How to Replace a 3-Prong Dryer Cord With a 4-Prong Cord

due to changes in the National Electrical Code ( NEC ), recommended electrify for electric clothes dry outlets changed in 1996. Before the change, dry outlets were 3-slot devices that accepted 3-prong cords. This shape did not include a dedicate flat coat connection ; the dry ‘s equipment ground ( case grate ) was connected to the inert conductor in the dry cord and the family circuit .

Since the code change, raw dry outlets must be wired with branch neutral and crunch wires. These outlets have four slots and will accept only 4-prong electric cords. Homeowners owning older dryers with 3-prong cords are sometimes perplexed when they move into a home that has a newer 4-slot release. In this exemplify, the solution is to replace the honest-to-god 3-prong cord with a 4-prong cord to match the newly wall socket. fortunately, it is a identical easy project .

however, be mindful that it ‘s placid legal to use 3-slot outlets—the code has no requirement that they must be replaced with 4-slot outlets. This is why fresh clothes dryers are broadly sold without any power cord at all, so that you can install whatever cord style matches your wall socket .

What Is the Difference in Wiring ?

The key remainder in the wiring shape between 3-prong and 4-prong cords is that, with the older setup, the 3-prong cord has merely two hot wires and one neutral wire—there is no divide ground cable. consequently, the dry ‘s achromatic wire was tied to the ground connection on the alloy case of the dry. Such a shape creates a prospect of shock in the rare case that the reason wire opened up. The bare wire would be energized, trying to return current to the beginning. The old 3-prong configuration would tripper the surf in the case of a short circuit circuit, but in the broken prime condition, the entire bare grind and metal case would be energized. This was the reason the code changed to require the 4-wire configuration .

A 4-prong cord, by contrast, has a separate ground wire, which means that the dry ‘s neutral and anchor are not connected together, thereby minimizing the chances that the appliance ‘s alloy character will become excite during an overt neutral condition. When you convert from the 3-prong to the 4-prong shape, you must make sure that the dry ‘s neutral terminal is not connected to the encase ground .

safety Considerations

Because you are not working on family circuit wires while installing the cord, this is a very safe project. But it is crucial that the wire connections you make when attaching the cord to the appliance are adjust and identical impregnable. loose connections can lead to brusque circuits and sparking once the appliance is plugged in for manipulation.

  • Give a good tug on each wire as you complete the connection to make sure it is secure. 
  • Always attach the strain-relief fitting. This will relieve pressure on the wire connections that can occur when the appliance is moved around. 


never hack in a dry cord unless it ‘s in full connected to the dry. Plugging in a cord sends 240 volts of electricity to the denude cable ends of the cord. If the ends refer together or touch you, they ‘ll create a potentially deadly curtly circumference .

Replacing a 3-Prong Electrical Dryer Cord With a 4-Prong Cord

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