If you are ready to plug in that new or used clothes dryer and you realize the plug on the dryer does not match the outlet on the wall, you are faced with two options — replace the dryer outlet or replace the dryer cord. Given these two choices, replacing the cord on your dryer is by far the easier and more economical way to go.
Step 1: Remove the old cord. Locate the access panel on the back of the dryer and unscrew the screws holding it in place to expose the wiring block. Loosen the screws on the block and remove the old cord.
Step 2: Attach the new cord. Code requires a four-wire outlet — a red and a black hot wire, a white neutral wire and a green ground wire. If the dryer is new enough to have four screw posts, attach each new wire to its respective color — red to red, black to black, etc. If you have an older dryer with only three screw posts, attach the red and black wires, or the outer two wires on a three-wire cord to the outer two screws. Attach the white wire, or the center wire on a three-wire cord, to the center screw. If you are installing a four-wire cord and there is a copper or brass grounding strap attached to the center screw on the wiring block, detach the grounding strap from the center screw and bend it out of the way before attaching the white wire to the center screw. Then attach the green grounding wire of the four-wire cord to one of the screws located on the dryer body.
Step 3: Tighten the screws. Before replacing the access panel cover, make sure each of the screws is tight and the wires are securely held in place. If there is a wire clamp to secure the cord to the dryer, tighten that also to assure the cord will not be pulled out of place. Replace the access panel when done.
Step 4: Turn off the power to your dryer outlet using the circuit breaker or fuse in your electrical panel. Plug your new cord into the outlet. Failure to turn off the power to your outlet before plugging the cord in could result in serious injury. Be careful.
Step 5: Turn the power back on and test your dryer to be sure it works properly.
Make sure the dryer is properly vented before attempting to dry a load of laundry. Put away your tools, recycle the old cord and relax knowing a trip to the laundry mat is not in your near future anymore.