Three and Four Prong Dryer Power Cord Replacement

My wife is a garage sale addict. “Addict,” I’ll admit, is probably too strong of a characterization. So let’s just say that when she sees or hears or reads about a garage sale, she reacts like those salivating Pavlovian dogs did when they heard a bell ring.

No, this isn’t about garage sales. But this tale does begin at one. Yes, my wife found her way to a garage sale. Yes, she couldn’t resist the “bargains” she found there (isn’t everything at a garage sale a “bargain”?).

I’ll admit, this time my wife’s purchase made me smile, and I say this because I’m not usually enthused about her garage sale acquisitions, mainly because we have enough “stuff” around our house. But this time she did us well, acquiring (among other things) a not-too-old, not-too-used, not-too-bad-looking Kenmore 80 series clothes dryer for just $20. Yup, twenty bucks.

See, the one we have at home is coughing and sputtering, surefire signs of its imminent death. And seeing that our budget is tight, picking up a dryer for just twenty bucks was an answer to our prayers.

So we get the replacement dryer home and the task of moving out the old one and putting in the “new” one falls on my shoulders. I enjoy tinkering around the house and fancy myself as a home improvement wannabe, so I am agreeable to this. No problem

Well, there is a problem. Upon removing the old dryer and placing the “new” dryer, I discover a glaring glitch: the old one has a three-prong plug and the new one has a four-prong plug. This means that unless I come up with a solution, our newly acquired replacement is destined for the dryer resale market (i.e. a future garage sale at our house). In all my tinkering, I didn’t even realize that there are three-prong and four-prong plugs. I just assumed that all dryers have the same number of prongs.

What to do? Like I often do when I reach an impasse, I turn to Google, which leads me to many responses, including one from good ol’ AC.

In short, I find my answer, which is to remove the power cord from the old dryer (unplugging it first, of course) and to install it on the new dryer. I’m always apprehensive when working with electrical things, and prior to my Google foray, I have visions of having to use a soldering gun and doing fancy kind of thingamajig wiring mumbo jumbo.

But the job turns out to be very intuitive (meaning, even a dummy electrical clod like me can do it), and all I need is a Phillips screwdriver, a regular screwdriver, and a small crescent wrench. Though there are many pics and schematics given on the web, I don’t even have to refer to any of those as I do the work. It is that simple

The real test was if the “new” dryer will run after I plug it in with the replacement cord. Yes, it does. And my house doesn’t burn down either.

For those who lack a three-prong power cord for a three-prong outlet, you can buy three-prong dryer power cords at a local hardware store for under $15.

If you need a reference, or if you have doubts about my testimony of simplicity, know that if the dryer cord does have colored wires, white is the neutral wire that goes to the center connector. The red and black wires are the hot live wires which connect to the 2 outer connections of the dryer terminal block. Know that the green ground strap, which is connected to the dryer frame, should also go to the center connector.

If in doubt, seek the help of a professional. I felt confident enough to give this a go without help and all went well. I hope it goes well for you, too.

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