Of all the domestic appliances that are found in a home, a dryer is known to have one of the greatest electrical requirements. However, gas and electric dryers have very different electrical needs.
Electric dryers often need a dedicated circuit because of the amount of current that they draw for operation, but gas dryers have much lower ampere ratings, which means that dedicated circuits may not be necessary.
According to the code, gas dryers do not need a dedicated circuit. Logic also dictates that a 4-amp gas dryer (the average amperage rating for these appliances) would not need to be the only appliance on a 20-amp circuit (the required circuit for laundry rooms as per the IRC).
Code Doesn’t Mention Dedicated Circuits for Dryers
Chapter 37 of the IRC covers branch circuit and feeder requirements.
In this chapter, there are a couple of appliances mentioned that definitely require an individual branch circuit (or dedicated circuit). These include electric vehicle charging outlets (Section E3702.13) and circuits supplying central heating systems (Section E3703.1).
However, dryers are not mentioned.
The NEC also does not specify that dryers need a dedicated circuit.
Laundry Circuit Requirements
Section E3703.3 of the IRC says that at least one 20-amp branch circuit must be provided to laundry room receptacle outlets and can only serve these receptacle outlets.
What this means is that laundry rooms must have a dedicated circuit. But what can you plug into these outlets and run off of the circuit?
Well, that would depend on the receptacle outlet voltage rating, and the electrical requirements of the appliances—of greatest importance are the washer and dryer because of their size.
When Dedicated Circuits Are Necessary
As the building and electrical codes do not control the circuit requirements for gas dryers, we can assume that it comes down to logic.
There are three main reasons why appliances and electrical equipment require dedicated circuits:
- They pull a large amount of power, and sharing a circuit with other appliances and equipment would overload the circuit.
- They are involved in important protective operations and cannot afford to have the circuit interrupted just because too many appliances were on at once. This includes sump pumps and smoke alarms.
- They are involved in security systems that help to keep occupants safe. This includes alarm systems.
Dryer Electrical Ratings and Circuit Requirements
Dryers are not necessary for the protection of the home or the safety of the inhabitants, so the only reason why a dedicated circuit would be required would be that the dryer pulls a large amount of electricity. Gas dryers do not.
While a gas dryer uses gas to heat up the air, it uses electricity to power everything else, including the ignition of the gas. So, a gas dryer still has electrical requirements. However, these are much lower than for electric dryers.
Confirm Installation Requirements With Manufacturer
If you are unsure if your dryer needs to be on a dedicated circuit and you are not happy with the lack of an official word on the matter, you can’t go wrong looking at the dryer’s owner manual or contacting the manufacturer personally. They should be able to tell you definitively if your dryer needs its own circuit.
What you need to be aware of is that even though gas dryers might not need to be on a dedicated circuit according to the code or logic, some manufacturers will specify this requirement in their installation instructions.
While not strictly necessary for safety and effective function, going against the manufacturer’s instructions can have negative consequences if you ever have to take advantage of the warranty. It can also affect your insurance in some cases.
While the IRC is legally-binding, it often cedes the final say to the manufacturer. So, if your gas dryer causes a fire and the ignition can be traced to an electrical issue, then your insurance company might question why you did not follow the installation instructions.