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Hi all, I just moved to a new house, and was going to hook up my 4 prong dryer when i realizes the new house had a 3 prong receptacle. So I popped off the receptacle cover to see if by some miracle it had a ground in it and I could switch out the 3 prong receptacle to a safer 4 prong. Well to my surprise it did have a ground, but, the ground was being used as the neutral as it was only 10/2 wire. My wife was nagging me to get the dryer working so I thought well they've used it like this for this long must be ok and ran to the store and bought a 3 prong dryer wire and gave my wife the reigns to the dryer. But I keep rethinking my decision and wonder if I should find a way to run new wire from the basement to the second floor laundry room, which would not be an easy task.

So my question... is my current wiring set up ok and shouldn't be a problem or should I change it out asap? I do not want to put my house or family in jeopordy and will chase the new wire if needed.

Also, since I did chage the dryer from a 4 prong to a 3 prong should have I bonded the dryer to neutral?

Thanks in advance for any help.
 

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Change the dryer cord to 3 wire and replace the bonding strap (which grounds the frame to the ground/neutral)

If you want to be current code compliant, run a new 4 wire circuit.
 

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The 10/2 was never complaint and never safe. This is a pretty common DIY mistake when running a dryer circuit.

The bare ground in NM cable is NEVER meant to carry current (ie: act as a neutral). Some will say this is a minor violation, I would not agree. It is as bad as any other time a ground carries current, which is BAD.

Nagging wife or not, I personally would NOT use the dryer this way. I would opt to run the proper "4-wire" (10/3) circuit. :thumbsup:
 

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It is as bad as any other time a ground carries current, which is BAD.
I agree but the NEC does allow the SE installations, which are bad.

His "10-2" could be SE.


OP...was the ground solid or stranded wire?
 

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You know very well that SEU and SER cable is not designated that way.
Ahhh..... but, as you pointed out, this is a DIY site....right?


Change out the circuit to 4 wire ASAP. Here is the danger. The motor runs on 120? so the ground/neutral carries about 5 amps back to the panel.

If you somehow lose this ground/neutral at the recep, the panel or on the power company side, the frame of the dryer will try to carry that current.

If you touch the dryer and the washer at the same time (while pushing the start button) you will get a very nasty surprise.

There is an outside chance it could happen.
 

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I'm kind of afraid to look in the receptacle and see what kind of wire I have in my dryer. So many bootleg wiring jobs have been done over the years, I'm just happy it is 10 gauge.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
It is a solid ground wire. I don't know what SE or SEU means but if my neutral and ground are not bonded on the dryer I wouldn't have to worry about touching the washer and dryer and lighting up like a light bulb would I? I guess I just need to know if it is safe or not, if it's not safe I will go through the work to change it out. It is a 10/2 romex so shouldn't the ground be sheilded good enough for that 5 volts it carries back?
 

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Oh, SE....service entrance cable....got it. Well like I said this is just romex but it's amazing how we learn new things. I think I better change it out...makes me wonder about the rest of the wiring in the house though I have found a couple hidden junctions already which I corrected. I also found out that they ran 12/3 for some electric rads in the basement that they tied some outlets and lights to, is that normal practice? I always thought the rads should be on their own circuit. Kind of jacked my own thread there didn't I?
 

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Yikes! I just did the same thing. Bought a new dryer, came with four-prong plug and I've got a three-prong outlet. House bulit in '72. I may NOT be able to run a new line to it so by moving my old 3-wire plug, what do I wire eliminate on the back of the dryer? what is "bonding" that you mention?
 

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It is a solid ground wire. I don't know what SE or SEU means but if my neutral and ground are not bonded on the dryer I wouldn't have to worry about touching the washer and dryer and lighting up like a light bulb would I? I guess I just need to know if it is safe or not, if it's not safe I will go through the work to change it out. It is a 10/2 romex so shouldn't the ground be sheilded good enough for that 5 volts it carries back?
If it is only a 3-wire circuit to a dryer the neutral must be bonded to the case. That is the whole point. The NEUTRAL also serves as the ground.

No, it is NOT carry only 5 volts. I have NO idea where you came up with that one. It carries 120v and several amps. That bare wire is now carrying the load of all the 120v items in the dryer.
The ground is not "shielded" at all. It is simply in the sheath with the insulated conductors.
 

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if my neutral and ground are not bonded on the dryer I wouldn't have to worry about touching the washer and dryer and lighting up like a light bulb would I?
There is a far greater chance of a fault to ground within the dryer. If that happens and it's ungrounded, you will light up.




Bought a new dryer, came with four-prong plug and I've got a three-prong outlet. House bulit in '72. I may NOT be able to run a new line to it so by moving my old 3-wire plug, what do I wire eliminate on the back of the dryer? what is "bonding" that you mention?
Open the jbox cover on the back of the dryer. The middle terminal should somehow connect to the metal frame of the dryer. There is some kind of bond strap or green jumper wire that is supposed to be disconnected in a 4 wire installation and connected in a 3 wire installation.
 
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