Fix-It Chick: Replacing dryer cord easier than replacing wall outlet

If you are ready to plug in that new or used clothes dryer, but the plug on the dryer does not match the outlet on the wall, replacing the cord on the dryer is much easier and more economical than replacing the outlet on the wall.

Step 1: Take a picture or drawing of the dryer outlet to the hardware store and purchase a cord that matches the outlet.

Step 2: Locate the access panel on the back of the dryer and remove the screws holding the panel in place to expose the wiring block. Loosen the screws on the wiring block and remove the old cord.

Step 3: Most electrical codes require electric clothes dryers to have a four-wire outlet. If the dryer is new enough to have four screw posts, attach each wire of the new plug to its respective color — red to red, black to black, white to white and the green grounding wire to the green grounding screw. If the dryer is older and has 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.

Step 4: When installing a four-wire cord on an older dryer, if 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. Attach the green grounding wire of the four-wire cord to one of the screws located on the dryer body.

Step 5: Before replacing the access panel cover, make sure each of the screws are tight and the wires are securely held in place. If there is a wire clamp to secure the cord to the dryer, tighten that to ensure the cord will not be pulled out of place. Replace the access panel when done.

Step 6: Use the circuit breaker or fuse in the electrical panel to turn off the power to the dryer outlet. Plug the new cord into the outlet.

Step 7: Turn the power back on and test the dryer to be sure it works properly. Make sure the dryer is properly vented before attempting to dry any laundry.

— Have a home improvement question for Fix-It Chick? Email it to Linda Cottin at