Learn the Difference Between 3 and 4 Slot Dryer Outlets

The 3-slot dryer outlet is currently being replaced by the 4-slot as is required by law. Many people have had the dilemma of trying to convert the 3-slot dryer into the 4-slot one and vice versa. For residences built in the mid-1990s, it was a requirement by the National Electric Code to install 3-slot outlet.  For homes being built today or converting from gas to electric, it is now mandatory that 4-slot dryers be installed. All of this is due to safety concerns.

The Difference Between the 3-Slot & 4-Slot Dryer


The main difference is that in the former, it is fitted with two live slots and one ground slot. This is designed to fit dryers with 3-slot plugs. The latter has two live slots, a neutral, and grounding slot. Though the 3-slot plugs are effective in power provision on dryers, the neutral and ground wires are connected. This opens up the possibility of the metal frame becoming energized, which could cause an electric shock. On the other hand, the 4-slot dryer plugs have two hot wires, the ground, and the neutral wire. Due to the return path for the power not consumed being separate, the possibility of shock is eliminated.

Upgrade the Plug Cord

In conclusion, although the 3-slot system has been phased out, authorities realize the futility of trying to upgrade every residence’s system or buy a new dryer altogether. You may continue using your 3-slot dryer but replace the dryer cord. The connections on the appliance are easy to maneuver, and you do not need a professional to do the replacement. The screw terminals, in most cases, have directions on which wire is supposed to be connected. This is rather inexpensive as it does not require a re-wiring of your laundry room.

If you need to have your dryer plug changed, have a qualified electrician from Brubaker Inc. make that swap for you. Contact us at 717.299.5641 or email us.