Replacing existing receptacle box

We just received a new stackable washer and dryer. I wanted to use a 4 prong plug and the installer installed a 4 prong pigtail in the dryer. I then bought a new receptacle which I found is 2 1/4" wide to fit in a 2" wide box. Is there a more narrow receptacle available? Or what is an easy way to remove the existing box? It is plastic. I have a blue old work box with the fold out tabs but I think it would be too flimsy for the 240V plug. Thank you
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There are a plethora of plastic boxes, single gang, double gang and of course the kind that accepts mud rings. If your box accepts mud rings then use a razor knife and cut the drywall and replace the ring with a 2 gang.
I would not use a cutin box for a dryer.
Are you sure that you even have 4 wires in the box? Older homes would not have 4 wires and if it does then it should have had a 4 wire recpt installed.
Replacing the whole run with a 4 wire cable may not be in your pocket book. Might be time to consider changing the cord on the dryer to a 3 wire cord and use what you have.
Is there a more narrow receptacle available? Or what is an

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Nick C Topolos wrote:

Greetings Nick,
Why do you want a four prong plug? Just because?
If you have a three prong outlet you probably don't have the right wire running to the box for a four prong plug. Simply put a three prong plug on the dryer and move on with your life.
Hope this helps, William
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William, I think it is "just because". Being a copier tech for 36 years,I am more comfortable with the earth ground wire. When I showed the installer the receptacle in my hand, he matched a pigtail. Since this is a stackable, I don't feel like moving both units to change the pigtail. I do have installed romex wire with red,black,white, and ground. I am probably making this a lot harder than it deserves. I will look for a 2" receptacle tomorrow or a bigger box or(?)
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3 wire plug is hot, hot and ground. 4 wire plug is hot, hot, neutral and ground.
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[snip]

No. For clothes dryers and ranges, it's Phase, Phase, Grounded conductor (Neutral)
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wrote:

Why am I getting the feeling that somebody here is from the UK or somewhere else where there is only 220VAC
And others answering are from North America where 110 is the household standard
AMUN
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No.. 120/240 is the household standard.. before that it was 115/230, and before that it was 110/220. If you stick a meter on it, you're more likely to find 125/250v.
The 120v is derived from a transformer, with a 240v secondary, of which the center is tapped and grounded, forming what is commonly referred to as the neutral. The correct name is "grounded conductor".
This differs from the "grounding conductor", or "ground" in that it is connected to the secondary of the transformer.
The "grounding conductor" is connected to an earth ground.
The two hot legs are "phases", listed here as "phase-A", and "phase-B".
bad ASCII art follows:
transformer
------} || {-----------(phase-A)---------- } || { / / } || { 120v 240v high } || { / / volt } || {------------(neutral)--- / --- (your house) } || { / _|_ / } || { 120v //// (ground) / } || { / / ------} || {-----------(phase-B)----------
In this example, the transformer is composed of two coils, wrapped around a common core. One side is connected to the high woltage supply, the other side is connected to the low voltage load.
This transformer has a coil on the secondary side that has a center tap. This tap is connected to earth ground, creating a common reference point.
The voltage from each of the outside terminals of the coil to the center tap is 120 volts, the voltage from one outside terminal to the other is 240 volts.
The conductor connected to the center tap is called the grounded conductor, and is also commonly referred to as the neutral. Depending on where you are located in relation to the ground connection, the grounded conductor may have voltage on it in relation to ground.
Getting back to dryer cords: The older dryer cords had 3 conductors, consisting of 2 phases, and one grounded conductor (neutral). There was no ground. The new 4 conductor cords have the same 3 conductors plus ground.
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wrote:

<snipped>
I'm not going to squabble about a few volts. And perhaps my newserver is not showing all the posts in this thread that might have further info
But if you read the original post the item is a stackable washer dryer, and some replies are talking about 3 wires. And the OP says a 4 wire plug was installed "as a choice", but has an existing outlet in a 2" box (3 wire? 4 wire?) (the references to the cord as a "pigtail" and "earth ground" has me guessing too)
Any North American unit would likely need both the 220/240, AND the 110/115/117/120/130, and would need 4 wires to have a ground
In the UK, OZ, and most of Europe, everything is 240, which can be done including ground with only three wires. And even plugs/outlets have different shapes too.
Hard to give answers/advice without being sure of all the facts, and as this is usenet, posts can originate anywhere.
If the OP is still reading this thread, it would help to know where this is being done.
And as one post already asks "why do they want to change what an installer just put in ?"
AMUN
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wrote:

I'm assuming that the OP is in the USA. The "four-wire" or "three-wire" option suggests that.
In older homes the code allowed the grounded conductor (here after referred to as "neutral") to serve as the grounding conductor (here after referred to as "ground") for clothes dryers and ranges. IOW, it was tied to the frame of the appliance. There -is- some voltage drop on the neutral, which there would not be on a ground wire, unless there is a fault.
This voltage drop arises from the fact that typically, motors, light bulbs, timers, etc. were all 120V devices and were connected from one phase to neutral. The code required a certain minimum sized wire for the neutral (I'm not going to look it up but it was substantial) that would minimize the voltage drop to a safe level, as long as nothing went wrong.
In the newer code, four wires are now required, with the neutral unbonded from the frame of the appliance and the ground wire used for the safety ground.
I believe that the OP said there were four wires in the box, so it makes sense to install the four-wire receptacle and improve the safety of the installation. If there were not four wires available then changing the cord-plug to a three-wire is the safe thing to do, since a four-wire receptacle without the ground wire connected gives a future user an illusion of safety that isn't there.
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Is it a 30 amp dryer outlet you're trying to install or did you get a 50 amp range outlet? A 30 amp should fit in a 2" wide box. The existing box is probably nailed to the side of a stud. If you need to change it, you can cut the sheet rock open, pry it off and nail on a larger box

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It is a little tricky, but it is possible to remove the existing one gang plastic box and install a two gang plastic box without making a mess out of the drywall. That dryer receptacle should fit nicely on a two gang box.
Get a two gang plastic old work box. Put it up to the existing box and mark out the additional opening needed in the drywall to accommodate the two gang box. Cut out the opening in the drywall.
Next get a big flat head screw driver and a nice pair of diagonal pliers. Gingerly wedge the screwdriver between the existing box and the wooden stud that it is nailed to. Move the screwdriver from the upper part of the box to the lower part of the box and back again each time firmly applying some force to separate the box from the stud. When you get enough space between the box and the wall stud (Approximately 1") use the diagonal pliers to cut the nails close to the box. The box should now be swinging freely in the wall. Use pliers to remove the remaining nails from the wall stud. Straighten out the wires and remove them from the box. You can try and remove the box from the wall or just let it fall inside to be buried inside the wall forever.
You may need to remove a cable staple or two near the existing box to gain some slack and flexibility with the existing cable. Use a long thin screwdriver for this and a pair of pliers.
Check to make sure that the new two gang old work box fits in the new hole. If not then cut out some more for a good fit.
Next straighten out the wires as much as possible. The larger the wires, the more difficult they will be to get into the new box. Push the wires part way into the box as you insert the box into the wall. Little by little push and pull the wires into the box as you continue to push the box into the wall. Your hands will get tired quickly so take your time.
When the box is fully inside the wall and the wires are completely in the box you can straighten the box out and set the securing wings to fasten the box to the drywall. For extra strength I like to shoot one drywall or #8 x 1-1/4" sheet metal screw through the middle of the side of the plastic box into the wall stud.
Wire up the outlet and use a two gang cover for a dryer outlet to finish it off. I'm not sure if Home depot sells these, but they are readily available at an electrical supply house. If a standard size cover doesn't completely cover the opening in the drywall, you can order a midsize or a king size from the supply house.
John Grabowski http://www.mrelectrician.tv

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