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. Most people have also had to deal with 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, but for homes being built or converting gas to electrical appliances, it is now mandatory that 4-slot dryers be installed. All of this was due to safety concerns.

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


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


Though the 3-slot system has been phased out, the authorities realize the futility of trying to upgrade every residence’s system or buy a new dryer altogether. Thus, 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 very 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.