How to plug in a washer/dryer

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Old 06-21-18, 09:52 AM
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Question How to plug in a washer/dryer

Hi everyone - any help would be much appreciated. I have a feeling this is an easy one, but I wanted to double check first.

A friend of mine wants to purchase and install a second-hand stackable washer/dryer in her apartment. There is a spot in the apartment for a washer/dryer, but there currently is no unit. Below is a picture of the electrical outlet, as well as a picture of the cord on the washer/dryer. My assumption is that the outlet and the washer are both 220v, but the outlet type and the plug's cords just don't match up.

1. Is this a lost cause, or is it as simple as using an adapter or replacing the power cord on the washer with a different type wire from Home Depot? (If so, could you give me a link? I can't find any.)

2. The washer/dryer also says 120/240v, 21A 60Hz, 3 or 4 wire connection. Does that mean we have to ensure the new wire and that outlet's circuit are capable of 21A?

Thanks!
 
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Old 06-21-18, 10:07 AM
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The unit will have to be rewired with a 3-prong plug and cord set and the ground wire in the unit moved to the neutral terminal in the manner specified in the units manual.

Receptacle shown should be on a 30 amp breaker.
 
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Old 06-21-18, 10:14 AM
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Yes. There are adapters out there that can convert your NEMA 14-30P male plug to a NEMA 10-30R female connector. I am not sure if this site allows links to be shared (could be marked as spam for advertising), but if you go to Home Depot and search 305439341 , that should give you what you are looking for.

home depot/AC-WORKS-1-5-ft-3-Prong-30-Amp-Dryer-Plug-to-4-Prong-Dryer-Adapter
 

Last edited by PJmax; 06-21-18 at 10:26 AM. Reason: added link
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Old 06-21-18, 10:27 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

Links to known retailers is ok.
That adapter is one way to handle the situation but it's messy looking and expensive.
 
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Old 06-21-18, 10:31 AM
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There are adapters out there that...
Second number didn't work but the first number sure doesn't look code and wouldn't work the way shown. They show it plugged into 120 volt receptacle and a jury-rigged ground. For $85 they a ought to be arrested for grand theft. The correct cord costs less than $20. Example: https://www.homedepot.com/p/HDX-6-ft...-833/100672782
 
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Old 06-21-18, 10:38 AM
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My mistake. Thank you for the information. Learn something new each day.
 
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Old 06-21-18, 11:09 AM
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1. Wow, thanks everyone. Ray, when you mentioned in your original post "The unit will have to be rewired with a 3-prong plug and cord set and the ground wire in the unit moved to the neutral terminal in the manner specified in the units manual.", were you referring to page 9 of the manual (manual screenshot is below).

2. How do I know if the breaker is 30 amps? Below is a picture of it, but i can't tell because there's no number like "20" on some of the other breakers. You'll see it says "10, Ka, lc".



Here's a link to the manual too:
https://www.searspartsdirect.com/par...l-parts-manual
 
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Old 06-21-18, 12:55 PM
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Yes, those are the instructions. Be sure D is connected to the frame.

The amps should be on the end of the breaker handle but I'm not seeing it. Wait for the pros maybe they will know.
 
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Old 06-21-18, 02:22 PM
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Originally Posted by John Palatzo
A friend of mine wants to purchase and install a second-hand stackable washer/dryer in her apartment.
Um, before down-grading the washer-dryer to 3 prongs, I'd ask the landlord/landlady if there was any chance of upgrading the outlet to 4 prongs.

I've seen a few situations (additions to a home, or rewiring) where the contractor runs 4 wires to a dryer outlet, but installs a 3 prong plug so the owner can continue using the existing dryer.
Makes sense, no contractor wants to replace the cord on a 10 year old, out-of-warranty dryer, and then hear all about it when the dryer finally fails.

Since the outlet is the owner's s responsibility, I'd ask them about an upgrade first.
 
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Old 06-21-18, 02:56 PM
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Thanks Hal_S. So do you think there are actually four wires going to that outlet and it would be an easy upgrade to the 4-port outlet (just replacing omen outlet for another)? Or do you mean a new wire would have to be run from the breaker to the outlet? I get the impression her landlord sucks so if we wanted to go this route weíd probably just need his permission but I doubt heíd do it himself.
 
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Old 06-21-18, 03:16 PM
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The wiring would need to be checked to see if a 4 prong can be installed.
 
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Old 06-21-18, 04:14 PM
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I'm going to go out on a limb here and say there is no more than a 50-50 chance of their being an equipment grounding conductor in that cable from the CB panel to the receptacle.

I bought a four-conductor receptacle and cord for my dryer several years ago but because I have a European made machine it does NOT use dual voltage but only 240 volts. that made my three-wire connection inherently safe so I was never in a hurry to make the cord and receptacle change. This January I needed to change the dryer belt and figured this was as good a time as any to make the electrical change. I turned off the circuit breaker and opened the receptacle box.

Horrors! There was no bare equipment grounding conductor, just red, white and black insulated conductors. I have been in the CB panels numerous times over the years and I was sure that the cable had an equipment ground at that end. Then I learned (from this forum) that during the time my house was built it was common to install type NM cables for dryer connections that did NOT have the bare equipment grounding conductor.
 
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Old 06-21-18, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by John Palatzo
do you think there are actually four wires going to that outlet and it would be an easy upgrade to the 4-port outlet (just replacing omen outlet for another)?
Or do you mean a new wire would have to be run from the breaker to the outlet?
For #1, you just turn off the breaker to the dryer, unscrew the cover, and count if there are 4 wires in the receptacle.

For #2, that entirely depends on what type of apartment building it is.
A 4-20 unit building, they're not going to upgrade just 1 apartment.
If it's smaller place, and a first floor apartment, then the landlord might do it, just remind him that (A) he can write it off or use it for depreciation to reduce his taxes next year, and (B) new dryers all have the 4 prong plug anyway, so he's going to end up replacing the outlet at some point.
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 06-21-18 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 06-22-18, 08:42 AM
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Thanks Hal.

So does anyone know how to check how many amps a particular breaker is rated for? There's nothing written on that breaker except for "10, Ka, lc". There's no number like "20" on some of the other breakers.
 
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Old 06-22-18, 10:47 AM
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Ground loop current

Originally Posted by John Palatzo
So does anyone know how to check how many amps a particular breaker is rated for? There's nothing written on that breaker except for "10, Ka, lc".
The standard 3 prong dryer outlet is a "NEMA 10-30" which is supposed / required to be on a 30 amp breaker providing 240 volts.

The nice way to raise the issue with the landlord is for the tenant to to just ask,
in an email or text, whether the existing dryer outlet is wired with the correct amperage breaker and correct sized wires.

Point being, you'll probably get a better response with
"Hi, Mr. LL, this is your tenant, I sunk a fair amount of money into a new code-compliant washer -dryer; I just wanted to ask you to confirm that the old wiring was done correctly before I connect something expensive to it. I ask because the old dryer wiring doesn't have a ground, but this is a combo dryer and washing machine, since water is involved, I want to make sure nobody gets shocked"...

than by asking
"can you tell me about the wiring in the apartment"

See, the old 3 prong outlet is (supposed to be) wired with 2 hot, 1 neutral.
There is no ground for safety. The shock protection is provided by connecting to the neutral wire.

Any of the experts here can probably elaborate why that could be bad once water is involved.

So, there might be an issue if you have metal water pipes; that's because in my experience many apartments end up with electrical grounds connected to metal water pipes.
If you connect the washer with the usual metal-sheathed hot-cold water hoses,
you now have the frame of the washer-drywer connected to the neutral wire through the plug, and the frame possibly connected to a slightly different "ground wire" through the plumbing system.

Now, if there is a ground loop current, It's not going to be Back-to-the-Future-Lightning-Knocking-Doc-Brown-off-the-Clock-Tower sparks, but if the building wiring is wrong enough, you might have some current.

Probably won't kill your friend washer-dryer, but might accelleate rusting and pin-holes in the landlord's piping if it's a mix of copper and iron.
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 06-22-18 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 06-22-18, 05:57 PM
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After some careful inspection, and removal of much dust from the breaker, we actually found a "30" on the breaker. So yay, it's 30 amps. I also opened up the outlet and found that it was just a 3-wire outlet. Boo.
 
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Old 06-23-18, 05:17 AM
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Since the washer dryer rating is for either 3 or 4 wire connection you have the choice of substituting a 3 wire cord such as the one pictured above given that the receptacle is already for a 3 wire circuit. You just verified the circuit already has a high enough amperes rating (30 amps) and I say it is safe to assume it is grandfathered. Save the old cord and plug,; tape over all metal exposed parts and secure it inside the washer dryer cabinet near where the new cord is connected.

Are there any known grounds in your apartment? Might be radiator or might be the screw holding the cover plate on a receptacle. If it makes you more comfortable you may connect a long single conductor say 12 or 14 gauge wire to the frame of the washer dryer and connect the far end to a known ground, Same method used to reduce hum and noise problems in audio or stereo or video equipment.

Slightly different grounds are allowed but will not properly ground receptacles unless the separately run equipment grounding conductor is bonded to the building grounding electrode system (e.g. to the fat wire going to a ground rod) or to the ground bus bar in the panel with the breaker for the subject branch circuit or to the EGC of an up to date grounded branch circuit of at least the same amperage.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 06-23-18 at 05:40 AM.
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Old 06-23-18, 06:33 AM
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Originally Posted by John Palatzo
it's 30 amps. ... just a 3-wire outlet.
Ah well, worth checking. Looks like you'll have to swap cords.

Quick clarification- are these two separate stackable units, or an single-unit washer/dryer?

Originally Posted by Allanj
Slightly different grounds are allowed
I never thought about it before, but 3 prong ungrounded dryers are generally located next to washers and necessarily wet locations,

Considering you still get shocked by touching a live netural;
does anybody know what's the logic of having the 3rd dryer prong as neutral rather than ground?
 
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Old 06-23-18, 06:49 AM
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what's the logic of having the 3rd dryer prong as neutral rather than ground
Most components of a dryer are a 120v. The 240 is only for the heating elements. (Most gas dryers are identical to a electric dryer, only the heat source is different.) Technically it is a combined neutral/ground. Some say to save copper for the war effort way back when.
 
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Old 06-23-18, 07:34 AM
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Quick clarification- are these two separate stackable units, or an single-unit washer/dryer
So Iím on an iPhone using Safari and I canít figure out how to quote your question or insert a picture lol. Anywho, if looks like this...

https://www.google.com/search?biw=32...7iM0NGM:&isa=y
 
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Old 06-23-18, 09:29 AM
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I'd definitely stay away from the adapter. In fact, I have never seen an adapter like that before. I find it interesting that it has, "No Certifications or Listings." That alone tells me it's not a good or safe thing to use and am surprised Home Depot sells them.
 
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Old 06-23-18, 09:48 AM
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Then I learned (from this forum) that during the time my house was built it was common to install type NM cables for dryer connections that did NOT have the bare equipment grounding conductor.

That's right. Up into the early '80s most NM cable could be bought either with or without a grounding conductor. 10-3 plain was commonly used for dryers and 8-3 plain was commonly used for range circuits. After all, back then why would a contractor want to pay the extra dollars for a conductor that wasn't required by code? I also find it interesting that back then one could even buy 14-2 plain, 14-3 plain, 12-2 plain and 12-3 plain. If you wanted the grounding conductor it was important to always specify "With Ground".
 
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Old 06-30-18, 01:45 PM
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So after all this research, the seller is acting shady, so we were looking at a different washer/dryer combo. This one has a normal (typical) plug and says 120volts, 12 Amps, 60 Hz, 3-Wire connection.

So, keeping in mind what the current 3-wire outlet looks like (see the original post for a picture), which is 30 amps, can I just switch that outlet to a basic outlet and plug it in? Or is it not that simple?

thanks again!
 
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Old 06-30-18, 03:24 PM
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A 120 volt dryer would take a very long time to dry clothes. Are you sure the dryer isn't 240 volts.

can I just switch that outlet to a basic outlet and plug it in? Or is it not that simple?
Only the landlord can make changes and I doubt (s)he would be willing.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 06-30-18 at 10:30 PM.
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Old 06-30-18, 03:48 PM
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As far as I can tell, thatís what the sticker label says. Hereís a pic of the label.



If we ask the landlord and and heís fine with us making the switch to a normal outlet, is it just that simple as switching it to a normal outlet? Or are they not swappable like that?
 
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Old 06-30-18, 07:35 PM
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I have never seen a 120V loadcenter (stack washer dryer), yet the picture you posted shows 120V 12A. Are you use this is a loadcenter? Not just a dryer or just a washer?

In this case, you would need a regular 120V receptacle. Since you have 3 prong, chances are you have 8 AWG SER cable, which is usually aluminum wire. You won't be able to directly connect wires from this cable to a 120V receptacle. You will have to use dual rated (for aluminum and copper) split bolt to pigtail a smaller copper wire and insulate or use polaris connector. You will also have to change the breaker to 120V single pole and rewire the connections.

In my opinion, this is too much work to downgrade to 120V. Breakers for the push-o-matic penal you have has been discontinued and compatible or old new stock ones are expensive. Even used ones are expensive.
Just get the 120/240V model.
 
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Old 07-01-18, 02:03 AM
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Yep. Itís a washer/dryer combo. Hereís the manual and image:

https://www.searspartsdirect.com/mod...m=110.81422510

From what I can tell, the house wiring appears to be copper. Here a pic of the outlet with the cover off. And now that Iíve posted that picture I realize you were talking about the units wiring and not the houseís wiring lol.
 
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Old 07-01-18, 02:31 AM
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Some use 120 volts only and some are 240. See: https://usermanual.wiki/Kenmore/1108...4168675297/amp

I'm skeptical of how well a 120 volt dryer will work. Seems to me it would taken a lot longer to dry.

Re the receptacle: The bad news is it was never code. The good news is it could be converted to 120 volts. The bad news is this is an apartment and for reasons of liability you can't touch the wiring. The building owner can but I doubt they will.

The 240 volt (actually 120/240) versions of what you are looking at are probably best.
 

Last edited by ray2047; 07-01-18 at 04:15 AM.
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Old 07-01-18, 10:04 AM
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Thanks Ray, I appreciate the help. Why do you say the current outlet is not code? Not disagreeing, just donít understand.
 
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Old 07-01-18, 10:15 AM
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And now that Iíve posted that picture
A picture is worth a thousand words.


The bad news is it was never code.
Ray is right, that receptacle is using a bare grounding conductor and a current carrying neutral, a blatant code violation. No way this could have been installed with a permit and proper inspection. That would make me wonder about the rest of the apartment.
 
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Old 07-01-18, 11:46 AM
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Well, looks like you're no long in the asking situation of

"Hi, Mr. LL, this is your tenant, I sunk a fair amount of money into a new code-compliant washer -dryer;
I just wanted to ask you to confirm that the old wiring was done correctly before I connect something expensive to it.
I ask because the old dryer wiring doesn't have a ground, but this is a combo dryer and washing machine, since water is involved, I want to make sure nobody gets shocked"...
You're now in the situation of

"can you tell me about the wiring in the apartment"
because the wiring is wrong,



Basic 2 prong plugs are 2 wires, black (hot) & white (neutral / return)
Common 3 prong plugs are black, white, copper (ground)
Clothes dryers are supposed to have 4 wires, which are red (hot#2) , black, white, copper.
Old dryer plugs are red, black, white.

Here's a really simple way to think about wiring.
2 wire 120v electric cricuits are like a school water fountain - you have cold water in, and a sink drain out.

An electric ground is the logical equivalent of a floor drain, it makes sure that if there is any overflow it does not build up or flow anywhere else.

3 wire 120v electric circuits are like the bathroom plumbing for a urinal. You have cold water in, a drain out, AND an emergency overflow floor drain.

3 wire dryer plugs are roughly analagous to a sink in a residential kitchen; hot water in, cold water in , one drain out. Many sinks have a kludge fix for overflow protection, a hole at the top of the sink so that emergency overflow goes down the drain line; it's not as good as a dedicated overflow drain in the floor, but it's better than nothing. That's how YOUR 3 prong outlet is supposed to be wired.

4 wire electric is analagous to a sink in a school bathroom; hot water in, cold water in, a sink drain out, AND an emergency overflow drain in the floor.


What you have at that outlet is a bit of a frankenstein sink setup.
Only 1 connection is correct.
Cold water coming in on the cold water line -good
Hot water routed in backwards through the wrong line - bad
(like haveing your hot water coming to your kitchen sink routed through a garden hose.
Can't tell where the "drain" is connected to neutral or ground - bad
(like having your sink drain routed through a garden hose that disappears into the floor...)
 

Last edited by Hal_S; 07-01-18 at 12:37 PM.
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Old 07-01-18, 12:02 PM
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Thanks...that was a good explanation.

So if we go back to the original washer/dryer type, with the 4-prong plug (which weíll replace with the 3-prong plug from Home Depot listed earlier), then are we still ok to use that existing outlet the way that itís wired?

Thx again for the help guys...really appreciate it.
 
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Old 07-01-18, 12:11 PM
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There should not be neutral current on the bare conductor. The existing receptacle needs to be rewired.
 
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Old 07-01-18, 12:11 PM
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which we’ll replace with the 3-prong plug from Home Depot listed earlier), then are we still ok to use that existing outlet the way that it’s wired?
It will work but it would be safest if the landlord brought it up to code. That means running a 10-3 NM-b cable to replace the existing cable which was never code. Where is your breaker panel in reference to the laundry nook?
 
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Old 07-01-18, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by John Palatzo
So if we go back to the original washer/dryer type, with the 4-prong plug (which we’ll replace with the 3-prong plug from Home Depot listed earlier), then are we still ok to use that existing outlet the way that it’s wired?
Nope.

It probably won't blow up the new washer/dryer, but I'll say no, this is a landlord fix.
The Landlord has a building with a high voltage, high current outlet that is wired wrong in several different ways.

Any one thing would not Individually be a concern, but considered together, and considering that there are other units which may be wired wrong (if they're all wired wrong in the same way it's "less bad" but if they're wired wrong in different ways then it's "more bad" to the point of not being acceptable.


The dryer wiring is using the wrong type of cable.
The dryer wires have the wrong color coding.
The dryer wires might be undersized,
The dryer safety wire might be connected to the "give you a shock" terminal instead of the "protects you from shock" terminal.
If the dryer in one apartment is connected to the "give you a shock" terminal, and another dryer is wired correctly, then the ground wire, the "protect my electronics wire" may end up being a "fry my electronics wire" instead.
 
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Old 07-01-18, 12:45 PM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
It will work but it would be safest if the landlord brought it up to code. That means running a 10-3 NM-b cable to replace the existing cable which was never code. Where is your breaker panel in reference to the laundry nook?
The panel is very close to the closet for the washer/dryer. The panel is on the wall in the hall, and the closet is smack next to it.
 
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Old 07-01-18, 01:16 PM
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If the landlord is unwilling you might consider hiring an electrician to run a new cable and 4-prong receptacle. It could run using wore mold on the wall surface. The old receptacle disconnected and abandoned. If the existing breaker is 30a it could be used for the new receptacle.

If you can post a picture showing the panel and the laundry nook we might be able to come up with a better idea.
 
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Old 07-02-18, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
If the landlord is unwilling you might consider hiring an electrician to run a new cable and 4-prong receptacle. It could run using wore mold on the wall surface. The old receptacle disconnected and abandoned. If the existing breaker is 30a it could be used for the new receptacle.

If you can post a picture showing the panel and the laundry nook we might be able to come up with a better idea.
Hiring an electrician is a possibility. Looks like I have two options, neither or which includes re-using the existing outlet.

OPTION #1: Buy the original washer/dryer (in the original post) which uses 240 volts. I would imagine my tasks (or an electrician's) in this case would be to:
  1. Replace the outlet with a 4-prong outlet
  2. Use the existing 4-wire plug on the washer/dryer
  3. Run new/correct wiring from the outlet to the breaker
  4. I'm assuming I can use the same breaker, though

OPTION #2: Buy the second washer/dryer that is 120v and has a 3-prong plug. I would imagine my tasks (or an electrician's) in this case would be to
  1. Replace the existing outlet with a normal 3-prong outlet
  2. Replace the existing wiring from the outlet to the breaker
  3. Replace the 30a breaker for a different one. I'm not sure if 2 and 3 are correct.

Here are two pictures of the closet and the panel next to it. I have no problems running wires through walls or up into the ceiling/attic and down to the panel. That stuff is easy to me :-) It's hooking up to the electrical panel that I've never done before.
 
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Old 07-02-18, 09:52 AM
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Looking at you fourth post my reaction is OMG, that was not done by an electrician might be considered a code violation by an inspector because usually you can't just run cable unprotected across a wall.

#1 is the only logical option. Either way the wiring needs to be changed but I doubt you would be satisfied with the speed of the dryer.

You picture if Im following should make using Wiremold to the dryer with out going up in the ceiling, just go waist high into the closet wall. Your cord should reach to the side wall but check..
 
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Last edited by ray2047; 07-02-18 at 10:11 AM.
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Old 07-02-18, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by ray2047 View Post
#1 is the only logical option. Either way the wiring needs to be changed but I doubt you would be satisfied with the speed of the dryer.
OMG is right lol.

1. The reason you don't like option #2 is because it's a 120 volt dryer, right?

2. Can you show me what you think the new wiring should look like if I use OPTION #1?
 
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