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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.

  • There is a lot of bad info out there. Code is very specific on the outlet rating. Table 210.21.b.2 states a 30 amp circuit can have a 30 amp receptacle with the max load of 24 amps. Table 210.21,b,3 also shows 30 amp circuit rating with a 30 amp receptacle, you can use larger wire but a 30 amp receptacle cannot have a smaller or larger breaker than 30 amp by code. There are exceptions but they don't apply to a dryer. – Ed Beal Jan 15 at 23:10
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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.

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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).

  • 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
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    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
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The 50amp will not kick as easy as the 30amp. So as long as your dryer is perfect you'll be ok but you can be in real trouble if it over heats or something goes wrong.

  • Without knowing the wire gauge this could be a dangerous answer. – Ed Beal Sep 9 '17 at 15:16
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In reply to: "but I am wondering if the 30amp dryer should be on a dedicated 50amp breaker."

Your question may have been better worded as: "but I am wondering if the 30 amp dryer should be on a dedicated 6 gauge copper wire circuit with a 50amp breaker."

The first duty of a breaker is to protect the wiring and in your case it sounds as though you have a 10 gauge copper wire circuit which normally requires a 30 amp breaker or less (the breaker amps can be smaller but normally not larger than the amps the wiring will carry). The appliance is a secondary consideration because if it draws more than the circuit will carry then all that should happen is the breaker trips and no fire.

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You can use the 50 Amp breaker if you use a sub panel. In the second or sub panel the 50 maps can feed 1 30 amp and 1 20 amp breaker. This will power both the washer and dryer from the sub panel. Just be sure the ground in the sub panel is NOT connected to the white neutral bar. Ground needs a clear path back to the main panel as well as neutral(white).

  • Where did you come up with a sub panel?- – Ed Beal Jan 15 at 23:06

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