3 Prong to 4 Prong Dryer or Range Cord

Proper Install of Your Dryer or Range Cord

It's not unusual for home owners to confront problems when they find that the 4 prong plug for their new electric range or dryer won't fit the 3 hole receptacle in the wall. Alternatively, they may find that the 4 hole wall receptacle in their new house won't match up with the 3 prong plug on their old electric dryer or range.

This mismatch occurs because in the mid 1990's homes had 3 wire systems that had two “hot” wires (red and black) and a single neutral/ground wire. In 1996, the National Electrical Code was updated to require new homes to be built with a safer 4 wire configuration with separate ground and neutral wires.

So today, your new 4 prong electric dryer cord won't fit in an older 3 prong wall plug. The solution is simple. You will need to switch to a 3 prong dryer cord. The same is true for mismatched range cord and wall receptacle. Here are three important points to keep in mind:

  1. If a cord's plug, and the wall receptacle don't match, you must change the cord, not the wall receptacle.

  2. Dryer hookups and range hookups are configured differently. A dryer cord plug won't work in a range wall receptacle, nor will a range cord plug fit a dryer receptacle.

  3. The current 4 wire system has red and black wires just as before, plus a white neutral wire, and a green or bare wire for the ground.

The move to a 4 wire system was an important safety improvement. However, you can tell from above, that the conversion from a 3 prong vs 4 prong configuration on the plugs can be a bit of a hassle. Even after 20 years, this still can be an issue if you have or move into an older house.

Now that you know what needs to be done, you should also know that range and dryer cords do not come attached with a new appliance. If you are installing yourself, you'll need to know how to attach the cord to the appliance. Below is a link to a Whirlpool video demonstrating how the 4 wire cords are to be hooked up:

How to install a 4 wire supply cord to your dryer

Of course, when Arizona Wholesale Supply is delivering and installing your new appliances we'll bring the correct cord with us!


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Follow-up on new GFCI code requirement

Remodeling a Kitchen? Think about updating GFCI outlets.

This is an update of a blog I wrote last year regarding new NEC requirements for GFCI plugs as of June 29, 2015.

New Rules on GFCI Receptacles

We purchased an older home recently, and did major remodeling including the kitchen. We had some electrical issues in the kitchen, so I called in an electrician to analyze and fix the problem. Not just an electrician, this fellow was an electrical inspector who did some odd jobs on weekends.

GFCI-Outlet

New GFCI Outlet

He addressed and fixed the main problem I had which related to the lack of adequate power in my kitchen. While he was there, I asked him to install new GFCI outlets in my kitchen. We had a brief discussion regarding the new code, and he informed me that GFCI plugs should not be used for the refrigerator. THIS IS WRONG, and it is widely misunderstood by the trade. The new NEC code which went into effect June 29, 2015 requires the new self-monitoring GFCI's in the kitchen, but does make an exception for a refrigerator in the kitchen. That does not mean that the GFCI is not a good idea for the refrigerator, but an exception is granted where needed (see below). Here's what you should know:

At one time, twenty years or more ago, refrigerators and freezers had large compressors, that had large power requirements when they turned on, a “surge” if you will. Old model refrigerators provided a lot of cooling very quickly, then turned off for a long time, and then kicked back on when the refrigerator warmed up. A refrigerator or freezer kicking on might unnecessarily trigger the circuit breaker and disconnect power to the refrigerator. This could result in food loss or spoilage. However, today's refrigerators have smaller compressors that run all the time at variable speeds, eliminating the “surge” and keeping temperatures even. Refrigerators today pose little risk of tripping a circuit breaker. In fact, if they do trip the circuit breaker, it is likely there is an underlying cause that needs to be addressed.

The real lesson for you is that if you have any electrical work done in your kitchen or baths, it is a good idea to update your electrical receptacles with new outlets that are compliant to the latest NEC requirements.


For more information call or visit the experts at Arizona Wholesale Supply .

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Kitchen Remodeling Tip 2: GFCI Circuits

GFCI Circuits in your Kitchen

Our last blog on kitchen remodeling covered electrical issues that might occur.

Kitchen Remodeling Tip: Check Electrical Needs

In my case, I had an older house with appliances (refrigerator and built-in micro-hood) each wired on circuits with other electrical outlets rather than on separate circuits. It was not practical to add separate circuits for these two appliances, but we were able to move the microwave to a different circuit with lower total power demand which resolved any power shortage issues. Also, It was not necessary to to move the refrigerator to another circuit.

Now, we’re going to cover the issues regarding GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) in an older house.

GFCI

GFCI-Outlet

GFCI Outlet

Originally, the NEC code required GFCI receptacles only in the garage and bathrooms. Over the years, the code has been regularly amended, to include kitchens, and laundry areas. What is a GFCI receptacle?

GFCI stands for Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter. In brief, a GFCI receptacle monitors electricity passing through any plugged in device for an imbalance. The GFCI receptacle breaks the circuit if there is more than a 5 milliamp difference between the electrical current entering and the current leaving. The result is that any device plugged into a GFCI receptacle with a short or a wiring issue will be disconnected in about .025 seconds.

In my particular instance, for some reason we had no GFCI receptacles in the house. So I had the electrician add GFCI receptacles to the bathrooms and the kitchen areas so we’d be up to code. However, I’ve just learned that the latest revision to the code now has added a GFCI requirement for dishwashers. It’s easy to get frustrated over changing regulations, but when you consider that spending a few bucks on having the proper electrical outlet might save a life, it makes sense to be protected from electrical hazards.

For more information on GFCI or other remodeling or building issues contact your remodeling professional or homebuilder.


Appliances, floor coverings, window treatments, and more

Arizona Wholesale

Phoenix 602 258-7901, Scottsdale 480 596-0092, Tucson 520 795-4663

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