I have a Roper dryer and the cord that it has does not configure with the plug in on my wall. So I went to Home Depot and the guy that helped me handed me the cord he said I needed and when I got home I took a look at it and noticed that the cord he gave me was a 4 prong and my outlet is a 3 prong. Now my question is... I was told by some people that it is possible to remove the full circle prong and then use it as a 3 prong. Is that correct?

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    Can you turn the power off to the dryer at the breaker box, open up the dryer outlet, take a clear photo of the back of the outlet box, and post that photo? Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 11:44
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    There are 3 and 4 prong variants for dryer cords, but the prongs are not compatible. Even if you cut one off it wouldn't fit.
    – JPhi1618
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 14:30
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    It would really, really, really help us to see a photo of the socket in the wall. Can you at least tell us: Is it one of these?? Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 20:11

1 Answer 1


The 4-wire connection includes hot, hot, neutral, ground. The 3-wire connection includes hot, hot, neutral, but no ground. The basic premise is that older houses only had the 3-wire receptacles and since ground is essentially the same as neutral, and dryers are rarely moved/replaced, let the 3-wire connections continue to be used. However, when something goes wrong, having ground the same as neutral can be deadly.

Almost every dryer built in the past 30 years or so can be wired up 3-wire or 4-wire. If it is 3-wire, there is a jumper (short piece of wire and/or a screw in the right place) to connect ground and neutral. If it is switched to 4-wire, that piece of wire or screw is removed.

NEVER mess around with the actual plug. Either use a 3-wire plug with a 3-wire receptacle or, preferably, use a 4-wire plug with a 4-wire receptacle.

It is possible to replace a 3-wire receptacle with a safer 4-wire receptacle. However, the amount of work involved varies quite a bit depending on the particular situation:

  • Dryer receptacle near main panel - easy
  • Ground wire available, just not connected - easy
  • Metal conduit from receptacle to main panel - easy
  • None of the above - hard - need to run a new cable (all the wires) and/or a ground wire, or install GFCI protection instead of ground

There are a bunch of questions on DIY about this, such as How to tell if Nema outlets have been successfully brought up to code?

  • The problem is... The cord that fits the outlet on my wall as far as configuration of the prongs has 4 prongs and I need it to have 3 to be able to get plugged in. I went to home Depot to get a converter to make the original dryer Cord which has 3 prongs but are placed differently than the outlet, and the person that helped me said that no one sells converters for dryer cords and said that the only cord they had that would work was the one he handed me. But its 4 prongs not 3. Do u know where I could get a plug converter Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 6:32
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    @TrishaRayfield - You do not want to use a converter. Shop around and find the proper three prong cord. Take a picture of your wall receptacle along with you when you go shopping. - Or in the much better and safer situation look into getting your 3 prong receptacle changed to a proper 4 prong with the separate safety ground.
    – Michael Karas
    Commented Sep 16, 2019 at 9:34

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