In the old days, dryers used only one type of prong to connect to electrical outlets. Times have changed, though, and now there are several different types of dryer prongs. Whether you’re moving into a new house or purchasing a new dryer, it’s important that you familiarize yourself with the different dryer prongs available and understand how they work.
Whenever a new house is built or remodeled, electricians must come in to install the outlets for the various appliances, including the dryer. The type of outlet installed varies depending on what’s available at the time of construction and the preference of the owner or builder. For instance, older homes are usually built using 3-prong dryer outlets.
It’s important that you know what type of dryer outlet your home uses if you intend on using your dryer. While you may get lucky and have an outlet that already fits your dryer cord, other times you may not.
3-Prong Dryer Outlets
As stated earlier, 3-prong outlets were the standard type of used during the early to mid 1990’s. During this time, nearly all new dryers manufactured used a 3-prong dryer cord. Two of the prongs used in this type of setup featured a positive wire, while the other prong was used to connect a neatural wire.
An alternative to a 3-prong dryer outlet is a range outlet. These look nearly identical to a 3-prong outlet except with one major difference – the center prong is straight instead of the traditional L-shape. Range outlets are most commonly found in older houses which were built 50+ years ago.
There’s some question as to whether or not it’s safe to connect your dryer to a range outlet. Some people believe that range outlets wont properly trigger a circuit breaker in the event of your dryer malfunctioning. When it comes to electrical work, it’s better to e safe than sorry, so always hire a professional electrician to comeand inspect your dryer before connecting it to a range outlet.
The safest type of dryer outlet used today is the 4-prong. In 1996, dryer manufacturers stopped producing models with the 3-prong and started focusing on the 4-prong. This was due in part to a change in the National Electric Code which stated it must contain a grounding element. So, the 4 prongs used in this setup contain 2 prongs for positive wires, one prong for neatral and one prong for a grounding wire.