Adventures of a Modern Day, Middle-Aged Hero, on the Glory Road(to family security)


Taking me down a peg.

Moving in seemed to go pretty well today.  I had training today, so I was able to swing a coffee by for my wife, but other than that, buy the time I made it home, it was all over.  The movers were gone, the cable guy had come and gone, and the only thing left to go was go get the pizza.

After dinner, I learned that not everything had gone perfectly.  There was a problem in the laundry room...the house has a 3-prong 220 outlet, while our one year old dryer has a 4-prong 220 plug.  Given my recent success with shelving, I was feeling up to the challenge of replacing the outlet on the wall myself.  A quick trip to Ace to buy the new outlet, and then I headed to the breaker box.

My confidence didn't last long.  I got the front plate off the outlet, and then I couldn't even figure out how to get the existing wires out of the existing outlet, let alone get enough wire to work with to connect them into the new outlet.  Plus, I wasn't 100% certain that what I thought was a ground wire was actually a ground wire. 

I might be dumb, but I'm not stupid.  Electricity is not something I'm willing to be risky with.  I backed out, and admitted my failure to my wife, along with my opinion that we should just call an electrician.  I'd rather pay a couple of bucks than burn down a house we just bought.


  1. I've found it WAY easier to replace the cord on the dryer. A few screws and you're done. The cord(s) I've needed (3 houses, 3 different configs) have all come w/ nice grommets (no bare wire). Just be sure to match the wall outlet; there must be 20 different 220 configs. You really shouldn't need an electrician for this, as the dryer isn't hot while you work on it. Best of luck!

  2. As long as the proper breaker is turned off, you won't get shocked. (I used to be an electrician when I was younger)

  3. Brave but smart too! While some might know that, and some this, and advice comes and goes, if I don't know what I am doing, within strong parameters, I have to rent it out. Electricity, for now, is one of those things. Good call. And my guess is your wife appreciated you knowing your limits. Glad to see it mostly all coming together for you though.

  4. Jeb, that might not be advisable; the change to 4-wire adds (IIRC) a neutral conductor to the two hots and ground of the older 240 mains socket.

    And while it's (usually!) safe with the breaker off, I advise sniffing with a voltage indicator, in case somebody mislabled the breaker box. And yeah -- if you open it up and it's a puzzle, call a pro!