Dryer plug/outlet do not match

Last Edited By Krjb Donovan
Last Updated: Mar 11, 2014 05:25 PM GMT

Question

Hi there. I just moved into a house and went to hook up my dryer and am having a problem I am hoping you could help me with. I have seen millions of posts online reg switching from a 3 prong to a 4 prong etc. but my situation is a bit unique. Both the plug on the dryer as well as the outlet, are 4 prong. Both include the same various "shaped" prongs, however one is just in a different position. I will try to explain in layman's terms since those are the only terms I know (ha ha): on the dryer cord there are 2 sort of "regular shaped" prongs on either side, towards the top of the plug with a round prong in the middle of them, and then an "L" shaped prong below, towards the bottom. (This will sound strange but it sort of resembles a face with 2 eyebrows at the top, a round nose in between the 2 eyebrows and an "L" shaped mouth) The wall outlet has all of the same shapes to plug in to, and almost all are in the same position, except for the round one; that one is located in the center of the outlet rather than in between the 2 "normal" shaped areas like the plug. (Again silly, but, picture the wall outlet as the same face as the plug except move the nose to the middle of the "face" instead of between the eyebrows). Lowe's and Home Depot carry replacement plugs for the dryer, but only the same one I already have on it, not one that would fit the current wall outlet; they also do not carry a new wall outlet that would match my current plug. Any ideas? Is this odd to have all of the same "pieces" and just have that one in a different position? Ive looked online and have yet to see this same situation. I hope you can understand my "I have no clue about electrical stuff" lingo :)

Answer

There are many different configurations for different amperages and voltages. Here is a selection of some of them (don't ask me how the popcorn popper got there): http://www.thefind.com/appliances/info-nema-plug#page=2

Dryers are generally 30 amp 220 volt and are pretty standard. A few places, like Fairfax County Virginia require 50 amps for dryer outlets. But, if you are sure you have 30 amp double pole breaker, it is best to replace the wall outlet with a standard dryer outlet. That web page will also give you a place to buy odd outlets if you want to go that way.

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