Because it includes working on the main service panel and running new circuit wires, this solution is often performed by a qualified electrician. Alternatively, you may use a three-prong cord and plug instead of the four-prong chord and plug. Under the electrical code, this is an allowed solution that "grandfathers in" previous systems. You should call your local utility company to determine if their lines are old enough to use three-prong outlets.
One option is to replace the existing circuit with a new four-wire cable and four-slot outlet, each with its own dedicated ground. This is an electrician's task, and it puts the circuit up to code. The alternative option is to use a three-prong cord instead of a four-prong cord. This means that you will need to replace the plug attached to the end of the old cord with a split tri-plug. You should only do this work if you are sure about what you are doing because there are dangers involved when working with electricity.
If you choose to replace the old wiring system and install a new four-wire cable and four-slot outlet, make sure to hire a professional electrical contractor for this job. An amateur attempt at replacing wires inside walls or ceilings can result in a major disaster such as a fire. If you choose to replace the old wiring system with a new three-prong cord, then also replace the old plug with a split tri-plug.
Both options require removing some wallboard or plaster to reach the wire running from floor to ceiling. Make sure to wear protective clothing and equipment while working on these lines. If they are not removed properly, you could damage other parts of the house when re-wiring.
You should also check all the wiring in the room to be sure it is all still connected before you start work.
You may either replace the receptacle with one that takes a 4-prong plug, which may necessitate the services of a qualified electrician who will need to connect a new 4-wire cable from the receptacle to the main circuit box, or you can modify the cord to a 3-wire configuration. This can be done by removing one of the white wires from the connector. The remaining black and red wires should be kept separate at all times to prevent electrical shock.
If you choose to modify the cord, make sure to follow the instructions below so you don't end up with two live circuits.
Also remember that you must keep those cords away from children and pets. If you do mess up, you can always replace the modified cord with another one.
No, you don't. It is not legal nor safe to install a four-prong outlet with only three wires. The wiring regulations in most areas of the United States require that all outlets have exactly four wires entering it: one black, one white, and two red. If you're lucky enough to live in an area where they're not required, then you can install four-prong outlets even if you only have three wires available.
If you're lucky enough to have a four-prong outlet but find that it has been damaged by water, then you should probably replace it. An electrical short circuit can happen when there is damage to the insulation around a conductor, which allows them to touch. When this happens, electricity flows through both lines and circuits, which can cause serious injury or death. By replacing lost outlets, you prevent this kind of danger.
The best way to ensure you have replaced all four wires at a single outlet is to replace the entire outlet assembly. This will also help prevent future problems with other outlets on that circuit. If necessary, refer to a local licensed electrician for more information on proper outlet replacement.
After removing the four-wire cord, insert the new three-wire chord and plug. The outer two wires of a flat, three-wire cable can be swapped, but never connect the center wire to anything other than the center terminal. There will be no green ground wire on your three-prong cable. This means that if you use this type of cable in an electrical system with metal piping, you must also run a metallic cable (copper or aluminum) between the wall and the dryer. Otherwise, you might get a shock when you touch them.
The old four-wire cord was used as a hot line, while the green and white wires were neutral and earth respectively. On a three-wire chord, only the black and red wires are available for power, so they must be connected to the correct terminals on the dryer.