If your home was built after the year 2000, you may have noticed that there is a four-prong outlet for your dryer, rather than a three prong. The reason? All new homes are required to do so by The National Electric Code for safety purposes. Although existing homes are still allowed to use three prong outlets, it’s a good a idea to make the switch.
4-prong power cords have a lower risk of shock because the power cords no longer have the ground and neutral wires grouped together. It helps to prevent ground currents from making their way up the power cord to the appliance.
So what can you do if you have an older dryer in a new home? Do you need to get a new dryer? Although they do make adapters, they aren’t very safe and should only be used as a temporary fix. No need to worry though, it is relatively easy to convert most older electric dryers from a 3-prong power cord to a 4-prong power cord. Please consult your owner’s manual to determine if your dryer model is compatible for conversion.
Today we have a step-by-step repair guide for installing or simply replacing a faulty or non-functioning 4-prong power cord on an electric dryer.
WARNING: Before starting any repair, always make sure that the appliance is completely disconnected from the power source by unplugging the appliance to avoid electric shock. We also recommend switching off the breaker supplying power to the appliance if possible.
As always, this is meant to be a repair guide. There will be some differences depending on the model dryer and you should always consult your owner’s manual. If at any point during the repair you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, do not hesitate to contact a certified technician or electrician.
*To further avoid electric shock, we recommend using tools with insulated handles
Removing the Old Power Cord:
- Unplug the dryer and turn off the breaker if possible.
- Pull the dryer away from the wall to access the back panel
- Using the screw driver or nut driver (depending on model), remove the electrical cover plate (also called the terminal block access panel) where the cord connects to the dryer
- Carefully remove the electrical connection screws connecting the cord to your dryer. A magnetic nut driver will make this easier and help you to avoid accidentally dropping the screws into your dryer
- If there is a strain relief clamp on the cord, remove the screws and set it aside. Then pull out the old cord.
Installing the New Cord:
- Take the new strain relief clamp and place it in the opening. Put the screws back in loosely so it stays together and feed the new cord through it. Tighten the screws in the clamp.
- Align the wires with the appropriate terminals. Unlike a 3-wire cord, a 4-wire cord is typically color coded. The black and red “hot” wires should be connected to the outer terminals with the white neutral wire in the center. The green ground wire will either be above, below, or to the side of the terminal block.
- Once the wires are aligned with the appropriate terminals, secure with screws. *If there is no connection for your ground wire, secure it to the frame of the dryer. Do not leave it hanging.
- Replace the terminal block access panel and secure with screws
- Plug the dryer in, then flip the breaker back on
- Give the dryer a test run
This repair is relatively quick and easy. The most important thing to remember is to take the necessary safety precautions to avoid electric shock. You can find a replacement dryer cords and many other dryer parts on our website so be sure to check them out!
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