Circuit breakers are important to ensure product safety. Like other appliances, electric dryers require circuit breakers so that overflow of electricity cannot damage them. The size of the breaker depends on the voltage and capacity of the appliance.
If you are looking for the breaker size of your electric dryer, let’s explore it together.
Electric dryer breaker size
Electric dryers usually consist of 240 volts. 30 amp breaker is suitable for such electric voltage. NEC suggests at least a 30 amp breaker on a dedicated circuit. Dryers with 220 voltage also require 30 amperage breakers. However, a breaker with more than 30 amperages might not prevent overheating.
An accurate breaker size for each dryer is mandatory because we know that if you use an undersized breaker, it will frequently cause a fire. On the contrary, an oversized dryer may not prevent overheating and cause damage to the appliance.
However, a breaker should allow necessary electric current through the circuit and prevent overflow at the same time. So, picking the right breaker for your appliances might be difficult sometimes.
It is also easy given the fact that the voltage of your appliance will be given on the manual and you will know how much current it can run through the circuit. You can easily find the circuit breaker size then.
NEC (National Electric Code) has published a chart explaining the breaker required for different current flows through the circuit.
According to that chart, a circuit having 220 volts might require at least 30 amperages of the breaker. Otherwise, the circuit might get overheated.
On the contrary, the smaller breaker would catch frequent fire causing unnecessary accidents. So the breaker cannot be oversized or undersized. Therefore, the identification of circuit breakers is crucial sometimes.
There might be exceptional cases for some specific appliances. For example, lower voltage might require a larger breaker and vice versa. That would be written in the manual.
However, the electric dryer is an electronic appliance that requires a dedicated circuit breaker for uninterrupted use.
Most residential electric dryers use 10 to 30 amp because they do not exceed the voltage of 240. It means it cannot run more than 30 amp through the circuit.
There are dryers available of 110 to 120 volts. Such dryers remain safe by 15 amps as they can only use between 7.5 to 15 amps.
110V/ 120V dryers are usually compact or portable dryers. They are used in smaller apartments and installed on a standard 120 volts circuit.
However, the most commonly used dryer breakers are between 10 to 30 amperage. Because dryers cannot run off more electricity than 30 amp.
A breaker of larger size will fail to prevent overflow and overheating of the wire and cause a short circuit leading to an accidental fire.
On the contrary, if a smaller breaker is installed for a 240-volt dryer, the wire will catch flame frequently and it will be unnecessary trouble. Therefore, most of the residential units use 10 to 30 amp breakers as per the requirement of their dryers.
Can I use a 40 amp breaker for an electric dryer?
No, you cannot use a 40 amp breaker for your dryer. 40 amperage is very high for a traditional electric dryer. They are usually wired at a high electrical range. Electrical dryers cannot be protected by 40 amperage breakers.
Electric dryers typically run on 220 volts. Therefore, 30 amperage breaker on a dedicated circuit is the highest range for these appliances to be protected. More electrical flow would result in overheating and lead to fire accidents.
As breakers prevent overflow of current above the capacity, the range should complement the appliances’ power. 220 to 240 volts dryer can only tolerate 30 amperages of electric flow.
Flow over than that can cause overheating. A breaker with more amperage power will be of no use then.
Therefore, for dryers with 220 and 240 volts, you cannot use a 40 amperage breaker. NSE also recommends 30 amperages for such dryers.
How many amps does an electric dryer use?
The usage of amperage on an electric dryer depends on its voltage. The differences in volts in two different points flow the electricity through the circuit. So, how much amperage would flow through the circuit is determined by the difference of volts.
If a dryer has 110 to 120 volts, it might draw just 7.5 amps. With the increasing voltage, the flow of electricity increases as well.
Dryers typically use 7.5 to 30 amp as the voltage remains between 120 and 240. Most of the residential electric dryers run off 240 volts.
Dryers of 240 volts can draw 30 amperages of electric flow through the circuit. Dryers with 220 volts also can draw the same flow because there is little difference between them.
These two voltages are mostly used in residential dryers. So, most electric dryers use 30 amperages on the circuit.
3 factors that determine electric dryer breaker size
Electrical appliances require circuit breakers to ensure their safety. Breakers allow enough electrical flow through the circuit and prevent overflow that may cause overheating and sometimes accidental fire.
However, some factors determine the breaker size. These are described as follows.
The fundamentals of electrical flow say that it occurs due to potential differences in voltage among two points in the electrical field. As voltage determines the amount of electrical flow, it also determines the breaker size.
The primary purpose of the breaker is to maintain the essential electrical flow through the circuit, not more not less. So, here the primary determinant is the voltage. Through the voltage, you can assume the flow and the required breaker.
Another important factor is the power consumption or capacity of your appliance. Along with the voltage, power consumption also plays a major role in determining the breaker.
It is a fact that there may be differences in power consumption in various appliances. You need to determine the breaker size based on your appliance’s capacity. So, this factor is as important as the previous one as well.
Last but the least important factor is the wiring system. The breaker must compliment the wiring system. Otherwise, it would catch fire in no time. A perfect gauge for a particular breaker should be ensured.
Writing systems in some houses cannot take the load required for conducting a breaker spontaneously.
Such a circumstance may create a short circuit and sometimes fire that you would never want. So, make sure that your wire system can bear the load of your dryer breaker.
How to wire an electric dryer to the breaker?
Wiring an electric dryer to the breaker requires expertise. Single wrong wiring might cause accidents in no time. Following steps should be followed to avoid accidents.
The first and foremost task is to check if there is any voltage on the electric panel after shutting down the main panel breaker.
You can check it by putting one probe of your tester to the neutral bus and the other on each vertical conductor strip in the panel. Be cautious of touching any incoming power cable as they might be hot.
Locate the breaker in the panel:
Locate the plastic retention lug inside the main panel and align them through the contact slot. Make sure the breaker has perfectly fitted into the contact slot.
Replace the empty slot with a new dryer breaker:
You will find two extra specs tabs in the main panel. Pull them out and keep the new dryer breaker in that place. Make it secure by moving back and forth several times.
Connect the dryer receptacle to the circuit breaker:
Wiring is the most crucial part of connecting a breaker to the dryer. You will need so many excess wires here.
Strip away about 18 inches from the outer jacket and ¾ the inches from the end of white, black, and red insulated wires.
Then, connect the ground wire to the ground bus bar, white neutral wire to the panel’s neutral bus bar, and hot wires to the circuit breaker.
Replace the door and turn on the breaker:
The last step is to replace the front panel door and tighten the screws. You can then turn the main breaker on and after that branch circuit breakers. Do not turn them on all at a time.
Determining a perfect breaker size for dryers might be difficult sometimes but it is essential to ensure the safety of the appliance and home wiring system. As it prevents overflow of current, it can minimize the risk of fire accidents. Hence, a perfect sized breaker is needed for electric dryers.