Person standing in front of a dryer.

Types of Dryer Plugs: How to Replace Your Dryer Cord

Your dryer is one of the most hard-working appliances in your home, but it can experience wear and tear after handling so many loads of laundry. If this is the case with your dryer, you may have noticed that your dryer plug needs to be replaced. However, depending on the kind of dryer you have – gas or electric – you may require a different plug because their electrical circuits and dryer outlet types vary. Gas dryers require a 120-volt electrical circuit and use a grounded 3-prong outlet. Electric dryers, on the other hand, need a 240-volt, 30-amp circuit and a grounded, 4-prong power cord.

Additionally, if you’re installing a new dryer in an older home, or an old dryer in a new home, you may need to change your dryer cord. No matter your electrical needs, Maytag® Dryer Power Cords have you covered to maximize the power of your appliance and meet electrical regulations. Learn how to replace your dryer power cord below.

Blue clothing tumbling inside of a dryer.

3-Prong vs. 4-Prong Dryer Cords

There’s a reason why there are different clothes dryer plug types. In the early 1990s, electric dryers used a 3-prong cord for a 240-volt circuit. Since then, homes built after 1996 are required to have a 4-prong dryer plug with a 240-volt, 30-amp circuit to reduce the risk of shock. The grounded, 4-prong plugs can also keep your home up to code. If your house has 4-prong outlets and your appliance has a 3-prong dryer plug, adjustments will need to be made to meet the standard mandates for 4-prong power cords. 

If you have questions or concerns regarding the electrical connections for your dryer, refer to your owner’s manual and consult a licensed electrician for assistance.

Differences Between Standard Dryer Plugs

A 3-prong power cord has two hot slots and one neutral slot, while a 4-prong cord contains two hot, one neutral and one grounded slot.

A 3-prong outlet diagram.

3-Prong Cord

A 4-prong outlet diagram.

4-Prong Cord

Replacing a Dryer Cord

How to Change Dryer Cords in 5 Steps 

To keep your home safe and meet the standard regulations for houses built or remodeled after 1996, a 4-wire electrical connection is required for your electric dryer. Luckily, switching your dryer’s electrical connection to a 4-prong plug can be tackled in about an hour with a few tools and this general overview of the process. A gas dryer may use a grounded 3-prong wiring connection.

Always refer to your dryer’s manual for specific instructions and electrical circuit requirements. Consider consulting a licensed electrician for questions or concerns.

Tools and Supplies Needed

TOOLS:

  • Screwdriver

  • Socket wrench

  • Pliers

 

SUPPLIES:

  • 30-amp, 4-prong power cord.
A person unscrewing the terminal plate.

Step 1: Remove the Cover Plate

Unplug your dryer from the power source.

  • Using a screwdriver, remove the plate housing the electrical wires.

The plate will likely be above the power cord in the back of the appliance.

Maytag tip icon

Opt for a magnetic screwdriver to keep hold of the screws and help prevent the risk of dropping them in the back of the dryer.

Bracket and screws from the back of a dryer.

Step 2: Remove the Strain Relief Screws

Remove the screws from the strain relief fitting—the fitting that secures the power cord to the dryer.

  • Disconnect and remove the power cord.

Wire ports in the back of a dryer.

Step 3: Disconnect the Neutral Wire

After the power cord is removed, disconnect the neutral wire from the ground screw. The neutral wire will likely be white and under the center screw of the electrical terminal.

4-wire configuration connected in the back of a dryer.

Step 4: Connect the 4-Prong Power Cord

Insert the new 4-prong cord into the strain relief.

  • Connect the grounded (green) wire to the grounded screw or port and tighten.

  • Connect the hooked end of the neutral (white) wire to the port under the center screw of the terminal block. Squeeze and tighten.

  • Connect the hooked ends of the other two wires under the outer terminal block screws. Squeeze and tighten.

Make sure the wires and the strain relief are securely fastened.

Step 5: Re-Attach the Cover Plate

Insert the cover plate over the wiring and secure with screws.

  • Plug the power cord into the 4-prong outlet.

White Maytag® washer and dryer set.

Are Dryer Plug Adapters OK to Use?

It is strongly recommended to refrain from using dryer plug adapters to connect to a 4-prong circuit. Instead, refer to your owner’s manual for instructions to switch to a 4-wire electrical connection to meet standard regulations and safety requirements. For questions or concerns about altering the circuit, consult a licensed professional for assistance.

SHOP FOR MAYTAG® DRYERS

Whether you are looking for a gas dryer with a 3-prong cord or an electric dryer with a 4-prong cord, Maytag brand has you covered with dependable, powerful appliances you can count on to tackle laundry day.

Need help choosing? Use the Appliance Finder Tool to find the perfect dryer.

Learn more about Maytag® Laundry Appliances

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