Reuse of electric cord


Old 09-18-07, 11:05 AM
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Reuse of electric cord

It seems like I might have to replace my electric dryer.

It is 3 prong outlet. Can I reuse cord from my old/current dryer? I am basically trying to save $20.
New appliances delivery service don't use old cord.

Is there any thing I need to keep in mind for using older cord like 220 V or 110 V.

I assume when we talk about 220v or 110 it is the function of appliance not the cord. Is it correct?

Cord has 3 connector which are attached to the dryer via screws, does all dryer have 3 connector?
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Old 09-18-07, 05:10 PM
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As long as you are not changing your dryer circuit to the new 4-wire, then you can use your 3-wire cord.

!!*Just be sure to read any instructions provided with your dryer regarding the electrical connections - because this involves a jumper wire which connects the terminal block's neutral terminal to the metal case of the dryer.*!!
Old 09-18-07, 08:18 PM
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Smile need more explanation

New dryer will go into the same place. Could some please explain to me in layman's terms.

My current electric outlet has 3 prongs and my electric cord which goes to the current dryer basically consists of 3 wires and dryer also has 3 terminals. Wire are attached to dryer circuit by screws.

New dryer I don't know how it would look like?

Q1: 3 or 4 prongs on electric cord are due what is on the electric outlet in the house, correct?

Q2: Does all dryers have 3 terminals for the electric cord?

Q3: Middle of electric cord will to the middle terminal of dryer's electric circuit. How would right or left cord end go to which terminal of dryer's electric circuit?

Old 09-18-07, 09:44 PM
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It always makes me nervous when someone asks such basic questions regarding electricity. Remember, if you do this wrong, you could burn down the house. It's always recommended to pick up and read a few books on wiring before doing something like this.
Old 09-19-07, 06:42 AM
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Hello: asi

I moved your question out of the electric appliances repair topic since the nature of the question has nothing to do with appliance repairs.

The question pertains to an electrical hook up of the appliance. In this topic, the electrical professionals will be better able to provide you with the advice needed.

In my opinion, it is always best to electrically connect an appliance of any type per the manufacturers instructions. All delivery and installation persons must install the machine per instructions. Never likely to reuse an old cord... Not the best nor safest method.

In this instance, if the new machine is a four wire connection, it is for a valid reason. Connecting the machine per instructions is in your best interests. And for the machines safest method of operation.

Which may require a complete new rewiring of the electrical circuity from the main panel to the wall outlet or a direct hard wire connection.
Old 09-19-07, 07:14 AM
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Years ago electric dryers in North America were wired with three wires. Three wires are less safe than four wires and new electrical wiring for dryers must be with four wires.

The three wires are two hot wires (each is 120 volts which together make 240 volts) and a combination ground/neutral. In this setup the metal frame of the dryer is connected to the third wire by a jumper.

When four wires are used the two hot wires are the same, but the ground and neutral wire are separate. In this case the jumper for connecting the metal frame of the dryer to the third wire is removed, and the metal frame of the dryer is connected to the fourth wire, the ground wire.

When already in place wiring for an electric dryer exists that is three wire it is allowed to be used. It is considered grandfathered.

For this reason, dryers are manufactured such that either a three wire or four wire cord can be used. However, it is necessary to follow the directions that come with the dryer so that the installation is safe.

The best thing you can do is to check your wiring. If in fact you actually have four wires or you can easily convert to four wires, you should. In this case you will need to buy a new cord in addition to the new receptacle.

If you only have three wires and cannot easily convert to four wires then go ahead and leave the receptacle at three wires. In this case you can use the old dryer cord unless it is damaged (such as cracked or cut).

In both cases, make certain that the dryer is properly configured for the number of wires used.

If you have any doubts or don't want to do this yourself, call an electrician.

Last edited by racraft; 09-19-07 at 11:44 AM.
Old 09-19-07, 08:33 AM
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You may re-use the existing cord as long as it's not damaged, but you need to follow the manufacturer's installation instructions for the new dryer. The dryer will have instructions for 3-wire connection and for 4-wire connection; be sure to follow the 3-wire instructions.

The 3-wire instructions will require you to attach each of the three cord leads to a screw terminal, and you will have to install a bonding screw or strap that should be provided with the dryer. This is an essential step!
Old 09-19-07, 11:07 AM
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I would modify the above to: you can _probably_ reuse your old cord.

1) The cord must be in serviceable condition; if the insulation is cracked (or even brittle), if the terminals are worn, etc., then replace the cord.

2) The cord must fit the new dryer. It is _probably_ the case that the new dryer uses the same sort of standard terminals, and it is _probably_ the case that the dryer may be configured for a three wire hookup. But the only way to be certain is for you to check the manual for the new dryer. The new dryer should have very specific instructions about how to make a three wire connection, and what should be done with the 'grounding jumper' and terminal block.

Old 09-21-07, 12:05 PM
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I sell dryers for a living and I always tell my customers: If it's time to replace the dryer, it's time to replace the cord. Our policy is that you don't have to buy it from us, but it has to be UL listed and in a sealed package. I happen to wear an orange apron, but have worked at other stores and their policies were the same. Hand the new 3 prong cord to the delivery guys when they bring in the new dryer and let them worry about where all the wires go. Make sure they install the clamp that comes with it (they often "forget").

Otherwise, they won't wait for you to figure things all out and get them in place so the dryer can be tested BEFORE they leave (hauling away the old dryer that at least worked a little...).

Doug M.
Old 09-21-07, 03:26 PM
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I used to work at a Circuit City, back when they tried selling appliances.

The cord was one of those things that made the sales guy $5 or so. That type of commission was reserved for big markup items.

Reuse the cord, save yourself some bucks. Unless you've been playing hopscotch with it.
Old 09-21-07, 08:14 PM
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There seems to be a lot of debate whether to reuse or not reuse. The answer is simple. It's up to you and up to the cord.

If the cord's in good condition and is rated for your new dryer, then it becomes a personal decision. If the jacket is torn at all or the prongs are loose, get rid of it.

If you choose to install a 4-wire, it's really not that difficult. You already have your 2 hots and a neutral. All you need is a ground. The NEC allows electrical conduit to be a ground conductor. If your laundry outlet is run in metal pipe from the panel to the laundry outlet, you don't need an extra wire. All you have to do is pigtail a 10 gauge ground wire to the back of your box via a ground screw and you've got you ground wire. This is a very easy fix and you'll be a lot safer. In order to be able to do this though, the entire raceway and any boxes along the way have to be metal. Also, local codes trump national code, so you'd have to check to make sure that EMT (electrical metallic tubing) is suitable for an equipment ground in your area.

If you really want to do it right, run an extra wire back to the panel. If simply pulling another wire through conduit, use a 10 gauge wire. If running new cable, use a 10/3 w/ ground NM cable.. You can even run the ground wire by itself if it is at least a 6 gauge and is run so that it is protected from physical harm (inside walls or in joists). If you add an extra wire, make sure to bond the outlet box still with a ground pigtail.

To see how both the outlet and the cord is to be wired for either 3 or 4-wire, you can go to :

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