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madmaxwell 03-23-2012 05:25 AM

Help rewiring 220V 3-prong outlet to 4-prong grounded outlet
 
Just moved into a new apartment, and found that all outlets in the unit are on a single 20A breaker. I will be getting a sizeable AC unit soon and I know I have enough other stuff that draws outlet power that I am going to end up tripping that 20A breaker frequently in the summer. So I looked around and turns out the electric range in the kitchen is on a 3-prong 220V outlet, wired to a two-pole 40A breaker in the panel. This is way more power than I will ever draw with the range, so it makes sense to me to try to get a 220v AC and run it on this line to alleviate the 20A breaker on the outlets.

But I did some research, and yes I know it is not safe to "split" a 3-prong outlet since there is no ground, so I'm wondering what's involved with converting the outlet itself into a 4-prong, grounded outlet, and then using a 4-prong to 3-prong splitter cable like this one: http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/p...09948312782216

Is it as simple as adding a ground and rewiring to a new 4-prong outlet? If so, can I ground the 4-prong outlet to the ground wire of a nearby 120v grounded outlet?

Other than the electricity problem the apartment is great! So I'm really hoping to do this the right(safe) way.

Thanks so much for any advice!
M

Edit: I turned off the breaker and unscrewed the 3-prong outlet to see the state of affairs there - turns out there is already a ground wire in the outlet box but it is of course not connected to anything. So if I switch this to a 4-prong outlet can I then split it safely?

rjniles 03-23-2012 05:34 AM

You should not be doing electrical work in rental property. Get the landlord to resolve electrical issues.
You cannot split and share a range circuit.

madmaxwell 03-23-2012 05:44 AM

Thanks for your reply. My landlord has been unresponsive to this issue - he owns several large buildings and seems to have a laizzez faire approach to repairs, in that nothing is fixed unless its truly broken, and in this case nothing is broken, just insufficient.

Could you elaborate as to why a range circuit cannot be shared?

Thank you!

k_buz 03-23-2012 05:45 AM

This is most definitely NOT the right way to do it.

1) Ranges are on 2P 40 Amp circuits for a reason...because the calculated load of said range calls for 40 Amps at 240 V.

2) The cord end of a 240V AC unit will be a MUCH different configuration than the ranges cord end. There is no way it would fit.

3) (I'm assuming here) The AC would be a distance away from the range you would have get (make) and extension cord just to plug it it. Now you have created a trip hazard.

4) You are jury rigging electric on someone else's property. I'm sure the owner and his insurance company wouldn't be very happy with that.

In your situation, I would contact the rental agency or landlord. Many apartments I have dealt with are done in pipe, so it may be possible to get a circuit from the panel to the general area of where you need it for the AC.

TarheelTerp 03-23-2012 05:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by madmaxwell (Post 883507)
My landlord has been unresponsive to this issue...

1) this is not a DIY issue and (fwiw) will likely crop up again in other aspects.
(be prepared to deal with this issue on it's own terms)
2) tenants are NEVER allowed to modify electrical systems.
(even tenants who know the what and how without asking)

Quote:

...nothing is fixed unless its truly broken,
and in this case nothing is broken, just insufficient.
Exactly correct.
Unless the lease prohibits the use of room air conditioners go ahead and get one (or two) of the correct size for your need
and then... if/when you do have a problem you contact the LL to remedy the PROBLEM.

Quote:

Could you elaborate as to why a range circuit cannot be shared?
It isn't a question of can (or not)... but HOW to do this correctly.
The wire you have feeding that outlet is insufficient.

k_buz 03-23-2012 05:57 AM

I'll add a 2b to my above post.

You won't find a 240V 40Amp window AC. Most residential central air units are rated 30 A 240 V and below. Putting any AC on a circuit it isn't rated for is illegal and dangerous. It becomes a fire hazard. If your new AC is rated for a 20 Amp circuit and you put it on a 40, you could have up to 40 A running thru wire rated for 20 A, melt the conductors and start a fire.

madmaxwell 03-23-2012 06:01 AM

Thanks for the advice, guys! Looks like this isn't the right way to go about it. I'll contact the landlord again and see if I can just get a new breaker installed and wired to a dedicated outlet for the A/C. Probably will make me pay for the work though :facepalm:

jbfan 03-23-2012 06:37 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by madmaxwell (Post 883513)
Thanks for the advice, guys! Looks like this isn't the right way to go about it. I'll contact the landlord again and see if I can just get a new breaker installed and wired to a dedicated outlet for the A/C. Probably will make me pay for the work though :facepalm:


Much better than being responsible for damage or death!


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