Monday, May 19, 2008

Question for the Engineers

Our dryer we bought when we moved into our home started its decline into decrepitude some time ago, but recently, that decline has been swift. So, good little consumers that we are, we bought a new one at our local Giant Home Improvement Warehouse store.

Apparently, there are two types of plug for large appliances like this one. There is a three-pronged variety and a four-pronged variety. The woman who was tending the appliance section asked us if we needed to purchase a new power cord. We didn't know if we needed three or four prongs, so we told her that we would just detach the cord from the old dryer to use on the new one.

She said, "Well, if the cord is over five years old, you'll want to get a new one. Copper gets brittle when you run electricity over it."

I'm skeptical of this claim, prima facie. Can anyone comment?


Angry Professor said...

Bull doody. What gets brittle is old-fashioned insulating covering. The wire might break from misuse inside that covering, but certainly not from electricity "running over it."

However, please note, from my own personal experience, that hooking up those babies can lead to disastrous and unexpected results. We had ours swapped out by an appliance professional who connected it up incorrectly, and the next load of laundry damn near set the house on fire.

Get a pro.

GDad said...

Too late.

The old dryer had three contacts inside it - white, black, and red. Before I disconnected the old cord, I marked each wire with the appropriate color, so I could hook it back up correctly.

Surprisingly, all of us escaped this home improvement experience without injury, although tempers took a bit of a beating.

Sid Schwab said...

Well, can't argue with success; before seeing you're followup comment, I'd have echoed the first one: don't buy the copper statement, caution about using an old cord on a new machine, for no other reason that it just sounds scary. On the other hand, when my son was remodeling his house, I hooked up his new washer, which leaked on first use, not discovered until the new floor had buckled like, well, like a floor with water under it. I paid.

Bill said...

That woman is a ninny. Everyone know that electricity running through copper makes the electricity brittle, not the copper. What a maroon; what an eskimo pie-head.

Likewise, you may want to take a tip from James Thurber's aunt...the one who stuffed things into unused sockets so that electricity wouldn't leak out all over the house.

Call me if you need any more advice.

GDad said...

Dr. Schwab,

You're a good dad.

Jenn said...

An engineer I'm not, but my engineer husband agrees with AP. The heat from the electricity can make the insulating sheathing brittle over time. In his ever so humble opinion, it'll take longer than 5 years for this to become an issue.

Bill said...

Has your house burned down yet?

GDad said...

Bill, it hasn't burned down in this universe. Maybe in an alternate universe where copper behaves differently, there'd be a different result.