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Dryer Cord Installation How To Guide

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Dryer Outlet Wiring

Since 1996 new homes are required under Article 550.16(A)(2) of the National Electrical Code (NEC) 2008, the dryer outlet shall be installed with a 4 wire electrical supply so that the neutral and ground wires are separated and not carried on the same wire.

There are three terminals and a ground wire that make up the 4 wire connection. The two outer terminals are the hot terminals, and the middle terminal is the neutral terminal. So if it is a 3 or 4 wire cord does not matter, the dryer terminals will always be the same.

It is possible to install a 4 wire cord on pre-1996 model dryers, for this you connect the white(neutral) wire from the dryer cord to the middle(neutral) terminal on the dryer. Then connect the green wire to the grounding screw located on the frame of the dryer. The black(hot) and red(hot) wires from the cord will get connected to the two outer(hot) terminals on the dryer.

Before installing a 4 Wire dryer cord on any dryer, you must first remove the connection made at the factory between the neutral terminal and the ground(which is the metal frame of the dryer). It will either be a copper strap that is connecting the middle(neutral) terminal to the metal frame of the dryer or in some cases it will be a white(or green) wire connecting the neutral terminal and the grounding screw(located on the frame of the dryer).

If your dryer has the copper strap, remove the strap from the neutral terminal this will not be reconnected when upgrading to a 4 wire cord. To break this connection if your dryer is equiped with a wire connecting the neutral treminal to the grounding screw simply unhook the wire from the ground screw and connect it at the neutral(middle) terminal with the white wire from the new 4 wire cord to prevent it from contacting any other terminals or the frame of the dryer.

If you dont remove the grounding strap(or wire) from the neutral terminal when upgrading from a 3 wire dryer cord to a 4 wire cord, electric current can be carryed on through the grounding strap(or wire) to the frame of the dryer. This will create a shock when you touch the outside of the dryer.

If your dryer has a existing 4 wire cord and you are replacing the old dryer cord with a new one, you will not have to worry about disconnecting the factory connection between the neutral terminal and the ground. Rewire the new dryer cord wires in the same locations that the old wires were removed from.

Important!!! Make sure you unplugged the dryer cord from the outlet before removing the old cord from the dryer.

4 Wire Dryer Cord Installation

Step 1.

Disconnect connection made at the factory between the neutral and the ground(if applies) as described above.

Step 2.

Connect the white(neutral) wire from the new 4 wire cord to the middle terminal.

Step 3.

Next connect the red(hot) wire of the new cord to either hot terminal(the outer terminals on each side of the white wire).

Step 4.

Take the black(hot) wire of the new cord and install it to the remaining hot terminal.

Step 5.

Install the green(ground) wire to the grounding screw.

Step 6.

Install the electrical junction cover plate.

3 Wire Dryer Cord Installation

It is safe to wire a 3 wire cord on to a new dryer if done correctly. Three wire dryer cords wires are not color coded, the middle wire is the neutral wire on a 3 wire dryer cord. And the two outer wires are the hot wires.

Step 1.

Connect the middle(neutral) wire from the dryer cord to the middle(neutral) terminal. If there is no factory connection between the ground screw and the neutral terminal you will have to install a jumper wire to run from the neutral terminal to the ground screw. Be sure to use no less than 10 gauge wire for the jumper wire.

Step 2

Connect the two outer(hot) wires from the dryer cord to the two outer(hot) terminals.

Standard Dryer With Three Wire Cord

Step1 Diagram