23 February 2011

Electrical 101

How to re-wire your dryer in 10 easy steps...  So one of the first projects you may get into when moving into a new home could end up being more out of necessity than desire.  In this case, a new dryer connection.  We realized after moving in that the cord on our dryer was a 4 prong and the outlet was only a 3. 

Can you say round hole, square peg?  After a bit of research we understand that more modern appliances are 4 prong conductors.  Two hot wires, a neutral and a ground. This is safer because the current carrying neutral is not connected to the dryer case. But when you live in an older home you most likely will find that the wall receptacle will not have a ground slot.  Leaving you with only three slots instead of four.

So in this case we have to convert the four wire dryer to a three wire set up.  Don't worry, I only got electrocuted once.  Joking, joking... lol. 

1. Verify the electrical requirements of the dryer... typically in the US will be 240 volts.

2.  Make sure the receptacle in the wall has the same rating and note the number of slots, either 3 or 4.

3.  You'll need to buy a new cord to coincide with the wall receptacle.  If it has three slots you will need one with three prongs.

4.  To change your electric dryer power cord from a 4-wire to a 3-wire you first need to disconnect the old dryer cord. To do this make sure your dryer is unplugged and open the access panel cover on the back of the dryer.

5.  Once the cover is off you will see a terminal block with three wires. Black on one side (HOT), white in the middle (NEUTRAL) and red on the other side (HOT).  The green is your GROUND wire so you don't get electrocuted!  Use a 3/8″ nut driver to remove the nuts or a phillips screwdriver to remove the bolts (depending on your dryer) and remove each dryer cord wire from the terminal block. When you remove the nuts or bolts, be careful not to drop them down into your dryer!

6.  Now this is going to get interesting so bear with me... Since the new three wire connection has no ground wire your neutral conductor will have to serve as neutral and ground.  This means you'll have to create a jumper conductor from the neutral terminal to the dryer’s framer.  Also known as a ground strap.  The bonding jumper is either a metallic strap or a green wire that is connected between your dryer’s neutral (white wire) terminal and the green ground screw connected to your dryer’s frame.

New 3 wire cord (no ground wire)

Installing this bonding jumper is an extremely important step when changing from a 4-wire to a 3-wire power cord to prevent electrical shocks when touching anything metallic on your dryer.

Bonding strap

If you don't have the original bonding strap, you can make one. You need a short piece of green 10 AWG wire, 2 ring terminals, a pair of wire strippers and a pair of crimpers. Strip both ends of the green 10 AWG wire and crimp one ring terminal onto each end of the wire. Now connect one end of the wire to the neutral (center) terminal and the other end to the dryer’s frame; where your ground is connected now.

Tools to make your own bonding jumper with green wire.  This can be used from the old 4 wire cord.

New wiring.  The green jumper shares the spot with the neutral
conductor and also mounts to the unit itself.

7.  Now you will insert the new 3 prong cord through the connector and secure but don't over tighten. 

8.  Hook up the new 3 wire cord  and connect each wire to the dryers terminal block.  Remember the two outer wires are HOT and the center wire is NEUTRAL.

9.  Replace the terminal panel cover.

10. Plug in and have a margarita to celebrate a job well done while the laundry is drying!

I've linked up to these parties.



Anonymous said...

Awesome tutorial! Pictures are so helpful. Our home is an older one so I will be saving this for when the time comes we get a new dryer!


Tammy said...

awesome post, see i told you the new house would give you lots of material!!

Brambleberry Cottage said...

When we moved into our little cottage on the farm, there wasn't even a place to put a dryer - or a washer, for that matter. Can you say washboard and clothers line? lol

Thanks for linking to the party. I hope you'll join me for "Funny Faux Pas Follies" this Friday, as well.

Liz @ the Brambleberry Cottage

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