James grew up working on a cattle ranch in Northern Utah, which taught him how to do many ad hoc repairs and to make use of limited materials. Two years of missionary and humanitarian work in the Philippines with Operation Smile instilled a great appreciation for the opportunity to work, to avoid wasting resources, and to help others. Now back in the U.S., James has worked as a programmer/data engineer for several Fortune 100 companies.
In this age of electricity, outlets are arguably the most frequently used and heavily relied upon parts of every home. They can be found in every room, on every wall, and by every desk, helping us stay plugged into the world, both literally and figuratively. Most of the outlets you find will be what are called 3 prong outlets, but whenever there’s heavy machinery involved like a drying machine you’ll most likely find something a little different.
If your home was built after 2000, the wall behind your dryer might have a large outlet with 4 holes. These outlets require what is called a 4 prong dryer cord, which are larger than regular cords, and are capable of holding 50amps of electricity rather than the more common 15.
In the United States, 4 prong plugs and outlets come in two different styles, which means that sometimes you might end up with a dryer that doesn’t connect to the outlet installed in your home.
Though both styles have the same number of prongs, the bottom prong on one of them contains a 90 degree bend (as seen above) while the other one doesn’t. If your dryer connection doesn’t match the outlet behind the machine, don’t worry, it’s an easy swap! A new 4 prong dryer cord can be found at almost any local hardware store, and the replacement process is quick and straightforward.
With just a few materials, a smile, and your DIY hat on, this guide will walk you through the simple process of rewiring your 4 prong dryer cord and have your dryer up and running in no time!
Before proceeding, make sure your dryer is unplugged. You should never be replacing the cable or touching any kind of wiring while it is still plugged in.
First, start with picking up the dryer plug wiring that’s compatible with your outlet. I found my 4 prong dryer cord from a local hardware store for around 20 dollars. Once you take the cord out of its packaging, you can see that at the other end of the cable are four multi-colored wires: red, white, black and green. The red and black wires are called hot wires, while the green is called a grounding wire, and the white is your neutral wire. These wires are each associated with one of the four prongs, and are what we will be connecting to the back of our dryer.
Pulling your dryer out from the wall, you will now be able to see where your cable feeds into the back. Right above that you will find a panel. Start by taking the screws out with your screwdriver, exposing the area behind it where the wires connect.
Behind this panel you can now see where your old dryer plug wiring connects. Before we do anything else, a little trick you can use to make sure you remember the correct wire placement is to simply take a picture of the old wiring for reference! Once you’ve done that, you can now remove the screws securing each of the wires.
Be careful when taking off the screws, dropping one could cause it to fall down into the dryer and get lost!
Once you’ve removed the screws securing each of the wires, unscrew the metal clamp holding the dryer cord in place. With the clamp removed, you can now pull the entire cord free.
Making use of the reference photo you cleverly took beforehand (or the image shown above) slide the new cable into position. Keeping the wires separated, match their placement to the photo and screw them down.
Generally the silver plated connections are for the white neutral wires, and the gold plated connections are for the rest!
Reattach the clamp to the cord, making sure that the threaded side is on the bottom. Tighten it enough so that there isn’t any give in the cable or pull on the wires.
Finally, screw the plate back on and plug in the dryer.
It’s time to give it a whirl! Press the on button to see if it works, and once you hear that distinctive purring rumble, voila! You’re all set to treat your clothes to a cozy warm sauna adventure they’ll never forget.