Three-wire dryer outlet -- how can it be safe?

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Tman wrote:

I believe the NEC switch to 4 wires for dryer circuits was about 1996. I would think your house has one. (You may have to look in the box behind the dryer outlet to find out, or in the service panel.)
Any recent dryer would have an isolated neutral circuit that comes out to a connection terminal. The terminal is then jumpered to the dryer "ground" (or a jumper is available). For old houses where the dryer circuit is 3-wire combined neutral-ground, the jumper is left. For newer houses (which should include yours), the jumper is removed and a 4 wire cord is used.
IMHO manufacturers should make dryers and ranges that operate on 240V (do not need a neutral). It would eliminate the problems and confusion. Couldn't cost that much more.
--
bud--

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bud-- wrote:

My house, built circa 2000 does in fact have a 4x (2H, 1N, 1G) receptacle (sp?).
The dryer, cheapest Kenmore unit bought in 2000 also and delivered by the dryer guy, has a 3 wire plug -- current carrying neutral-- jumpered to the chassis ground at the dryer end of it.
It's just that the 3-prong cord plugs into the 4-x outlet, leaving the central ground unused (and, until now, unnoticed).
Oh well, just one more reason to replace the clunker....
T
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yeah I look and wonder but things keep changing over time. in most cases its safer and more energy efficent
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Tman wrote:

I didn't know you could do that. learn something new every day.
If this bothers you, a new dryer cord is as close as your local hardware store, simply replace the cord with a 4-wire cord whose plug fits your outlet and remove the bonding jumper. It's not a HUGE deal, but I believe it is technically a code violation to use a 3-wire cord where a 4-wire receptacle is available.
nate
--
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re: "since there aren't piles of electrocuted _housewives_ across the country"
A rather sexist comment right there...unless you are implying that women are more sucsebtible to electrocution than men.
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re: "since there aren't piles of electrocuted _housewives_ across the country"
A rather sexist comment right there...unless you are implying that women are more sucsebtible to electrocution than men.
Not at all, my reference merely dates back to the mid century when it was typically women that used these machines almost exclusively
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every day just as well --- while slaving away bringing home the bacon, so that wifey can have a nice hot meal on the table when he comes home!
T
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The term you want here is "grounding conductor", since "grounded conductor" is another (better) term for what is commonly called the neutral.

As others have mentioned, this arrangement was once allowed but is no longer allowed in new installations. Existing installations are grandfathered, so if you buy a new electric dryer, you should have a choice of cords: a 3-wire cord (with a bond on the machine between the chassis and the neutral) or a 4-wire cord (where the bond on the machine should be removed).
I'm not sure of the reason for the original rule allowing a 3-wire circuit, although I have heard that it was a conservation measure during World War II. If so, it was judged that the copper savings was more valuable than the increased risk in the event the neutral conductor was compromised.
Cheers, Wayne
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Tman wrote:

The third wire is neutral and the return path for the '2 hots'. Always was that way. Neutral can also be ground since it connects to the same place as a forth 'green ground' wire on new installs at the panel. Green is also a return path for the hot wires IF there is a short to the frame.
--
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