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Question DetailsAsked on 8/30/2017

Can I re-purpose an existing (unused) 220 Volt dedicated circuit for an electric dryer to power a steam shower?

I have a 220 Volt outlet in my garage intended to power a clothes dryer. I have a gas dryer. I am adding a steam shower as part of a master suite renovation, and the generator unit needs a 42 amp 220 dedicated line. The generator will be on the upper floor and on the opposite side of the house.

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2 Answers


Highly unlikely without running new wiring - because a normal dryer outlet is 30A capacity, rarely 40 or 50 A but generally only if specifically rewired for that to allow use of a combination steam generator washer/dryer (a rare critter even in high end homes).

Normal 30A circuit would, with normal length runs, have probably #10 aluminum wire - or maybe #12 or #10 if copper. A 45-50A circuit likeyou need (and you mentioned only a steam generator - no other possible demand associated with it - normally needs about a #8 copper or #6 aluminum wire - a LOT larger. Might need even larger wire size depending on exact length of run and on type of wire and whether run exposed or in conduit - any/all of those could contribute to a wire size bumpup.

Then there is the conservatism factor - with a high amperage demand like that, and running probably up to about 1/2 hour or possibly more continuous demand, my tendency would be to forestall possible local wire overheating at bends and pull points and upsize the wiring (though NOT the breaker) to the next size anyway.

Oh - depending on your code area, requires a GFCI breaker at minimum - possible GFCI/AFCI combo type in some locales. Also, in some code areas (becoming more common), requires an emergency shutoff switch within sight of and in same room as shower is for the steam unit (usually at the door), same as a hot tub. A VERY good idea to have even if not required by code.

Also - for a steam shower bathroom, all your wiring and fixtures should be upgraded to wet environment rating - oh, off top of my head without looking at the tables, I think that is NEMA 4 with NEMA 3R allowed (even though 3R is an outdoor rating) - but don't hold me to that - your electrician or architect certainly can look it up.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


Just like LCD says

Answered 3 years ago by Kestrel Electric

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