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How to use 3 prong dryer cord in a 4 prong outlet?

I just moved to a house that has a 4 prong dryer outlet. My dryer is from the 1970s and has a 3 prong cord. I love my dryer and want to keep it (don't make them like they used to!) What is the best way to get this to work? Can I simply change the dryer cord or should I change the outlet?

Thank you!

9 Answers

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  • 5 years ago

    you have two choices. You either change the outlet or easier is just go buy the right cord for the outlet. Go to any DIY place and they will have what you need. The cord runs in the $20+ range. I just had to go through that with a stove I bought and they brought and charged me for a 4 prong when I needed a three prong. I thought they should have asked and I would have had to go look but then the right thing would have been brought and installed by the guys that were supposed to do it.

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  • Irv S
    Lv 7
    5 years ago

    Buy a 4 prong cord and plug set of the required size at the hardware.

    (NEMA number of the outlet.)

    Your old 3 prong dryer Had connections fir: Line A - (Black), Line B -(Red). Neutral, and Ground', and bonded the 'Neutral' and 'Ground' connections together.

    There will be instructions with the cord about separating the two, but

    as long as you get the 'Line' connections right, and the other two are solid

    they rarely make a problem if not totally separated.

    There is only a small additional safety margin in isolating Neutral from

    ground as both conductors are linked at the Electrical service point

    Source(s): Retired Electrical Consultant
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  • 5 years ago

    Change the cord, changing the receptacle to a 3 wire is less safe and a NEC (National Electrical Code) violation when 4 wires exist in the outlet junction box. If you got 4 wires you got to use a 4 prong outlet.

    You will need to figure out how to disconnect the frame of the dryer from the center silver screw, then connect the green wire to the frame.

    Just for reference to rebuff the idea of changing the receptacle here is the exception in the code that specifies the only time when 3 wire appliance receptacles are now allowed:

    NEC 250.140 Frames of Ranges and Clothes Dryers http://freenec.com/T95.html

    Exception: for existing branch-circuit installation only where an equipment grounding conductor is not present in the outlet or junction box, the frames of electric ranges...clothes dryers, and outlet or junction boxes that are part of the circuit for these appliances shall be permitted to be connected to the grounded circuit conductor...

    (grounding conductor is the ground, grounded is the neutral)

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  • Gary C
    Lv 7
    5 years ago

    You can change your dryer's 3-prong cord for a 4-prong one.

    Apparently, the 4-prong arrangement is somewhat safer.

    Here's an explanation of the situation:

    https://fredsappliance.com/service/3-prong-vs-4-pr...

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  • 5 years ago

    More important than the cord is the rating of the outlet and how the breaker or fuse on it protects your appliance. Technically a dedicated outlet and circuit serving a single appliance has to have the breaker rated to the amp rating of the appliance. What is the rating on the existing circuit? If it is 50 amps and your dryer is a 30 amp unit, you ought replace the breaker or fuses with 30 amp and then you change the outlet to match the appliance plug (having the existing larger wire is not a problem), But in practical terms you can just switch the plug on the dryer -- I've done it myself. Just make sure you wire it correctly.

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  • 5 years ago

    lowes or home depot will have a 4 prong cord that you can mount to your dryer, almost always I have to change the cord when installing in a new house. its fairly easy though

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  • 5 years ago

    check you tube for answer and video that will show you what to do

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  • R K
    Lv 7
    5 years ago

    just change the outlet.

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  • 5 years ago
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