How to Install a Dryer Breaker
The electrical power supply needs of a clothes dryer require a double-pole, 30-ampere, 220-volt circuit breaker. Dryer breakers are installed in the main electrical panel of the home and are designed to protect the dryer circuit from overloads and short circuits. Double-pole breakers connect to both the 120-volt bus bars in the panel, providing 240 volts of power to operate the dryer. You can install a dryer breaker with the proper tools and solid electrical circuit experience.
Open the main electrical panel door and verify that two adjoining slots for the dryer breaker are available.
Switch off all the branch circuit breakers. Turn the main panel breaker off last. It is usually located at the top of the panel and has the highest rated amperage.
Remove the front door panel screws by turning counterclockwise with the appropriate screwdriver. Have a helper hold a flashlight if necessary. If no helper is available, use a battery-powered portable light to provide illumination as you remove the panel door.
Test both sides of the electrical panel with a voltage tester to ensure no voltage exists. Touch one probe of the tester to the neutral/ground bus and the other to each vertical conductor strip in the panel. Do not come in contact with the incoming power cables from the meter box as these are still hot.
Insert the plastic retention lug of the breaker into the retaining bracket of the main panel. The lug is located opposite the contact slots of the breaker.
Line up the two contact slots of the dryer breaker with the two contacts of the panel. Push the breaker into the contacts until it is fully seated.
Turn the dryer breaker switch to the "Off" position.
Complete the remainder of the wiring project using ROMEX® 10-3 grounded cable to connect the dryer receptacle to the circuit breaker.
Remove the two extra space tabs from the panel door to accommodate the new dryer breaker. Move them back and forth a few times using combination pliers until they break free.
Replace the front panel door. Tighten the panel screws clockwise with a screwdriver.
Switch the main breaker on first, followed by the branch circuit breakers one at a time. Close the panel door.
- The main panel must be rated at 100 amps or more for the added installation of a 30-amp dryer breaker.
- Follow the manufacturer's recommended procedure for breaker installation methods. Different makes and models of electrical boxes have their own specific installation requirements.
- Thirty-amp breakers for your dryer circuit are available at local hardware stores and home centers. Bring along the breaker panel manufacturer's name and the panel model number. This information is usually placed on the inside of the panel door or on the panel box itself.
- Stand on a rubber mat or plywood when working with the main electrical panel.
- Wear safety glasses for eye protection.
Max Stout began writing in 2000 and started focusing primarily on non-fiction articles in 2008. Now retired, Stout writes technical articles with a focus on home improvement and maintenance. Previously, he has worked in the vocational trades such as automotive, home construction, residential plumbing and electric, and industrial wire and cable. Max also earned a degree of biblical metaphysician from Trinity Seminars Ministry Academy.
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