I recently bought a new dryer, and it's designed to operate at 30 amps. However, the plug I have for the dryer is a three-prong 50-amp plug. enter image description here The 30-amp dryer cable was replaced with a 50-amp cable, typically used for stoves, when the appliance was delivered. enter image description here While the plug is a three-prong 50-amp configuration, I'm unsure about the compatibility and safety aspects of using this setup for my 30-amp dryer. enter image description here I'd appreciate some guidance on whether it's safe to use the 50-amp plug and wire for my 30-amp dryer. The wiring to the plug and breaker specifications are unclear to me, and I want to ensure there are no potential risks associated with this setup. Any insights or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!


Here is the plug opened up enter image description here

  • 5
    Nope, noppeity nope nope nope. Let's get that "suspiciously missing the corner screws" 10-50 receptacle pulled out from the wall and see what you have for wires, and if there's even a box behind it, which the apparent lack of screws suggests might be missing. If the building is older than 1996 it's slightly possible you could choose to rewire this for the unsafe 10-30 cord that's been outlawed for new installations for more than 27 years, but odds are it either has more violations hiding, or there's a ground wire you can use for a nice safe 14-30 4-wire plug set.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 16, 2023 at 21:05
  • 3
    Using bigger/larger wire is always okay within reason. The problem is that is a 10-30 outlet, hot, hot, neutral. While you are allowed to use it since it is there, it was banned for newer uses in 1996 for being unsafe. It is highly recommend to upgrade to a 14-30 circuit that includes a ground wire.
    – crip659
    Aug 16, 2023 at 21:08
  • 2
    @Ecnerwal I added an image of the insides of that plug. Looks like the ground is there but just screwed to the box.
    – Tim
    Aug 16, 2023 at 21:27
  • 8
    Sheet metal screws in machine-thread holes! That’s… special.
    – nobody
    Aug 17, 2023 at 2:48

1 Answer 1


The receptacle and plug are the unsafe NEMA 10 (Hot, Hot, Neutral, NO GROUND) style.

I suspect something fishy with the receptacle, because there should be screws in at least two of the outer corners, and there are none visible. It appears to be held in place only by caulking and/or chewing gum.

enter image description here

That may mean that the genius who installed this didn't use a junction box behind that faceplate. That would need to be fixed.

If the breaker is 50A, it needs to be reduced to 30 if that's the size your dryer calls for.

If you care about safety, the receptacle should be replaced with the NEMA-14 (Hot, Hot, Neutral, Ground) 4-prong type, with a proper ground wire. An alternative is to use a GFCI 30A breaker and mark the receptacle "GFCI Protected, no equipment ground"

enter image description here

Your updated picture indicates that you HAVE Hot, Hot, Neutral, and an (unused, other than grounding the box) Ground, so you just need to replace that 10-50 with a 14-30, and get a proper 14-30 4-wire cord, and wire your cord to the dryer following the 4-wire connection scheme. Also make sure the breaker is only 30A.

  • 6
    OP lucked out - should be a not very expensive upgrade to the proper safe grounded modern plug and receptacle.
    – Armand
    Aug 17, 2023 at 4:16
  • 4
    It's shocking (pun intended) how often this is the case, and some prior person downgraded the receptacle to match an old cord on an old dryer.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 17, 2023 at 12:32
  • Replaced the receptacle and the cable yesterday to the 4 prong 14-30. The dryer works great. Thank you all for the inputs!
    – Tim
    Aug 17, 2023 at 21:38

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