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I just moved into an old home that has a three pronged wall jack as shown below:

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I have a newer dryer that has a four pronged wire. Please see the back of the dryer, I've removed the four pronged wire.

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I bought a new three pronged wire from home depot. Can I put that wire into this dryer and simple connect it to the wall? Is that safe? Will it work? If so, what do I do about the spot for the grounding wire? I would love to see a video/image of this being done.

In the past I've replaced a three pronged wire with a four pronged wire in a dryer and successfully connected it. But this time I'm trying to do the reverse..

I've fixed and already washed one round of clothes. Hopefully all is well :)

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On a side note, that receptacle looks like a NEMA 10-50R which is rated for 50A and is typically used for electric ranges. You might have trouble finding a "dryer" cord that fits, since dryers typically use NEMA 10-30 (14-30 for 4 prong) (rated for 30A). –  Tester101 Feb 25 '13 at 16:08
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1 Answer

What you are doing is done all the time, and there is no problem with it, if done properly. The fact is these 3 prong receptacles still exists in many older homes, and there is no requirement to upgrade an entire circuit simply to plug in a device. If you go out and purchase a new electric dryer, the seller will ask if you have a 3 or 4 prong receptacle. They will then sell you the appropriate cord, based on your answer (if you don't know, they'll probably sell you both and tell you to return the one you don't need, or offer their instillation services).


If you check the manufacturers installation instructions, there should be a procedure for connecting the dryer to a 3 prong receptacle. The procedure can very from manufacturer to manufacturer, so make sure you check the documentation for your specific dryer.

From a random whirlpool manual:

This dryer is manufactured ready to install with a 3-wire electrical supply connection. The neutral ground conductor is permanently connected to the neutral conductor (white wire) within the dryer. If the dryer is installed with a 4-wire electrical supply connection, the neutral ground conductor must be removed from the external ground connector (green screw), and secured under the neutral terminal (center or white wire) of the terminal block. When the neutral ground conductor is secured under the neutral terminal (center or white wire) of the terminal block, the dryer cabinet is isolated from the neutral conductor.

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