Using 10, 10-2, 10-3 Wire For Dryer (Explained With Example)

is 10, 10-2, 10-3 gauge wire enough for dryer

Dryers use too much power. The wrong wire size could lead to a fire, possibly even an explosion (in extreme cases). 10AWG seems sufficiently thick, but is this gauge suitable for dryers? The guide below will tell you.

Can I Use 10 Gauge Wire For A Dryer?

  • You can use 10-3 wires for a dryer that uses 30 amps or less. Otherwise, use a thicker gauge to accommodate heavier dryers.
  • You can use 10-3 wires for a dryer if the distance is less than 55 feet. Otherwise, use an 8-3 wire.

However, take the following factors into account before making your decision:

1). Overheating

First of all, you can use any gauge you want. Inspectors expect consumers to follow the NEC’s demands. However, you can probably get away with using any gauge that suits you in a residential setting.

But is it safe? Overheating is your biggest concern. If the wire is too small, the dryer will draw more power than the conductors can handle. Don’t be surprised if the heat melts the insulation and starts a fire. On the other hand, it is a waste of money to buy larger wire sizes than you need.

Don’t forget that the cost of a wire increases with the gauge. If the financial consideration doesn’t bother you, the installation challenges will give you pause. The thickest wires are also the stiffest. Find a gauge that fits the dryer’s demands to avoid these problems. Don’t burden your project with oversized or undersized wires.

2). NEC

You can’t perform a wiring project without consulting the NEC. The NEC regulates variables like wire and breaker size.

The NEC expects consumers to pair dryers with 30A circuits. If you have a 30A circuit, a 10-gauge wire is the best option.

3). Dryer Amps

A 10-gauge wire is only appropriate if your dryer runs on a 30A circuit. But for dryers with ratings as high as 50 amps, you can’t connect 10AWG cables. You must increase the gauge to match the electrical demands of the appliance. A 50A dryer will cause a 10-gauge conductor to overheat and melt.

What does this mean? 10AWG is only appropriate if your dryer uses 30 amps or less. Otherwise, use a thicker gauge to accommodate heavier dryers.

Is 10-2 The Same As 10-3? What Do Those Terms Mean For Dryer?


‘10’ is the gauge. It shows you the thickness of the cable. The second figure refers to the number of conductors in the line. For instance, ‘10-3’ associate with three conductors. That doesn’t include the ground.

A 10-3 line has two hot wires and a neutral wire. 10-2 has two wires and a ground.

Most electric dryers run on 220 – 240V systems. They use four-prong 220V outlets. Therefore, they require 10-3 cabling. Running a 30A dryer on 10 or 10-2 wires is discouraged.

Even though it can be done, the practice isn’t a good idea. People only use 10-2 to save money. There’s a reason why your dryer has a four-prong cord, whereas 10-2 works in three-prong receptacles.

Hunker has noticed that some manufacturers don’t include cords when they ship dryers because they know that most outlets in residential settings have three slots. They want consumers to install a cord that fits their outlet. But if you have the option, replace three-prong outlets with their four-prong counterparts before you buy the dryer.

You don’t want to use a dryer without the grounding. Grounding provides additional protection against surges, spikes, and short circuits.

How Do I Know What Gauge Wire Is Best For Dryer?

This decision is straightforward. The wire size is not determined by your contractor or even your budget. It depends entirely on the dryer rating. Some people base their wire size selection on the circuit size, but that is also wrong because the dryer rating shapes the circuit size.

If you choose the wrong circuit size, you may install a small cable that cannot withstand the electrical demands of the dryer. Your decisions should start with the dryer. How many amps does the machine use?

Check the label on the appliance. If you can’t find the label, look at the manual. It will show you the wattage. Use an online calculator to change the watts to amps. The circuit size should exceed the amp rating of the dryer. Once you’ve selected the appropriate circuit size, you can locate a matching wire size.

For instance, if the dryer requires 55 amps, select 6AWG wire. If the appliance can run on a 20A circuit, look for 12AWG.

How Do You Wire A Dryer With 10 3 Wire?

If you have three-prong outlets and your dryer came without a four-prong power cord, you can install a three-prong power cord. However, if you don’t trust three-prong outlets and you want the grounding protection of a four-prong plug, replace the three-prong receptacle with a four-prong outlet. The process involves the following:

1). Run a 10-3 cable from the electrical panel to the outlet box.

2). Replace the three-slot outlet with a 220V four-slot outlet.

3). Connect the bare wire to the ground screw.

4). Connect the white neutral wire to the silver terminal.

5). Connect the hot wires (red and black) to the hot terminals.

6). Push the outlet into the box and secure the screws.

Things To Consider Before Using 10, 10-2, 10-3 Gauge Wire With Dryer?

The Gauge Increases With The Distance

For instance, 10-3 can accommodate a conventional dryer in a residential setting. But jump to 8-3AWG once the distance exceeds 55 feet.

The distance affects the wire size because electricity encounters resistance when it flows through a conductor, and the resistance increases with the length. In other words, a 100ft conductor has more resistance than its 25ft counterpart.

As a result, that 100ft line is more like to overheat because cables with a higher resistance produce more heat. You prevent overheating by either reducing the distance or using a thicker gauge. Therefore, even though 10AWG can withstand 30 amps, a 30A dryer may require 8-3AWG if the distance is too long.

10AWG Copper And 10AWG Aluminum Are Not The Same

Many people don’t consider the material when selecting the wire size. This is a mistake because the material influences the amp rating. Copper is more conductive than aluminum. It carries more electricity.

10AWG copper and 10AWG aluminum are not the same. If you want to run a 30A dryer but can’t afford 10AWG copper, do not buy 10AWG aluminum as an alternative. Aim for 8AWG aluminum.

The NEC’s tables differentiate between the ampacities of copper and aluminum even when the wire size is the same. Copper’s superior conductivity doesn’t make it better. Aluminum appeals to many consumers because it is cheaper, lighter, and easier to install, especially for projects that require conduits.

Use Larger Wire If Dryer Ampacity Exceeds 30A

10, 10-2, and 10-3 wires are only suitable for dryers with ratings of 30A or less. If the dryer’s ampacity exceeds 30 amps, use a larger wire. On the other hand, if the dryer’s amp rating is lower than 30A, you can run the appliance on a 10AWG line.

Over-sizing the wires is safe. You can’t harm the dryer by using a thicker wire than the device requires.

Match The Wire Size To The Breaker Size

The breaker size is a vital consideration. The breaker trips when the dryer exceeds the wire’s amp rating. For instance, if your dryer uses 40 amps but you installed 10-3AWG wires, the 30A breaker will trip the moment you activate the dryer because 10-3AWG can only withstand 30 amps.

The breaker can’t allow these wires to transmit more than 30 amps because they will melt and ignite. But if you connect 10-gauge cables to a 40A breaker, the wires will overheat and ignite before the breaker trips. As such, you should match the wire size to the breaker size.

Use An Outlet Adapter

A dryer with four terminals can run on a three-prong outlet if you make modifications. Contractors connect three-prong cords to dryers with four terminals all the time. But this procedure may challenge a layperson because you need a bonding plate. It connects the ground and neutral terminals. A jumper wire can also work.

Some people replace their three-prong outlets with the four-prong option to accommodate the dryer. But if you have a three-prong cord and want to run the device on a four-prong receptacle, it is more convenient to rely on an outlet adapter.

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