Just got a new dryer yesterday, and the installation instructions say I need a strain relief for the power cord. Unfortunately, the delivery guys took my old dryer for recycling and only left the cord - no strain relief. Is the strain relief absolutely necessary? Seems they are only sold with new cords, and I'm trying to avoid spending money needlessly.

  • 1
    Is the old cord the unsafe 3-prong type? You should really seize the moment to upgrade to the safe 4-prong receptacle and cord. Which your new dryer probably came with, and the installers absconded with. Upgrading to a 4-prong receptacle involves running a separate ground wire from dryer location to service panel, and removing the ground/neutral bootleg strap on the dryer. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Aug 18 '17 at 20:31

Yes, for legality and safety. Dryers in particular move a lot, and you don't want your conductors wearing through on the sharp edges of the chassis and electrifying the entire unit or starting a fire.

There's often one built into the dryer. It may be reversed for shipping. Otherwise they're readily available at hardware and home improvement stores for a buck or two.

  • For those that wonder how a dryer moves a lot.... VIBRATION. (And yes, vibration on the unclamped cord entering the dryer can cause a fire.) – Tyson Aug 18 '17 at 15:53
  • It's generally accepted that there are around 3000 dryer fires a year, according to NFPA & FEMA. 1/3 of those is accepted to be lack of cleaning the lint trap, or drying something that is highly flammable. So, about 2000 dryer fires are mechanical. Probably safe to say a majority of those fires are mechanical in nature, due to failure of heating elements or timers. According to Statista, and I think we'd all agree, 80% of US homes has a dryer. Currently, there are 116 million households. So, doing the math, even if ALL 2000 fires were caused by 'lack of a strain relief on a cord', ... – NPM Aug 18 '17 at 20:40
  • ...(con't)...which they are not, that chance is, well, my calculator doesn't even go that low, but the math is 2000/116000000. To say lack of the strain relief will cause a fire is a stretch, by anyone's imagination. Let's just say hypothetically, it could cause a fire, but you could win the lotto many times before that might happen. Sorry, but just get annoyed to see so many people given advice by lawyers, rather than common sense. At least give a common sense option for answers. – NPM Aug 18 '17 at 20:40
  • Just to make it clear it is the lint that catches fire in almost every dryer Fire and they are not due to electrical problems but the exhaust lines not being cleaned. – Ed Beal Aug 18 '17 at 23:09

Strain-relief hardware is readily available at an electrical supply house. This is not a retail store, they are in industrial parks and keep bankers hours, but will happily trade with the public. Except 0-1 cars in the parking lot, no well lit showroom, and a service desk with very knowledgeable staff. Take some photos with your phone and show them.

  • Usually just a metal strap with 2 holes that screws attach to the point where the cord comes out. – Ed Beal Aug 18 '17 at 23:06

Why take a chance. Be safe for the long run. Dryer relief bracket costs $5-$10 and takes under 10 minutes to install. Like others said clean out the dryer vent regularly or at least occassionally.

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