Clothes dryers, welders, water heaters and some stoves can operate on a 30-amp double-pole breaker and need 30-amp double-pole outlets to connect to the electricity. A problem exists when there are not enough 30-amp outlets to plug the appliances into. If you have a 50-amp double-pole outlet, one solution is to convert it to a 30-amp. It's possible to step down in amp size, while it's not possible to step up--that requires replacing the wire with a larger gauge to carry the additional current.
Things You'll Need
Phillips or flat-head screwdriver
30-amp outlet cover
30-amp double-pole breaker
Turn off the main electrical breaker at the top of the panel to shut off the electrical power to the entire panel.
Remove the cover from the electrical panel to expose all the breakers and the wiring. Use an electrical tester and touch one prong of the tester to a screw on the back of any breaker and the other prong to any metal on the breaker panel. If your tester does not light up, the panel has been disconnected.
Remove the wires from the back of the 50-amp breaker. Loosen the screws at the back of the breaker with a Phillips or flat-head screwdriver and slip the red and black wires from beneath the screws.
Remove the 50-amp electrical outlet. Remove the cover from the outlet to expose the wiring in the electrical box. Release the outlet by removing the screws at both the top and the bottom of the outlet. Pull the outlet from the box and loosen the screws at the back of the outlet to release the black, red, white and bare copper wires. Discard the 50-amp electrical outlet.
Install the 30-amp electrical outlet. Using the wires you removed from the 50-amp outlet, slip the white wire underneath the top screw on the outlet and tighten the screw. Connect the red wire underneath the screw on the left of the outlet and the black wire underneath the screw on the right of the outlet, tighten both of the screws. Connect the remaining bare copper wire to the bottom screw on the outlet by tightening the screw. Install the 30-amp electrical outlet into the electrical box by attaching it with screws at the top and the bottom of the box. Cover the outlet with a 30-amp outlet cover.
Remove the 50-amp double-pole breaker and replace it with a 30-amp double-pole breaker in the electrical panel. Grasp the 50-amp breaker with your hand and pull directly out of the panel. This may require some force to remove it from the center buss bar. Install the 30-amp double-pole breaker where you removed the 50-amp double-pole breaker. Slide the red and black wires under the two screws at the back of the 30-amp breaker. Tighten the screws with a screwdriver to hold the wires in place. Replace the panel cover and turn the main breaker on.