Cutting an electrical prong poses problems
Dear Angie: I am replacing an older range/stove with a new one and have run into a problem. The existing outlet in my kitchen is for a 3-prong power cord. The new range I purchased has a 4-prong cord, with one being a grounder. Can I replace the existing outlet with one that has a hole for the grounder? I have been told that since the original range didn't have a ground pole, I could cut the pole off the replacement stove’s cord. Would this work? – Jim F., Madison, Wis.
Dear Jim: First, for your safety, please don’t cut the ground prong off the 4-pronged cord. This would also violate the National Electric Code and would be non-UL compliant. The ground wire is needed to provide a path for electricity to the ground if there is a wiring problem or electrical fault
A temporary fix could be to purchase a 3-prong cord (you can find one at most appliance stores) and have an electrician replace the 4-prong cord with the 3-prong. You would need to ensure that a bonding jumper is installed between the neutral (grounded conductor) and the ground at the stove. The problem with that fix, however, is if that neutral wire somehow becomes damaged or disconnected from the unit, the stove could become a live conductor of electricity – a highly dangerous prospect.
A better, and permanent solution that would prevent this problem from reoccurring, would be to upgrade your wiring in the outlet by hiring an electrician to run a new 4-conductor feeder wire from the electrical panel to the new stove. Whatever you do, it’s important for your safety, and for the safety of others in your home, that you hire a qualified and licensed electrician to go over your options before you go any further with this project.