I recently bought a new house and the dryer cord (plug) - three prong
- didn't match the outlet on the wall (4-prong). So, I bought a three
prong outlet and switched them out, but now there is a ground wire
just "hanging out" behind the outlet and I don't know if this will
cause problems or will short anything out. Any advice would be
Oh yeah, and I installed the new outlet before I was informed that one
could just as easily switch out the dryer cord and plug - but wouldn't
I run into the same problem even if I did it this way?
You really should change the outlet back and rewire the dryer with a
4-prong cord. Dryers are designed to work with either and it's really
easy to do. The 4-prong is marginally safer, and it's a violation of
the electrical code to revert a 4-wire back to a 3, but it's probably
done all the time.
If you're not gonna change it, just tuck the green wire in where it
won't touch anything. Tape up the end if you want.
I think you should change it back.
And, if she finds a moment, she should call the store's manager and suggest
that the sales staff be trained properly. I just bought a dryer. The guy
told me he wouldn't schedule the delivery until I called him back and told
him what kind of socket I have. Smart salesman.
I hope that was a joke. There are both 3 and 4 wire 220v systems. In Ohio
it seemed taht most people have 3 wire systems. When we moved to AZ we
discovered the socket for both the stove and dryer were for 4 wire
connection. Checking our dryer manual, it gave directions for both 3 and 4
wire connections. All we needed was a new cord/plug.
By no stretch of the imagination would a dryer be designed to operate on
220v/4-wire OR 110v/3-wire.
3 wire was the standard for years now it is 4 wire. When I bought my new
dryer they tried to give me an 3 wire cord. I did get the 4 wire one that
Using the neutral as a ground is dangerous. Convert it back and do it right.
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Yes, you should replace the cord and plug with the 4-wire version, and
properly connect the equipment ground conductor in the cord to the dryer
case. There should be a terminal for that purpose.
You should also locate and disconnect the bonding jumper inside the dryer
which electrically connects the frame and the neutral. With appliances that
did not have provision for an equipment grounding conductor, the neutral was
bonded to the frame.
If you convert the dryer to 4-wire and don't remove this jumper, then the
neutral and equipment ground will be connected within the appliance. That is
not allowed "downstream" of the service panel, and for good reason: If they
are connected, then the ground path back to the service is electrically in
parallel with the neutral and will carry current. This can result in a
dangerous "touch voltage" on the dryer case and on the electrcal boxes,
conduit and anything else that is connected to the equipment ground.
If you can't figure out how to connect the equipment ground to the case and
disconnect the bonding jumper, I encourage you to call an electrician or
appliance repair tech to do it for you.
However, there are many appliance techs and even some electricians who do not
understand the importance of disconnecting the internal neutral bond on a
4-wire appliance. It hasn't helped that some manufacturer's instructions are
badly written or dead wrong. (Frigidaire's instructions at one point stated
that the neutral and ground were both to be connected to the case bonding
220 service does not need a neutral. Line 1 and line 2 would
normally be black and red on residential service, though there is
no mandatory color scheme on line or load. Green is ground, by
code. It should be hooked up to the circuit. White is neutral.
Your dryer does not need it. It is there for new code. Some
appliances have 220 and 110 items in them. 110 requires the
Keep the whole world singing . . . .
DanG (remove the sevens)
Hey Dan #1 don't top post!
#2 what voltage do the motor, timer and electronics work on? Could it be
ohhhh 110? You do need the neutral! Yes you do need the ground.
OP didn't the installers have the correct cord with them? Geez you changed
the wrong part. Back to work. Hey why bother with a ground? It's only water
and electricity and your life.
The motor and controls in North American dryers run on 115 volts. The
practice for years was to use the neutral as the Equipment Grounding
Conductor for these appliances. The problem that causes is that any
failure in the neutral will raise the voltage on the entire frame of the
dryer to 115 volts.
When a separate Equipment Grounding Conductor (EGC) is run with the
branch circuit and the bonding strap is not used any failure of the
neutral just causes the dryer to stop operating without energizing the
If, and only if the dryer has the correct cord you did fine. An older dryer
could possibly be wired this way. A new dryer would need a four wire cord.
If the dryer needed a four wire cord, then you have problems!
I'm not sure he did fine, even if the cord is correct. He disconnected
the ground, not the neutral. With the old three wire configuration the wires
are ground, hot, hot. I would at least replace the white with ground for
proper ground to the instrument frame. Those old three wire devices didn't
need neutral because they are only 230v, not needing 120v. The wire that is
unnecessary is the white one, not the green one.
Better yet, if capable he should convert the device to a four wire as
above, removing the bonding jumper as above. He'll have to sell the house
sometime, and a modern 4-wire box should be left as is for the future owner.
Some newer driers have 110 volt gadgets in them, such as clock, or timer.
And so, it's a safety thing to have a dedicated neutral for the 110 volt
This isn't a problem for you (using a three wire dryer). But folks who turn
a four wire dryer into a three wire plug could have trouble. It would
probably run safely for many years with a three wire socket, but it can be
possible (if unlikely) to be an electric shock hazzard.
I suggest put the four wire socket back in, and put the four wire cord on.
Only cause the new dryers of the world (is that a political rally? "New
dryers of the world unite!") are four wire. Make it easier for the next guy.
If you leave the three wire in, you can put the white and green into the
same terminal of the socket. Both go back to the neutral bar of the electric
Careful! This is a *really* bad idea if the dryer circuit is on a
subpanel rather than the main panel (the OP didn't say.) She might even
be in a mobile home, where connecting both wires to the same terminal
could energize the whole trailer frame in case of a fault.
Any case where the green and white are on the same terminal would be a three
wire dryer. (like the original poster has). I doubt a three wire dryer has a
neutral that carries current.
Put the green on the box is a good idea, though.
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