How to Hook Up an Electric Dryer

Since 1999, new residential construction has required the installation of grounded receptacles for dryer connections.

Hook up your own electric dryer safely.Hook up your own electric dryer safely.
Any dryer receptacle installed prior to 1999 did not require a ground and has been allowed to remain ungrounded. Because of the two types of receptacles, two types of dryer cords are available for installation into the back of the dryer. Hooking up an electric dryer to your laundry room requires getting the right cord to fit the receptacle. Do not attempt to change the receptacle to fit the cord.

Examine your 30-amp dryer receptacle to determine if you need a three-wire dryer cord or a four-wire dryer cord. A 30-amp grounded receptacle requires a four-wire cord. It is identified by four openings with a small round opening in the middle. An ungrounded receptacle requires a three-wire cord. It is identified by three openings with a small triangle shaped opening in the center.

Remove the electrical access panel cover to expose the terminal block on the back of the dryer. Install the butterfly wing strain-relief connector provided with the cord through the circular opening next to the electrical access panel. The wings install to the inside leaving the screws on the exterior of the dryer.

Insert the wires of either the three- or four-wire dryer cord through the strain-relief and thread them up to the terminal block. Remove the silver screw from the center of the terminal block and place the white wire from the dryer cord on the center of the block, securing it with the silver screw.

Remove the screws from the terminal block to the left and right of the silver screw. Place the black and red wires from the dryer cord on the left and right of the terminal block, securing them with the screws you removed. The red and black wires are both hot wires and can attach to either the right or left screw on the terminal block.

Attach the green ground wire from the four-wire dryer cord to the green ground screw located just outside the access panel opening on the body of the dryer. A three-wire dryer cord is used for an ungrounded receptacle and does not have a ground wire to attach to the dryer. When installing a three wire cord, make sure the grounding strap located within the wiring compartment is connected between the white or silver connection point and the green ground screw. When installing a four wire cord, remove the grounding strap and attach the green wire to the green grounding screw.

Replace the electrical access panel cover onto the back of the dryer body and plug the dryer into the wall receptacle.

Things You Will Need

  • Phillips or slotted screwdriver
  • Three or four-wire dryer cord

About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.