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Maximizing Outlets | Can a Gas Dryer Be Plugged Into a Power Strip?

Power strips are one of the most common household items. While their utility and versatility are well known, it is also important to know when power strips can’t be used.

There is no official prohibition or allowance of gas dryers being plugged into power strips by the International Residential Code or the National Electric Code. However, one can still be informed and aware of the factors that play into whether or not doing so would be possible or safe.

Codes don’t prohibit using power strips for gas dryers, but manufacturers may. If a dedicated circuit is specified, the power strip is pointless. Gas dryers don’t pull as much power as electric models, so sharing a power strip with certain other appliances may not be dangerous, but don’t overload the strip.

Power Strips Can’t Take 4-Prong Plugs

Power strips (amazon link) can only accept plugs with 3 prongs or less. Some gas dryers have 4-prong plugs, and as such, it would be physically impossible to plug a 4-pronged gas dryer into the power strip.

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Four-prong plugs can’t be used on a power strip for the same reason that high-energy-using appliances (space heaters, microwaves, etc.) can’t be used on them.

If an appliance has a 4-prong plug, then it requires too much energy and would overwhelm the power strip.

Always Listen to the Manufacturer

It is best to always defer to the manufacturer when deciding whether the gas dryer can be plugged into a power strip.

The owner’s guide for your dryer should list requirements like if the dryer needs its own 15 A individual circuit. In such a case, the gas dryer can be plugged into a power strip, but nothing else could be plugged into the power strip.

This would essentially make the power strip pointless as the goal of using a power strip is to allow for more connections.

Technically, a gas dryer pulls a fairly normal amount of power, requiring an average amperage. This would mean that if the manufacturer says to use an individual circuit, it’s most likely a precaution rather than a critical safety feature.

However, going against what the manufacturer says could have some implications for the warranty and your insurance.

For example, suppose your dryer was like the one described above and caused a fire. Suppose further that was that the dryer was plugged into a power strip that was being used by other appliances. This would go against what the manufacturer says.

This could result in the warranty being void and insurance not covering the fire.

Be Aware of How Many Receptacles Are on the Circuit

It’s also important to know how many receptacles and outlets are being supplied by the same circuit. This also means that you should take into account the energy demands of all the appliances that are being plugged in.

Even if the appliances are plugged into different outlets, one still needs to know just how much energy the appliances need, so that the circuit is not tripped when all the appliances are in use.

It is important to be thorough when checking to see if receptacles/outlets are on the same circuit as well. While normally, outlets closest to each other will be on the same circuit, this is not always the case.

Series of outlets and switch

It is also nearly impossible to tell which outlets are on which circuit just by looking or gauging their distance from one another. The best bet is to check the breaker box. Normally, breaker boxes are labeled with a description of where each circuit is supplying energy.

Determine if Receptacles/Outlets on Same Circuit

If your breaker box isn’t labeled, or you are unable to read the labels, the best way to check which outlets go to which circuits is fairly simple. All that is needed, is any small electronic that can be plugged into the outlets.

Using a lamp is probably the easiest. Here is what should be done:

  • Set the lamp to the on position.
  • Go to the breaker box, and select one circuit to turn off or the circuit that you think corresponds to the outlets you will be checking.
  • Go to the outlets you’re wondering about, and plug the lamp into them one at a time.
  • If the lamp turns on, then that outlet is not part of the circuit you’re considering.
  • If the lamp doesn’t turn on, then that outlet is part of the circuit that you’ve turned off.

Power Strips Encourage Circuit Overload

Power strips just ask to be overloaded. When you have something that needs to be plugged in, and you see that open spot on the power strip, it’s easy to gravitate to it and use up that available spot. It’s intuitive and almost unintentional to fill up a power strip to its capacity.

However, this can cause the whole circuit to trip. This also has the potential to damage the circuit itself and all the appliances that are connected to it. In the worst-case scenario, a fire could be started.

It is important to note, too, it isn’t solely a quantity issue. Several small energy-requiring appliances may be able to be used on a power strip, whereas two large power users may not.

Full power strip, man plugging on a power strip

When my oldest brother had a graduation party, we had three power strips to heat the food that was being provided.

Two of the power strips were almost full with smaller appliances, but one power strip had two slow cookers. The slow cooker power strip tripped the circuit multiple times, while the other power strips didn’t trip the circuit at all.

Only Use a Power Strip if Necessary

Power strips should only be used out of necessity rather than convenience or any other reason. Specifically, what matters in the case that has been looked at in this article, is how appliances are being plugged in for laundry matters.

Typically, it’s only the washer, dryer, and maybe an iron at times. The washer and dryer can share a circuit (but consult your manufacturer for more specific directions) but most likely a two-receptacle outlet will be needed for this.

This would mean that a power strip would be unnecessary in this case.

Plugging the washer, dryer, and iron into one power strip offers a higher chance of overloading and tripping the circuit. Laundry circuits normally have a rating of 20 A. Dryers can range from 4 to 30 A, with washers around 15 A.

These values alone are enough to put some strain on a circuit, so adding in a 10 A iron would push the circuit to its limits. If the circuit being used is a 20 A circuit, then all three appliances would almost certainly not be able to be used on the same circuit.

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