Home Improvement Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for contractors and serious DIYers. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

After many pitfalls, I have gotten my new dryer working. It's a Kenmore 81182 electric dryer. (Manual from sears; Sears website). Very long story short, the neutral wire at the breaker box wasn't tight, at all, not in the least (how my previous dryer ran 10 years is a mystery).

Got that squared away, but I am wondering if the 30amp dryer should be on a dedicated 50amp breaker. I had it off for two days and noticed all other appliances working in the house (fridge, washer, dishwasher, oven, stove, central heat/air). The panel at the box is not labelled, but a nice little piece of cardboard inside the box labels the slot "dryer".

Shouldn't this appliance be a 30amp breaker? Or am I misreading "minimum circuit rating = 30amp"? Hope this question falls to DIY.SE.

share|improve this question
up vote 3 down vote accepted

Your question is a bit convoluted, but the answer is very simple. The breaker size must match or be lower than the wire amp rating feeding the circuit, and appliances on that circuit should not exceed the max rating of the wire or breaker. In a dedicated circuit for a dryer, for example, the normal size of the circuit would be 30 amps. 30 amps requires a minimum of #10 copper or #8 alu. With this wire size, the breaker must not be larger than 30 amps. Do not use a larger breaker then what the current rating of the wire is rated for.

share|improve this answer

The 50 amp refers to the capacity of the circuit: in particular the wires. The dryer can, and likely does, draw much less, similar to plugging a 60 watt light bulb into a socket rated for a 100 watt bulb. This itself is not a problem.

That said 30amp is more typical. If that circuit runs one 30 amp outlet (http://fam-oud.nl/~plugsocket/NorthAm-3hd.html ) then a 30 amp breaker is proper. While you can measure all the circuit elements starting with the wires to see if they match a 50 amp circuit, it's probably just easier to drop a 30 amp in there and be done with it. 30 amp is paired with #10 wire (complicated exceptions beyond the scope of this answer apply).

share|improve this answer
Receptacle(13 in your link) is 30amp with #10 wire. Plug(14 in your link) and wire came new with machine. Wiring was redone in the whole house circa 2005. – gm70560 Mar 27 '14 at 5:39
From what I can see you're better off with a 30 amp breaker. The NEMA 14-30R plug/socket you have is 30 amp and you want the weakest link in your circuit to be the breaker. – Bryce Mar 27 '14 at 6:19

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.