How to Convert a 4-Prong Dryer Cord to Fit a 3-Slot Outlet

When moving a newer electric dry into an older sign of the zodiac, it ‘s not uncommon to find that the cord and spark plug included with the new dry does n’t fit the 240-volt dry release. Before the mid-1990s, most electric clothes dryers operated with three-prong plugs that fit into three-slot outlets, but since 1996, the electric code has required four-slot outlets that accept lone four-wire cords .

The mismatch can work both ways : You may find that a newer dryer does n’t fit an older-style wall socket, or that an older clothes dry does n’t fit a newer wall socket. Some new dryers, in fact, do n’t include baron cords at all, allowing consumers to buy the type of cord that matches their situation .

Three-Slot vs. Four-Slot Outlets

The change in electric dry plugs and outlets was made for enhance base hit. In a traditional three-slot 240-volt mercantile establishment, there are two slots that carry hot current, plus a third gear slot that serves as both the ground connection and the neutral connection. These represent to the two hot and one neutral/ground wire in the three-prong cord. In these older configurations, the alloy subject of the dry has a grind screw that is connected to the neutral cable terminal of the dry. In the event of a short circumference, the electrical current is intended to travel on the neutral cable back to the breaker box .

however, this configuration carries a slightly higher risk of shock to the drug user in the event that the alloy case of the dry becomes electrified. besides, in the case of a separate grate cable, the entire publicize wire and the dry lawsuit would be energized, allowing for the potential of shock. This led to the introduction of four-slot outlets and four-wire appliance cords. In up-to-date installations, the grate and neutral have separate pathways, thereby reducing the probability of accidental shock .

Do n’t panic if you have the older, three-slot dry mercantile establishment. The electrical Code allows this to remain in seat, and you are allowed to replace the four-prong cord with a three-prong cord to match this mercantile establishment .


Watch Now: How to Change a 4-Prong Dryer Cord to Fit a 3-Slot Outlet

Before You Begin

If you are faced with the trouble of a dry punch and dry mercantile establishment that do n’t match, there are two possible remedies. One is to replace the honest-to-god circuit by installing a newly four-wire cable and a four-slot exit, each with a dedicated land. This is a subcontract for an electrician, and it brings the circumference up to code .

The other option is to replace the four-prong cord with a three-prong cord. This is an permissible remedy under the electric code, which “ grandfathers in ” older installations. It is only new installations where the four-slot dry receptacles are required ; existing three-slot receptacles are allowed to remain .


even though you will be working on the dry while it is unplug, it is best to be cautious and shut off the circuit powering the dry before you unplug it or plug it back in. Simply replacing the dry cord is by far the easier solution and the one that most DIYers pursue when they are faced with the problem .

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