Range outlet for Dryer??

cassie22September 6, 2010

Hi all!

My husband and I recently moved into an older rental home and the "dryer" outlet is really for a range. It is the old 3-prong style and the 3rd prong is straight, not the "L" shape of the dryer plugs. This is what has always been used as the dryer outlet, apparently with no problems.

I looked into this and am getting conflicting info from the web. I know NOTHING about electricity. From what I gather, it MAY be okay if we hook a range cord up to the dryer, but only if the fuse is rated for 30 amps and not 50. If it is rated for 50, then more damage/possibility of fire etc. could happen if something happens. Is this correct?

I know technically the outlet should be changed to a 4-prong. Even if we do have this done, will the wire going to the outlet need changed? I don't like the setup we have....the wire is just coming up from the floor and the outlet is "loose", not mounted on the wall. I was reading about #10 wire and grounding etc and my mind is tired!

Our landlord's cousin, who is our "go-to" person, has electrical experience, but I don't know how long ago or how much.....does anyone here know the "proper" way of doing this? Want to know what I'm talking about before I go to them. I am afraid of electrical fires/issues and don't want anything done incorrectly, and am not sure if he has done any work since the newer codes came into place etc.

Thanks SO much for any help!

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A 30 amp dryer couldn't be run on a 220v circuit designed for 20 amps as the wire to the outlet would be too small to handle the dryer's load. The range circuit has heavier wire to handle a 50 amp draw, which of course can handle the lower 30 amp dryer perfectly fine. However, as you researched, the fuse/breaker on the circuit must be changed to 30 amp. A 50 amp breaker/fuse would allow too much current to flow before it tripped if a problem developed with the dryer.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 8:03PM
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What size is the breaker/fuse now? If it is too big (and I doubt it) it can be changed easily. I'm assuming that even though this may be a 'range' outlet, it was not originally intended for a range to be in the middle of the floor.

Just because someone used the wrong/different box doesn't mean that dryer won't work. My dryer outlet is 3-prong since the house is 40 years old. It's fine.

I suggest that someone attach the outlet/box to something more secure.

BTW: this is a rental house. I don't think you should make electrical changes to the house without the landlord's permission.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 10:08PM
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Not sure what fuse it is on....nothing is labeled. Will be looking into that.

This has been used as a dryer outlet for a very long time would be my guess. It is a rental right now, was a family's home in the not so distant past. I know the previous tenants used it for their dryer, and we had ours hooked up for the past month with no issues.... something came up which caused me to start looking into it just to be sure it was safe. It is in a utility room....they would have never had a range in there!

While the dryer will work, I'm wondering if it could get damaged if something happened (not sure what, know nothing electrical related!) or if it could cause a fire etc.

Yes, my outlet is 3 prong, the "old" style, but it is also a 3-prong RANGE outlet designed for 50 amps, not a 3-prong dryer outlet rated at 30 amps. Just making sure I won't hurt the house or the dryer using it as is as long as it is on a 30 amp fuse.


    Bookmark   September 7, 2010 at 11:58AM
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We had the same issue when we bought our new electric dryer. The installers told us to just go buy a range cord and they'd be happy to come back and install it, but our Bosch manual said not to use over 30 amps.

We decided to have an electrician come out and check everything out. In our case, the wiring and circuit were fine; we just needed a new plug. He was in and out in under an hour.

We own our home, but even if we were renting, I'd do the same thing: hire an electrician. I have a healthy respect for the ability of faulty wiring to burn down your house. At expensive Bay Area rates, the bill was $177 for parts and labor-but it was well worth it for the peace of mind to know that our basement won't catch on fire some night.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 12:48PM
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Marie Louise,

Thanks for the advice. Yes, I'm pretty terrified of electric. I've been on some electrical forums getting some advice and sent over pictures of the fuse box etc.....they scared me even more telling me all that looks like it may be wrong with it. Eeek! I can't do much about that, but I can at least make sure it is only hooked up to 30 amps of power so, like you said, the house doesn't burn down.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 11:37PM
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