Categories & Filters

Washer & Dryer Outlets 

When it comes to washer / dryer receptacles, there are two common types: 3-wire or 4-wire. The two options aren’t interchangeable and many homeowners have discovered this the hard way. Whether you’ve just moved into a new home that has a different outlet, or you’ve purchased new appliances that feature different power cords, incompatibility is an all-too-common problem.

3-wire outlets were popular in American homes until the mid-1990s. If you live in a house that was built before 1996 and hasn’t been updated, it’s likely that this is what your home will feature. In 1996, however, the National Electric Code was updated to require 4-wire outlets in all new construction. The NEC changes only apply to construction after 1996, so older homes may be more dated.

The NEC made the decision to make changes because 3-prong washer / dryer receptacles featured the ground and neutral wires grouped together, which created a shock risk.

4-wire outlets where the NEC’s attempt to fix the shock problem, and fix it they did. Today’s 4-wire outlets feature a neutral wire, a ground wire, and two hot wires. This does away with the problem caused by ground current traveling into the machine by providing an independent return path for excess power.

If you’ve purchased a new set of appliances or have recently moved into an older home, it’s likely that your outlets and cords are incompatible. The good news is that there’s a fix for this. By simply purchasing a new set of washer / dryer receptacles, you can ensure that your appliances are safe, functional, and compatible with your home. 

As long as your cable matches the washer / dryer receptacles, you can simply hire an electrician to install the new outlet in your home. While it’s possible to install the new outlet on your own, many homeowners prefer to hire a professional on account of the peace of mind this offers. Plus, a professional will be able to tell you conclusively that there is no chance of ground shock when you touch your appliances. This creates appliance safety and a long lifespan for your laundry machines.