How to Hook Up a Dryer Cord


When moving from one house to another, or after purchasing a new dryer, you may find that your dryer's plug does not fit the receptacle. In other instances, a dryer cord may become damaged during a move or from dropping things behind the dryer. You can replace a dryer cord easily with tools found around the house.

Many newer homes have receptacles for four-prong dryer cords, but an older dryer will often have a three-prong cord. With newer dryers, the opposite may be the case. Both situations can be remedied without changing the outlet.

Things You'll Need

  • Dryer cord
  • Small screwdriver
  • Multimeter
  • Unplug the dryer and pull it away from the wall so the back of the dryer is exposed.

  • Follow the cord to the dryer to locate the end where the cord attaches, called the terminal block. Remove the small metal access panel that covers the end of the cord by removing the screws found on the sides of the piece.

  • Remove the screws from the metal grounding strap that holds the wires in place, if one exists.

  • Notice that the wires at the end of the cord are exposed and color coded. Make note of the position of the existing wires so the new cord can be screwed into the same positions. Remove all screws that hold the wires in place to completely detach the cord.

  • Place the wires into position as with the old cord. Screw them tightly into place.

  • Changing from a three-wire to four-wire cord will add an additional step of securing the grounding wire to the frame of the dryer. Run the green wire to a screw on the exterior of the dryer, outside the terminal block. Remove the screw, place the grounding wire loop over it, and replace the screw tightly.

  • Replace the grounding strap if necessary, and the terminal block access panel. Use care not to over-tighten the panel if a ground wire is protruding from it to another part of the dryer.

Tips & Warnings

  • Older dryer plugs do not have a green grounding wire, and instead are grounded using the metal grounding strap that covers the cord. Four-wire plugs do not require the grounding strap and instead are grounded by the green wire that screws onto the frame of the dryer.
  • The wiring pattern is identical on most dryers. The black wire is on the leftmost screw, the white in the middle, and red on the right. Green wires will be run to another screw on the dryer frame.
  • It is best to test the dryer during operation for poor connections. Use a multimeter set to test resistance on the surface of the dryer and at the connection point of the white ground wire. If the resistance is over a few ohms, the cord is not making a good connection and should be rescrewed.
  • Use care when replacing the cord to ensure connections are placed in the appropriate places.
  • If the dryer tests high on the multimeter, fix the connection immediately. Poor dryer connections can cause shock or an electrical fire.

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