We use technology every day that makes our lives much easier and takes care of all the mundane tasks that would otherwise waste hours. Therefore it is crucial for us to be careful when we choose to get a new home appliance.
To learn more about home appliances and their components, follow along!
Do dryers come with power cords?
Unlike many other appliances, dryers do not come with power cords and have to be bought separately. This is because the power outlet type may not match with the power cord type, therefore the power cord has to be bought separately which is suitable for your dryer.
Home appliances such as washers and freezers come with a power cord because they have a standard rating. However, dryers are not universal and do not have a standard rating for their power cord which is why they are sold separately.
There is the 3-prong and 4-prong cord which can be bought separately according to dryer type. Besides checking the outlet variant, it is crucial to cross-check your home’s electrical codes with the power cord’s ratings as well as the amperage configuration.
While gas dryers are a different case, they already come with a standard 3-prong 120V power cord attached to them permanently so removal or alteration of their power cord is not possible.
You can connect the gas dryer to a 120V power outlet connected to a 15 amps fuse that has been properly grounded. Besides the power cord, they also include a gas connector made of stainless steel.
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Why do dryers not come with power cords?
Although it might seem obvious for a purchased appliance to come with all the essential parts, dryers do not come with power cords for several reasons. Follow along to find out!
Difference in cord types:
An electric dryer can use either of 2 types of power cords: 3-prong or 4-prong power cord. Old electric dryers use 3-prong cords whereas new ones use the 4-prong variants. If the cord type does not match the power outlet at your home, the dryer will not work.
Now you might think, what if you convert between the 3-prong and the 4-prong power cord? Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to use any converter to use a 3-prong cord into a 4-prong outlet or vice versa.
But what you can do is either change your home outlet or the cord of your dryer.
Variance in electrical codes:
Unlike gas dryers, which have a standard power rating of 120V, electric dryers come at different varieties of power ratings that may or may not be compatible with your state’s electric codes.
That is why the cord is sold separately so that you can plug the cord into a suitable outlet and ground it in accordance with all local codes.
Range of several amperages:
Dryer power cords have amperage plugs ranging from 30 Amps to 50 Amps but since the cords are sold separately from the dryers, you need to determine the amp rating of the dryer.
If the amperage plugs have ratings above the working amp rating of the dryer, it could potentially burn your dryer.
Are electric dryer cords universal?
The answer is yes and no depending on the type of electric dryer cords. There are 3-prong and 4-prong power cords that only fit into their designated outlets. 3-prong cords were used in older generation electric dryers but were replaced with 4-prong variants in the new dryers.
However, if you still have a 3-prong power outlet at home but bought a new dryer that supports 4-prong cords, you can install a 3-prong cord to the dryer instead to match the outlet.
The NEC and local codes do not have a mandate that restricts this change, so there is little to no issue.
Can you use a 40 amp cord on the dryer?
The electrical outlet for dryers is rated at 30 amps and cannot be protected by a 40 amp cord on a dryer. A circuit breaker on the cord protects your dryer from a surge of higher amp electricity and has a certain amp rating.
If an amperage breaker greater than the rating is used, the dryer and the outlet will burn out and cause a fire.
It is recommended to use a 30 amp cord in your dryer, but you can go as low as 25 amps. However, you should not pick any lower than that because it will break the circuit more often.
What power cord to use with the dryer?
Before choosing what power cord to use with your dryer, you need to be certain of a few things about your home and the dryer you choose to buy. If your house was built in the mid-’90s, then your house most probably fits with a 3-prong power outlet for the dryer.
But if it’s built after 1996, then according to the National Electrical Code (NEC)’s mandate your house has a 4-prong power outlet installed.
Once you have determined the type of outlet you got installed, check the electric dryer that you purchased and whether it contains a compatible power cord. Newer electric dryers can be fitted with a 3-prong cord instead according to your needs.
So, check both ends before installing the power cord to the dryer.
How to install a power cord to the dryer?
If you just got yourself a dryer and a power cord but are confused on how to attach them together, then follow along with the steps below:
Gather the tools you need:
To open the back panel cover of your dryer, you will need either a Phillips screwdriver or a quarter-inch nut driver depending on the type of screws attached. You can also get yourself a pair of strain relief if you choose to place the cord nicely and firmly.
Unscrew and pass the cord through:
First, unscrew and remove the cover of the dryer to expose the terminal block. Next, place the strain relief tabs on the top and bottom and screw them loosely.
Pass the cord through the strain relief and screw the strain relief tightly to ensure the wire is properly fixed in place.
Connecting the neutral wire:
Afterward, for the 4-prong cord: remove the screw holding the white neutral wire then remove the center screw on the terminal block.
Now, take the white neutral wire from the dryer and the neutral wire from the cord and screw both of them together to the center terminal.
However, for the 3-prong cord, you only need to screw the center wire to the center terminal.
Connecting the bare copper wire:
Next, for the 4-prong cord: Take the green bare copper wire and attach it to the body of the dryer (where the white neutral wire was initially attached). This step is not needed for the 3-prong variant since this part of the wire is joint with the neutral wire for them.
Connecting the remaining power cords:
Finally, for both of the prong cord variants, attach the remaining two wires to the outside screws in the terminal block. Do not worry about which wire to screw in which terminal because the order does not matter.
Once they are all firmly screwed in place, screw the cover back in and your dryer is good to go.
Is it safe to use an extension cord with a dryer?
If you placed your dryer a bit too far from the dryer’s power outlet or have to temporarily move the dryer out of place to redecorate the laundry room then you might find yourself having to deal with cord shortages.
To make up for the length, you might choose to use an extension cord to power your dryer.
According to the UL safety code, the dryer should only be connected using a power cord and not an extension cord. This is because the extension cord is not usually heat resistant and will cause problems when used with high wattage appliances such as the dryer.
However, for short time using an extension cord can be used but it is not safe enough to be permanently used with a dryer.
What does a dryer come with?
When looking for a dryer to buy, you need to also consider what additional part the dryer comes with. Depending on that, you will need to buy the necessary components to make your dryer function properly.
Dryers of different brands include varying accessories, however, the most common ones are listed below:
- LP Conversion Kit (Gas Dryers)
- Side Venting Kit
- Stacking Kit
- Dryer Rack
Dryers do not come with power cords due to the variation in power outlets at homes and different electric codes. However, a power cord compatible with your home outlet can be bought separately and installed quite easily – Newer dryers can support older cords as well.