How to Wire a Three-Pronged Dryer Outlet

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  • 4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 150
What You'll Need
Dryer cord
220 V dryer outlet
Three-conductor wire
Needle-nose pliers
Wire strippers
Chisel bit
Circuit breaker

Although three-pronged dryer cords and outlets are largely outdated, some homes can still choose to use them. If you have to update the wiring or rewire your outlet, however, you can actually do it easily. Read on for some basic instructions on how you can accomplish this task to get your dryer back up and running as soon as possible.

Step 1 - Switch the Power Off

Before you do any electrical projects on your home, it is essential that you always cut the power first. The circuit breaker to that circuit must be turned OFF at the main panel to prevent injury or electrocution.

Step 2 - Inspect the Outlet

Take a look at the outlet to ensure that you have chosen the correct one. The receptacle should have two straight slots for pins and an oval hole at the top. There will also be an L-shaped slot somewhere towards the bottom.

Step 3 - Wire the Box

Pull electrical cable inside the box, using needle-nose pliers if needed, and strip off the insulation. You need to remove around six inches of plastic from the cables to ensure that the terminals make good contact with the individual wires.

Step 4 - Connect the Red and Black Wires

Connect the red and black cables to the terminals that are either side of the socket; it is not important which way round these go. Always use screw terminals rather than push-in terminals because the screw will hold the wires securely for much longer.

Step 5 - Connect Neutral and Ground

The neutral wire is the white wire which you will need to connect to the bottom terminal. The ground wire is either green or bare copper, and it needs to be connected to the terminal right at the top.

Step 6 - Fixing the Box in Place

Carefully push your wiring back inside so that the box will fit against the wall. Then, use a drill and chisel to remove the plaster from the wall until the box will fit into the hole snugly. This will be easier if you mark the position of the box on the wall in pencil, and then use a drill to remove the plaster.

Step 7 - Wiring Circuit Breaker

Once you have finished wiring the outlet you then need to connect the outlet to the circuit breaker. Do this similar to the outlet; it's simply a matter of unscrewing the appropriate circuit breaker and wiring onto that.

Strip six inches of insulation off the wires and the circuit breaker end so that you have enough to work with. Then, feed the individual wires into the terminals of the circuit breaker and tighten them up. It's important that this wiring is neat and tidy because it will prevent the likelihood of short circuits.

Finally, switch the power back on and use a multimeter to check that the right voltages are being received from the correct outlets. Remember a dryer outlet should be able to provide two different voltages, 120V and 240V depending on the pins you are testing. If this is not correct then you might want to call an electrician.