 3 conductor 10/3 ground nmd90 coil and would only require a few well placed studs, a couple of wall anchors and a 10 amp circuit breaker. One would also need to have knowledge of how tie the power into the electrical panel and you may need to remove dryer appliances to allow adequate room for running the wet/dryer inside the garage/ house. You can certainly purchase one online.

One can definitely install the dryer and hook up the venting but we do not recommend to do the wiring yourself. You should always consult in your local licensed electrician for that especially to make sure they run the correct dryer wire size.