There are two ways to create the heat needed to efficiently drive clothes, gas or electricity. Before deciding on a gas or electric dryer, it’s helpful to check your hookups. Most current homes come equipped with a 240-volt electrical outlet, which is bigger than a traditional outlet and consists of three or four holes. Unfortunately, few homeowners understand the key differences between 3-prong and 4-prong dryer hookups. In an effort to inform homeowners on this important topic, here are the differences between these cords and why 4-pronged hookup are becoming widely-used among homeowners.
3-Prong vs 4-Prong Dryer Hookups: What’s the Difference?
The key difference between a 3-prong and 4-prong dryer hookup is the wiring. The 3-prong dryer hookup has only two hot wires and a neutral wire. On the other hand, the more modern 4-prong dryer hookup has two hot wires, a ground wire, and neutral wire. Its separate return path for unused power eliminates the hazard of a ground current to the appliance. Plus, a 4-prong dryer hookup is wired as a 120/240-volt circuit. The 120-volt service operates the dryer’s timers and sensors, and the 240-volt operate the heating components.
The History of Dryer Hookups
Up until the mid-1990s, 3-prong outlets were standard in American Homes. While 3-prong outlets are adequate, they also have a major defect. The ground and neutral wires were arranged together, which opened up the possibility for shock. In 1996, the National Electrical Code (NEC) mandated 4-prong dryer outlets in all new homes as a safety measure. However, the NEC also realized how costly and invasive it would be for homeowners to replace 3-pronged dryer hookups and the wires within the walls. Therefore, it’s still code complaint to continue to use your existing 3-prong cord.
How to Convert a Dryer Hookup
Although 3-pronged dryer hookups are mostly antiquated, some older homes still choose to utilize them. However, if you own a dryer that requires you to update the wiring or rewire your outlet, here are some basic directions on how you can convert the outlet from a 3-prong into a 4-prong:
Step 1: Shut off the circuit breaker.
Step 2: Remove dryer safety plate with a screwdriver.
Step 3: Remove dyer cord and install new cord while immobilizing it at the terminal block.
Step 4: Simply match the colors of the new cord’s wires to those on the terminal block.
Step 5: Make sure the ground is connected to the chassis, if using the 4-prong cord
Step 6: Ensure screws on terminal block are tight.
Step 7: Place the access panel on the back of the dryer.
Step 8: Test the dryer.
Converting a dryer hookup from a 3-prong to a 4-prong (or vice versa) is a relatively simple task. However, it’s better to have a certified electrician or our iFiX appliance repair technician perform the installation.
Contact iFiX Today
We understand how frustrating it can be to not have the right hookups for your dryer. Our expert team is ready to help as we are familiar with several dryer brands, including Maytag, GE, Whirlpool, Amana, Roper, Admiral, Kenmore, Frigidaire, Bosch, and more! Call our locally-owned and operated appliance repair service at 801.731.4349 for all your dryer needs,