clothes dryer safety

Old 01-20-04, 08:40 PM
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clothes dryer safety

I just bought a new 220V clothes dryer with, of course, a 4-prong plug. My 1974 home has, of course, a 3-hole 220V dryer outlet. I understand that I can either replace the pigtail on the dryer with a 3-prong plug, or replace the outlet and wiring using 10-3 with ground to a 4-hole outlet. My question is, which course of action is advisable? Is the safety concern sufficient to warrant the rewire? (The 3-wire arrangement seemed to work fine for 30 years . . . no fires or electrocutions . . . but I really don't mind doing a rewire if it serves a worthwhile purpose . . .)
Old 01-20-04, 08:49 PM
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In most circumstances, it is not reasonably practical to replace the wiring all the way from the laundry area to the panel. But if you can do this, the result is preferable and provides a safer installation.
Old 01-21-04, 05:48 AM
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Before you decide you need to replace the wiring you need to check it. It is possible that there is a ground wire already there and you only need to change the receptacle.
Old 01-21-04, 08:58 AM
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If , at the recptacle outlet box you have 3 insulated Branch-Circuit condutors and 1 bare Equiptment Grounding Conductor, then connect a receptacle that is compatible with the 4-prong cord-plug. This presumes that the existing Wiring Method is Non-metallic cable.

If the existing Wiring Method is Armored Cable clamped/connected to a metal outlet-box, then the EGC is the cable armor.With this arrangment, you will connect a Bonding Jumper between the metallic surface of the box and the Grounding terminal on the 4-wire receptacle.

It's very unlikely that a Branch Circuit cable for an electric dryer that was install in 1974 needs to be replaced.

Good Luck and Enjoy the Experience!!!!!!!!!
Old 01-29-04, 03:18 PM
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Thank you all for the valuable feedback. The 30-amp dryer circuit turned out to be the only circuit in the home without a separate bare grounding wire, so I replaced the dryer pigtail with a three-prong plug. Evidently, in 1974 electricians didn't consider the possibility that dryers might one day benefit from a separate ground, or they were just trying to save a few pennies!

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