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: York County Electrician

It’s vital that you use an experienced electrician for any outlet changes or upgrades in your home. Tim Kyle Electric 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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