Toledo Talk

Installing a new dryer - how to ground it

Okay, so my dryer died on me last week. Took my Black Friday mad money and bought a new one, had it delivered last night but admittedly did not pay for it to be hooked up - they wanted another $50 for that and I was scraping my budget already. So, I'm looking at the instructions and it's telling me to ground the dryer - twice.

The first ground is easy - the dryer has a ground wire on it (the instructions call it a ground wire) and they tell me to attached it to the center of my three-prong power cord. Easy-peasy, done.

Then it tells me to connect a copper wire from the external ground screw to 'an adequate ground'. Uh, what? So I ask my dad. He does some checking with 'friends', and gets back to me saying I need to connect a copper wire to this external ground screw and attach it to a screw on the dryer electrical outlet switch plate. My old/dead dryer did not have this ground.

Is this really necessary? The instructions did not say I needed a copper wire to install the dryer, it throws it in at the end. The instructions for a 4-wire and 3-wire direct wire connection, only for the 'optional 3-wire connection'.

I guess I'm just concerned because I am trying to ground a new dryer with an external wire to an outlet that was installed 25 years ago and so I have no idea if that outlet screw is grounded itself, and I would have this exposed wire hanging out on the back of my dryer.

Pics if it would be helpful to those who understand:

What I have hooked up so far:

created by MsArcher on Dec 02, 2015 at 06:19:33 pm     Home     Comments: 39

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Comments ... #

Darn, my images didn't work.

posted by MsArcher on Dec 02, 2015 at 06:20:24 pm     #  

When you buy a dryer, you normally buy the plug and wire separately depending if your house has a 3 or 4 slot outlet. If it is 4 wire than the ground is in the plug and you have to attach it to the dryer. If it is 3 slot outlet, then you need the ground and it can go to the outlet box if it is all metal conduit. If not a cold water pipe, steel or copper, will work. A grounding clamp can be bought to attach it to the pipe.

posted by OldTimer on Dec 02, 2015 at 06:48:48 pm     #  

I'm using the cord from my old dryer, and it is three wire. My confusion is that the dryer has a ground wire on it and I grounded that to the 3 wire cord. The instructions say I need a second ground. Any ground that i connect outside of the one already on the dryer - I have no idea where it is grounding to. The house is finished - I can't open a wall to ground to a water pipe.

posted by MsArcher on Dec 02, 2015 at 07:25:35 pm     #  

you just HAD to save the 50 bucks, right? per OldTimer "it can go to the outlet box if it is all metal conduit"

posted by justareviewer on Dec 02, 2015 at 08:34:07 pm     #   1 person liked this

In their wisdom, prior to code changes neutral (white) and ground were the same on a 240 outlet. After someone did it wrong they decided that future installs would be 4 wires to the box (white) and (green) neutral (white) ground(green) and hot (black) and hot (black or red). So for those with older outlets you connect on the appliance side hot + hot + neutral (white) to ground or neutral post if there is one. If you want to feel safe you can connect a piece of bare grounding wire from neutral post to ground. If you look in your breaker box you will find all the neutral (white) wires and ground (bare) wires are grounded to the circuit breaker box.
If you have a brand new dryer and a 4 prong outlet (newer) you take neutral (white) and ground (bare or green) and ground them on the appliance anyways the extra wire is mainly for the cable running through your walls and under the floors so that if for some reason there is a break in the cable your not energizing either the appliance or any conduit if it runs through conduit.

posted by MIJeff on Dec 02, 2015 at 08:42:12 pm     #  

guys in video are dumb but simple instructions

posted by MIJeff on Dec 02, 2015 at 08:46:29 pm     #  

here is a video that explains it better plus better explanation of the white wire.

posted by MIJeff on Dec 02, 2015 at 08:49:27 pm     #  

Is this really necessary?
This really is the question, right?

It grounds the chassis of the dryer. Not the mechanicals. It's a safety ground for the user. If a hot lead shorts to the cabinet somehow, through some failure, it will blow the circuit breaker rather than waiting for your body to provide a convenient path to ground one day when the floor is wet.

So you have to ask yourself, how lucky am I? How dry is my floor?

Good luck!!

posted by justread on Dec 02, 2015 at 09:00:50 pm     #  

I went to look at mine. Hmm. Three wire plug. No separate ground wire. Floor looked pretty dry. Felt lucky. Nothing to see here. Shhh.

posted by justread on Dec 02, 2015 at 09:05:55 pm     #  

I have what the first video starts with - a three-wire cord, but in that video they didn't ground it at all - just attached the three wires to the three connections. My instructions refers to a neutral ground which is similar to the green wire in the video; that one I did, but it wants me to do a second ground. The second video talks a 4-wire connection, which I don't have.

It grounds the chassis of the dryer.

What's the first ground grounding? The mechanicals?

you just HAD to save the 50 bucks, right?

Sorry, yeah. I didn't expect anything different than what I took out - a three-wire cord with a ground attached to the center wire.

per OldTimer "it can go to the outlet box if it is all metal conduit"

But I have no idea if it is all metal conduit.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do. My dad installed the dryer that just broke, so if it wasn't grounded ...

posted by MsArcher on Dec 02, 2015 at 10:38:26 pm     #  

You can check to see if the box/conduit is grounded with a voltmeter. Make certain it's set to the correct voltage range and connect it to either of the "hot" wires in the receptacle (normally these are the ones that look like \ or / ) connect the other lead to the neutral wire in the receptacle (normally looks like I or L ) measure the voltage, then connect that same lead formerly connected to the Neutral and connect it to the box and/or conduit you should have the same voltage reading as before. If they do not match or there is no current when connected to the box/conduit then it's not properly grounded or bound to the neutral and cannot be used to "ground" your appliance.

posted by breeman on Dec 03, 2015 at 06:21:16 am     #  

Short answer, do you need the ground to work, no. As you know from the old dryer it will work fine without it. Any one as old as I am knows we never had 3 wire grounded plugs on anything in the old days. We also got zapped occasionally by a short that had nowhere to go except thru you if you touched it and provider the ground. That is why the 3 prong plug came into common use. In theory the ground wire and the neutral wire are the same thing. In older electrical boxes they actually had a jumper connecting them together. The neutral is just the ground brought in from the electric lines, and the ground is provided by the house usually by a connection to the cold water pipe or external grounding rods.
The ground acts as insurance to provide a ground should a failure in the neutral connection occur.

posted by OldTimer on Dec 03, 2015 at 07:58:36 am     #  

I don't work on natural gas into my home because I love my family. Anyone who represents himself in a legal proceeding has a fool for a client. Have worked electrical construction 2yrs to pay for some college and have wired single phase 220v to boxes in yacht clubs and marinas where it's a little damp and wet. Put off getting your hair done for a few weeks and pay the freight for a LICENSED person to hook you up. Do NOT play with wires to your fuse box, it is always hot, and have been knocked across the room more than once. Have been with you, enjoyed your company, and would like to see you again sometime soon, otherwise put your soul in a state of grace and hope to see you on the other side.

posted by Mariner on Dec 03, 2015 at 08:09:04 am     #   1 person liked this

I gotta agree with justread and Mariner on this one.

Believe me, I'm all for doing things myself if I can save a few bucks. This is not one of those things.

It's a dryer, probably near a washer and a sink, an area that could get wet even if you don't see it, not something play around with.

Even if you do get it hooked up and working, who knows what could happen down the road if it's not hooked up properly.

Stay safe !

posted by foodie88 on Dec 03, 2015 at 08:31:57 am     #  

If you dont trust yourself to do it, get someone to do it for you, but be sure its someone who has done it before and hasn't shocked either themselves or their customer.

posted by MIJeff on Dec 03, 2015 at 12:18:02 pm     #  

I thought every place that sold new dryers would deliver, install the new one and haul the old one away from free. I agree with MIJeff and Foodie and others to just find another area to cut back on and pay an electrician. The few dollars you save aren't worth the potential harm that could occur to your family or yourself or your property if something malfunctions.

posted by classylady on Dec 03, 2015 at 01:54:25 pm     #  

I thought every place that sold new dryers would deliver, install the new one and haul the old one away from free. I agree with MIJeff and Foodie and others to just find another area to cut back on and pay an electrician. The few dollars you save aren't worth the potential harm that could occur to your family or yourself or your property if something malfunctions.

posted by classylady on Dec 03, 2015 at 01:54:26 pm     #  

MIJeff posted at 12:18:02 PM on Dec 03, 2015:

If you dont trust yourself to do it, get someone to do it for you, but be sure its someone who has done it before and hasn't shocked either themselves or their customer.

I wouldn't trust someone who has never experienced a shock. I want real experience. If you are an old man, and you haven't been zolted really good a few times in life, you are playing the game too safe. I don't want a guy who read a text book. I want a survivor.

posted by justread on Dec 03, 2015 at 03:42:56 pm     #  

Bravo, justread. Me likes that.

posted by foodie88 on Dec 03, 2015 at 05:38:28 pm     #  

Mariner posted at 08:09:04 AM on Dec 03, 2015:

I don't work on natural gas into my home because I love my family. Anyone who represents himself in a legal proceeding has a fool for a client. Have worked electrical construction 2yrs to pay for some college and have wired single phase 220v to boxes in yacht clubs and marinas where it's a little damp and wet. Put off getting your hair done for a few weeks and pay the freight for a LICENSED person to hook you up. Do NOT play with wires to your fuse box, it is always hot, and have been knocked across the room more than once. Have been with you, enjoyed your company, and would like to see you again sometime soon, otherwise put your soul in a state of grace and hope to see you on the other side.

Nice post.

Then there was the time my brother, Shotgun Bob, decided to save a few bucks by doing his own wiring. Following the instructions given to him by Big Billy (a ne'er-do-well, fly-by-night sometime contractor and would-be electrician) Shotgun Bob dutifully ran all the wires according to plan, leaving the final hookup and flip of the switch to Big Billy.

Red to positive was established, countdown commenced, and there was a weird humming sound coupled with a purple flash from the rear of the garage. Joey came running out screaming something that sounded like Repent! Repent! He Iz Rizzen!!

It turned out that yellow was supposed to go to ground...

posted by madjack on Dec 03, 2015 at 05:55:09 pm     #  

Classylady - not for free, no, you have to buy all new connectors for them to install it free and I had already gotten rid of my old when at Thanksgiving when family threw it in a truck and sold it scrap for their trouble so I didn't need to have anything hauled away. I had them do this because I thought I was going to have to buy used because of my budget, but found an awesome deal on a scratch and dent model at Lowe's.

I belong to Angie's List so I'm going to look on there for someone who will come and install it. That's probably my best option (done quietly after my dad is done 'fixing' it for me - I have the feeling my old one wasn't grounded properly either but I don't want to hurt his feelings.)

Thanks for the input guys!!!

posted by MsArcher on Dec 03, 2015 at 05:55:19 pm     #  

Transtar electric. I'd need to check my schedule in the morning, but I could probably be there between 8/8:30 AM tomorrow (Friday) morning. $85.00 an hour plus parts. I'd probably want to convert what you have to the current code, a 4 wire system. I honestly don't have enough info to give you a solid quote.

posted by Bruno on Dec 03, 2015 at 06:06:46 pm     #  

Mrs. Archer. He is talking running a new 4 wire run of like 10/3 with ground. Depending on length. Same 30 amp breaker, new wire, possible new conduit (depends on what you have now), new box, new 240 plug, new dryer cord. The three wire cord would be no good.

You are possibly looking at more than the cost of the dryer, depending on distance, conduit, home construction, etc.

See if they do free quotes if they are talking that much work.

posted by justread on Dec 03, 2015 at 06:16:04 pm     #  

You bet. What part of town Mrs. Archer? I'll stop by and take a look, no charge.

posted by Bruno on Dec 03, 2015 at 06:20:05 pm     #  

Hard to beat a free estimate from a pro.

posted by justread on Dec 03, 2015 at 08:35:36 pm     #  

I PM'd you Bruno.

I'll be honest, if I have a professional tell me it needs to be re-wired, my landlord will pay for it. They've actually lost a house and a business to fires, so they wouldn't give me a hassle if I told them a pro said it needed to be done.

posted by MsArcher on Dec 03, 2015 at 09:56:56 pm     #  

This is part of why I love TT - getting good connections to professionals.

posted by MsArcher on Dec 03, 2015 at 09:59:34 pm     #  

justread posted at 03:42:56 PM on Dec 03, 2015:
MIJeff posted at 12:18:02 PM on Dec 03, 2015:

If you dont trust yourself to do it, get someone to do it for you, but be sure its someone who has done it before and hasn't shocked either themselves or their customer.

I wouldn't trust someone who has never experienced a shock. I want real experience. If you are an old man, and you haven't been zolted really good a few times in life, you are playing the game too safe. I don't want a guy who read a text book. I want a survivor.

I have been zolted twice, once with 110, which while annoying isn't that bad, and once with a single leg of 460, that is one to write about, after that I tend to make damn sure I pay attention to what I am doing, and probably go overboard making sure anyone near me also knows not to touch or move something I am working on.

posted by MIJeff on Dec 03, 2015 at 11:54:24 pm     #  

Could have even been 480v. Don't sell yourself short.

posted by justread on Dec 04, 2015 at 06:34:20 am     #  

Nah I have measured the voltage there it was 460, 3 legs of 230v but I only pulled from one leg, hand slipped on the screwdriver.

posted by MIJeff on Dec 04, 2015 at 07:29:04 am     #  

Taking me to relate an event from the past where a non-skilled employee re-wired a fluid pump leaving it ungrounded and then put to use in new construction on a concrete floor with water used in the process. Grabbed the 22yr old operator and didn't let go. Call came to the office and went there tried to do cpr but no joy. Owner of the the company took an OSHA fine, was sued, sold out, climbed in a bottle and met an early demise himself. Man who did re-rewire took to drugs same end. 22yr old left a widow and 2 kids without a father. There are some strong reasons for government regulation and supervision. Life is short, let's not help it along.

posted by Mariner on Dec 04, 2015 at 07:57:59 am     #  

BTW there is no such thing as an old dumb sailor.

posted by Mariner on Dec 04, 2015 at 08:08:15 am     #  

Mariner posted at 08:08:15 AM on Dec 04, 2015:

BTW there is no such thing as an old dumb sailor.

There are old sailors, there are bold sailors, but there are no old, bold sailors. Darwin's law weeds out the dumb ones early, before they can become sailors.

posted by madjack on Dec 04, 2015 at 10:15:48 am     #  

^^ Or just after they think they are sailors.

posted by MIJeff on Dec 04, 2015 at 11:40:04 am     #  

"no such thing as an old dumb sailor." ---- walk into any bar / yacht club in point place

posted by justareviewer on Dec 04, 2015 at 01:04:47 pm     #  

Those be fill the tank turn the key and go pleasure boaters. The real deal knows each other.

posted by Mariner on Dec 04, 2015 at 01:09:05 pm     #  

justread posted at 03:42:56 PM on Dec 03, 2015:
MIJeff posted at 12:18:02 PM on Dec 03, 2015:

If you dont trust yourself to do it, get someone to do it for you, but be sure its someone who has done it before and hasn't shocked either themselves or their customer.

I wouldn't trust someone who has never experienced a shock. I want real experience. If you are an old man, and you haven't been zolted really good a few times in life, you are playing the game too safe. I don't want a guy who read a text book. I want a survivor.

I've been doing electrical work for 25 years and have never had a shock or arc flash experience worth remembering, probably due to my continuing education, experience and safety training. I'm not a survivor, a survivor is someone who doesn't work in my trade anymore.

posted by Bruno on Dec 04, 2015 at 06:22:43 pm     #   1 person liked this

It didn't occur to you at all that I might be kidding? I mean, not even for a second? You thought that was a serious post?

Uh. Ok. Sorry to have disrespected electricians and for personally setting safety back 100 years with a comment. You're right. This is not a joking matter.

Don't slash my tires bro.

posted by justread on Dec 05, 2015 at 03:16:00 am     #   1 person liked this

posted by MIJeff on Dec 05, 2015 at 03:50:22 am     #