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I have read the original posts here, but just want to make sure I am correct. Just bought a new dryer (been using mother nature for the past year)

I have 50 amp (double pole) breakers in my service panel, labeled "Range Basement" (must have been a range in the basement at one point). It feeds roughly 25 feet of 6/3 wire, at the end is a 50 AMP 3 prong (all diagonal) range outlet.

I should probably change the breakers to 30 AMP (in case something goes wrong with the new drier), but here is where I am still a little confused. Do I replace (if I keep the 50 AMP breakers) the outlet with a new 50 AMP, or can I just go down and buy a new 50 AMP range power cord for the drier?

Its obvious that the dryer will never pull enough amps to trip the 50 AMP beakers, and there will never be a Range in my basement again.

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The dryer could pull 50 amps if it malfunctions or sustains damage. Use a breaker that's appropriate for the equipment.

Why would you change the cord and not the receptacle? It probably violates code to use a cord with the 50-amp configuration on a 30 amp circuit. Someone down the road could plug a range back in and have an overload situation.

Change the breaker and the receptacle.

  • Plugging a 50A appliance into a 50A outlet protected by a 30A breaker shouldn't cause an unsafe condition (assuming the wiring is rated for 50A) - the breaker may trip, but it won't risk a fire. The risk of just swapping out the breakers (or not) and putting a 50A cord on a (presumably) 30A dryer is that someone may plug that dryer into a 50A outlet, which could allow an overload and possible fire in the wiring inside the dryer that's not rated for 50A. If the dryer is rated for 30A, use 30A breakers and replace the outlet. – Johnny Dec 16 '15 at 20:57
  • I think we're in agreement. Perhaps your lengthy comment should be an alternative answer. :) – isherwood Dec 16 '15 at 21:09
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It sounds like you have a 50A circuit in good order. For 30A and 50A circuits, code absolutely requires that the breaker match the receptacle amperage (which is to say, the pattern of its pins).

I see 30A to 50A adapter cables are not sold, except for RVs and boats, which tells me code prohibits them for non-vehicles. Code is written in ash, so I would be reluctant to change that cord. Instead

  • leave the wire as it is (it will be oversize, but that is both allowed and good)
  • change to a 30A receptacle to match the dryer
  • change the breaker to 30A
  • If there's no ground, add one with same wire size (so you're good for 50A).

geeknote, for the gory details on making outlets match circuit sizes, see table 210.21(B)(3) here 30 amp dryer plug is hooked to a 40 amp double breaker, is this ok?

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