What Size Wire Do You Need for an Electric Dryer?

If you’re wondering what size wire you need for an electric dryer, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll walk you through the process of choosing the right size wire for your dryer so you can get it up and running as soon as possible.

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Why the Right Size Matters

Using the wrong size wire for your electric dryer can cause a fire. That’s because as electricity flows through wires, it creates heat. If the clothes in your dryer are taking too long to dry, or if the outside of the dryer feels warm to the touch, that’s a sign that the wire may be too small for the current flowing through it. If this heat isn’t dissipated, it can eventually cause an electrical fire.

Dryers require a lot of power to operate, so you’ll need to use a heavy-duty wire designed for high-current applications. The most common type of wire used for electric dryers is called “10 gauge” copper wire. This wire is rated for 30 amps of current, which is more than enough for most dryers.

How to Measure the Right Size

No matter what type of electric dryer you have, you’ll need to properly measure the size and gauge of the wire that leads to it. The size and number of wires in an electric dryer’s circuit will determine the amount of current it can safely handle and how much power it can provide to the dryer.

To measure the right size, start by disconnecting the power to the dryer at the breaker box. Then, remove the access panel on the back of the dryer. Once you have access to the wiring, use a tape measure to check the diameter of each individual wire. The wire should be no smaller than 10 gauge and no larger than 6 gauge. If you’re not sure what size wire you need, consult a certified electrician or the manufacturer of your electric dryer.

What Size Wire to Use for an Electric Dryer

The size of wire you need to use for an electric dryer depends on the voltage and amperage of the dryer as well as the length of the circuit. Generally, a 240-volt, 30-amp circuit is required for most standard electric dryers. This circuit uses 10-gauge wire and should be protected by a 30-amp circuit breaker or fuse. If your dryer is rated for 208 volts, you can use 12-gauge wire on a 20-amp circuit.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, the amount of current an electric dryer needs is considerable. A clothes dryer typically uses a 240 volt, 30 amp circuit. It’s important that the right size wire is used to connect the dryer to the main panel. Use too small a gauge wire and the resulting voltage drop can trip a circuit breaker or overheat the wire, possibly causing a fire. The disconnecting means for a clothes dryer must be rated at least 125% of the appliance rating and not less than 50 amps, per NEC 240.4(D).

Using 12 AWG copper wire (the minimum allowed by code) for a 30 amp circuit is not recommended because of the voltage drop that will occur on long runs of wire. Ten gauge copper or eight gauge aluminum is recommended for 30 amp clothes dryers. If you have any doubts about what size wire to use for your electric dryer, please consult an electrician or your local building department.