Clothes Dryer Power Cords

by Rich Finzer

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"Psst, hey buddy, have I got a deal for you. Here's what I'm gonna do. You give me ninety bucks and I'll sell you something you might not even need. And I'll employ scare tactics, implied threats, innuendo, and retail razzmatazz to make you believe you've got to have this little number or the entire planet will spin out of orbit! So how about it pal?" Of course, I have no idea what you might say, but when I was confronted with this exact same episode of retail chicanery, I calmly and firmly said "NO." So just what was this dude trying to sell me? The answer is a new power cord for the electric dryer I had just purchased. And all this time you probably thought that like most other electrical appliances, an electric dryer automatically came with a power cord, right? Wrong.

In order to keep dryer prices artificially low, manufacturers no longer supply a power cord with the unit. This forces every first time dryer buyer to spring for a power cord. But, if you're replacing a worn out/broken dryer with a new one, you can simply disconnect the old power cord and reattach it to the new unit. The installation instructions explain exactly how to do this, and best of all, it only takes a few minutes time. However, appliance salesmen don't want you to know that. Instead, they'll counter that the store won't install the new dryer unless you buy a new cord. This is the equivalent of a new car salesman insisting that you must replace your garage if you buy a new ride!

Electric dryers run on 220V power and the power cords must be oversize to accommodate this heavier load. Given the run up in copper prices, it explains why a power cord sells for so much. The funny thing is that the salesman didn't try to sell me a new 220V power outlet for my wall. Why? Because the appliance store didn't sell 220V outlets, that's why!

Now back to my travails. When the dryer salesman realized I was not going to buy the new power cord, he changed tactics and tried to sell me a new dryer vent kit for $20. I refused to buy that too. Instead I stopped by the big orange home improvement store (you know the one) and picked up a kit for $9.99. It was the same exact dryer vent kit, but it just cost me half as much.

When my new dryer was delivered, the installers went right ahead and swapped out the existing cord from my old dryer. When I mentioned that the salesman had told me otherwise, they just laughed. One replied, "Those guys (salesmen) are always telling people that, but your cord isn't damaged so let's use it."

Now, I have one final disclaimer. If your existing power cord is frayed, missing insulation, or otherwise damaged, by all means replace it. Saving money is your goal, but not at the risk of burning down the house or receiving a potentially lethal electrical shock. But in my case, by being a savvy shopper who wasn't about to be buffaloed, I saved over $100 and still got exactly what I wanted. Maybe you can too.

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