Wire a Dryer Outlet
This page is dedicated to show you how to wire a dryer outlet. Dryer outlets come in two different forms. A 3-prong three wire outlet as well as a 4-prong four wire outlet. If you found my "wire a dryer outlet" page because you don't want to convert your dryer cord then you came to the right page, otherwise if your interested in just changing over your dryer cord to mate with your given outlet, then I recommend you visit my "wire a dryer cord"
The diagrams below are showing a basic concept on how to wire a dryer outlet. Below each diagram I will cover some information concerning the difference between a 3-prong and a 4-prong dryer outlet. There really isn't a lot of difference in the wiring theory other than some changes in electrical codes throughout the years.
3-Prong Dryer Outlet
The 3 prong wiring diagram above shows the proper connections for both ends of the circuit. This circuit originates from the breaker box containing a 2-pole 30 Amp breaker. This size breaker requires a minimum of a #10 gauge wire so this wire used would be a 10/2 with ground.
Now a 3-prong outlet is outdated from modern electrical codes but is accepted if you already have one in your home. If your running a new circuit, I highly recommend that you bring your outlet up to code and install a 4-prong dryer outlet. (See Below)
The difference between this diagram and the 4-prong outlet below is the addition of a neutral wire. The neutral line is a return line for the voltage and should not be done through the green ground wire, even though a neutral and ground are really the same, so new codes require a dedicated neutral line as well as a dedicated ground line. This just simply separates the ground circuit and neutral circuit versus having the ground line act as a neutral in the older circuit above.
Clear as mud right,
4-Prong Dryer Outlet
(Yellow Wire = White)
The 4-prong dryer outlet wiring diagram above is ran with a 10/3 with ground cable.
As you can see, there is now an added dedicated neutral. The ground is now a dedicated wire also. But if you notice, both the neutral and the ground wires both connect to the same ground bar inside the panel box. As mentioned earlier, the neutral and ground are really the same but this wiring method is more accurate because a return line or "grounded neutral" should be a white wire and not green.
Some panel or breaker boxes will have a dedicated neutral bar and a dedicated ground bar, but they will still be physically connected.