4-prong outlet - Tim Kyle

Why Your Dryer Has a 4-Prong Outlet

Today all newly installed outlets for dryers must be compatible with a 4-prong outlet. These updated outlets contain a separate ground that eliminates the possibility of a current traveling back to the machine. This also helps to avoid electrical shock or even fire. Learn more.

4-Prong Dryer Outlet Versus a Standard Outlet

Until the mid-1990s, it was common for 3-prong dryer outlets to be in American homes. In 1996 the National Electrical Code required that homes have 4-prong outlets because previously the ground and neutral wires were grouped together. Older outlets do not have a separate grounded pathway. Since there is water in laundry rooms, the only way to prevent potential electrical shock was to create a separate, dedicated pathway in the dryer. Thus, the 4-prong outlet with one neutral and a ground wire is now used to eliminate this risk.

Electrical dryers use custom outlets that require 220/2400-volts. If you buy a new dryer and it has the 4-slot cord, but your home has the old-style 3-prong outlet, you will need to convert it. Similarly, if you have a 4-slot dryer outlet and you want to use a 3-prong dryer, you will also need to convert it. The installation is a quick process for an expert electrician. Do not attempt to do this on your own.

Tim Kyle Electric, Heating & Cooling: York County Electrician

It’s vital that you use an experienced electrician for any outlet changes or upgrades in your home. Tim Kyle Electric, Heating & Cooling is here to take on the task. Our electricians are trained, uniformed, and use high-quality contractor-grade materials. Whether you need commercial renovations, construction, energy management systems, or residential repairs and rewiring, landscape lighting, or smart home technology, we got you covered. For more information and a free estimate, contact us today!

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