A large number of older houses have 3-prong outlet sockets. However, most, if not all, new dryers are designed with a 4-prong cord which makes it difficult to plug your new dryer into an older socket and use it. This problem originated back in 1999 when it was passed as a safety law that new dryers need to have 4-prong cords.
Wouldn’t it be convenient if there was an adapter plug that could easily solve this issue? Unfortunately, none currently exists. So, how do you fix this incompatibility problem? Actually, there are two simple ways to go about it; either by converting your 3-prong socket outlets to 4-prong outlets or by converting your 4-prong dryer cord to a 3-prong dryer cord. In the following guide, we will look in-depth at the second method which is converting a 4-prong dryer cord into a 3-prong cord.
Converting Your Dryer Cord to 3-Prong
Converting your dryer cord is one of the easiest ways to fix the problem, and you can do it yourself. By converting the cord, it will enable your dryer to fit into your existing socket easily. One reason it is considered a simple solution is that there is no electrical wiring needed.
A manual screwdriver
A 10/3 dryer cord
- Switch off your main electric panel to ensure there is no power in the dryer outlet. Though this may seem a bit extreme, it is advisable since you never know what might happen with electricity. In short, we are just being careful and preventive in this step.
- Use a manual screwdriver to remove the dryer’s safety plate. This won’t consume a lot of time as the drier normally comes with one or two screws.
- You now need to remove the dryer cord and its restraints. This is an easy task to do and can be done using bare hands since they are normally loose and very short. The collar that holds the cord tightly to the dryer is called the ‘restraint.’
- Having done the above, you should now be able to see a silver terminal. Connect it to the center wire of your new cord. When connecting, remember to screw it firmly in place, but do not tighten it too much as you may end up striping the cord.
- At this point, you should notice that you have two wires that are not attached to anything. If this is the case, then you are on the right track. You will notice that there are two terminals right next to the silver one which you just connected to the center cord. Attach the two wires to either of the terminals
- By now, you are more than a halfway done. However, this step is considered by many people to be complicated. It involves reattaching the restraint collar. What to do here is slide the collar halves from the tab end, starting from outside the dryer, with the first half going through the dryer cord hole where the normal wires fit.
- Do the same for the other half, but start from the other side. This allows the screws to pull the two halves easily, and tighten them well. It will take you quite some time to get it right because the two halves are barely parallel which makes it a little bit hard for the screws to hold on tightly. You do not need to make it perfect, if you just catch the tip, it will be good enough to screw tightly.
- Remember that you took off the safety plate, and now it is time to put it back into place. This is a very easy step, and you only need to hold it to the dryer and screw it in using the screwdriver. Mop up the area and you’re ready to go.
- With the above steps completed, you are now ready to use your dryer. Plug it back into the socket and use it anytime you wish. Just remember to switch the electricity back on, since you switched it off earlier.
The 4-prong cord has a ground with a dedicated terminal, so in order to avoid shock, you should seriously consider grounding your (newly modified) 3-cord dryer. Do this by attaching the ground strap frame to a neutral terminal post.
This is clearly a simple procedure you can do without any help, and you won’t need to hire an electrician. However, if you want to avoid any of the hassles, you may opt for an electrician if you feel it’s in your budget.