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Old 10-22-2010, 03:09 AM   #1
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Default How much power is available at the outlet?

I just recently noticed a 240v 3 prong dryer outlet in my friends garage where I brew. It was hiding behind some scrap 2x4s. I've been planning a small HERMS upgrade to my HLT but was planning on using only a 120v element. Now that I've found this outlet my plans are changing for the better! Question is, how do I determine how much juice is available at the outlet? I'm not very experienced with electrical, but I understand the basics (120 v. 240, proper gauge wire for the amps, how to wire an outlet, how to ground a circuit, etc). I know that I could just go look at the panel, and I'll try that, but I'd like to know which type of metering tool I can pick up at home depot will tell me what I need to know.

Any suggestions, along with tips on how to use properly and safely, would be greatly appreciated!

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Old 10-22-2010, 03:13 AM   #2
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It will give you all the amperage it can until the breaker trips or the wire melts. Your power is limited by the breaker which should be sized to protect the wiring. I don't understand why you need to measure it. Just look at the breaker.

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Old 10-22-2010, 03:34 AM   #3
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Measurement tools will measure how much current is being drawn (or used) at a point in time, but not how much "could be" used.

As Klyph said... the breaker size is the answer you are looking for.

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Old 10-22-2010, 05:05 AM   #4
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If it's a dryer outlet, it's likely 30 amps. The plug configuration is one indicator (see if it is a NEMA 10-30, for example).
http://www.stayonline.com/reference-nema-straight-blade.aspx

But really, the only way to know is to look at the breaker - no metering tool needed.

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Old 10-22-2010, 10:01 PM   #5
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I would also confirm that the wiring coming out of the breaker panel is indeed 10/3 with ground.

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Old 10-22-2010, 10:20 PM   #6
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Really though you already know "how much power" you have.

~240v -> ~30amps -> ~7200 watts (All maximum values for the circuit)

If for some reason you feel the need to get a multi-meter be very sure you know what you're doing. Sticking probes in any outlet or main box without knowing what you're doing can be lethal.

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Old 10-22-2010, 11:37 PM   #7
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I'll suggest a different route. First find out if there's a 2pole 30a breaker in the panel. Then find out if there's another electric dryer in the house, maybe in the basement, that is still in use. It's possible they just decided to move the dryer to another location and abandon the outlet in the garage. In that case, it may be disconnected at the panel.

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Old 10-24-2010, 04:30 PM   #8
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The dryer and the garage outlet could be wired to the same breaker too. In that case, no brewing on laundry day

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Old 10-24-2010, 04:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jlag View Post
The dryer and the garage outlet could be wired to the same breaker too. In that case, no brewing on laundry day
wrong! it's no laundry on brewing day
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Old 02-08-2011, 04:57 AM   #10
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I know it's been awhile for this, but just thought I'd add something; 30/40 gal. hot water heaters, small A/C condensors, and other things can also be run on 2P30A breakers.

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